The Catalogue Raisonné changes little at present. The work on the sketch sheets will take a long time.
What is still incomplete can be deduced from the occasional messages from auctions: The number of copies of large works, mostly monuments and fountains, which exist as small sculptures, is probably much larger than we know. Especially from the fencer, but also from the wrestler and Diana, there are numerous copies. We would be very happy if the owners of such works would tell us in what size they own the sculptures. Of course, an entry in our list will be marked as 'private property', so that no one can deduce the owner.
On the 80th anniversary of the death of Hugo Lederer (1st August 2020)
We should have thought of that! But in Wroclaw/Breslau he is present with his fencer, is part of life and is honoured. Nobody else reminded us. Thanks to Silesia! We fight our way through the piles of papers and internet messages, search for new sculptures, even find them. And then we miss such an anniversary! 80 years of dealing with an artist who was considered one of the greats in the field of sculpture in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Many cities wanted a monument from him, industrial magnates set up large sculptures in their companies and gardens (Krupp/Essen and Duisberg/Leverkusen, chemical plant in Aussig/Usti Nad Ladem/ today ČZ), wealthy people bought his sculptures and some attached importance to having their graves designed by him. Stresemann's grave is a special example to this day. His monuments and fountains can still be found in many cities today.
Sculptors are the seismographs of their time in public!
Strength and magnitude in dimension and meaning is said to be in its time. Bismarck (1906) and Fruchtbarkeitsbrunnen (Fertility Fountain, 1931) correspond to this, and how! Art historians called this style, and in particular Wilhelmine. That was 50 years ago, and they meant it very negatively. Large sculptures exist today as well, what is the difference? - In the judgement of the time. Who dares to judge? For example: Lüpertz' Beethoven in Vienna... The last time Lederer's Bismarck appeared in a film from the series 'Die Kanzlei' (The Law Firm), shadowy over the silhouette of Hamburg. Wow! And they want to let it go to waste...
Woe if the public does not react to a sculpture! Recognition and displeasure are in keeping with the spirit of the times. Annihilation, destruction is wrong, information is lost. Others must be able to form their own opinion!
Well, and then of course there are artists who are simply forgotten. With Hugo Lederer there is no need to worry about that yet. Too many works are present in the cities, in the museums. Only experts know some of them. His work is too versatile! Bismarck (1906, Hamburg) made him famous, the Fechter (fencer, 1904, Breslau/Wroclaw) proved Lederer's ability to tell stories in a completely different way. The main points of the time are shown once during the war and afterwards in the very amazing general portraits (Hindenburg, Litzmann), the many war memorials in the style of the 'Dead Comrade' up to the monuments of national liberal politicians (Stresemann, Bassermann).Some of them national, but not national socialistic!
He had a sense of humour, quite cryptic. This can be seen in the animal figures (Bärenbrunnen, bear fountain, Berlin), but also in the Fischermännchen (fisher boy, Aachen), both unfortunately no longer original. In Znojmo/Znojmo there are still many animal sculptures in design. He was probably in the Berlin Tiergarten every day. There too the spirit of the times has changed. He shows huge deer as well as roe deer as probably more delicate creatures, completely in the sense of the bourgeois nature romanticism. His groups of bears, the playfulness of the cubs and the careful supervision of their mothers are evidence of his observational skills and affection. Modern, isn't it?
We have often written here about his relationship to women. It remains to be emphasised how he ensured that a relatively large number of women were able to complete their studies with him during this time. It is noticeable that today men who behaved somewhat too patriarchally towards women can be sure to be mentioned. Those who behaved more fairly are not to be named! Isn't that exactly the kind of behaviour criticised there?
At the beginning of this work on the website, we assured that we did not want to celebrate here. In view of this anniversary of his death, we conclude: this man was an artist of the time. He documented in a very artistic way what the citizens thought about him. He had to fight for success. The passing of time has probably robbed him of some of his earnings, especially in the inflation. The serious illness cost him reputation and recognition. Modernism stamped him into something he was not: a Nazi artist. It is time to acknowledge that. We have researched the sources. That is why we were careful here and stuck to the depiction from the family.
Today we can do justice to it: He was a creatively versatile artist who wanted to depict the hallmarks of the times, and he succeeded in doing so in an expressive way. His business acumen - a true Lederer trait - helped him to gain prestige and prosperity, and of course also to win over opponents. His enormous working power created a large number of works which are still influential today. His generation had to shape its life among men with catchwords, from monarchy to democracy and totalitarianism.
For us, the entire work of a person should contribute to the evaluation, not slogans, not catchy judgments. Then Hugo Lederer comes off best!
Bismarck - oh dear!
A most strange story is obviously happening in Hamburg. In this city a group of politically powerful people is trying to prevent the renovation of the Bismarck Monument. Oh, they should have paid more attention in history lessons! Bismarck did not think much of colonial possessions. "We have no fleet and no suitable administration!" (Engelberg) What interested him was trade!
The now interrupted renovation will not destroy this work by Hugo Lederer so quickly, so that perhaps others will be able to make better decisions in time. Historical landmark demolitionists are just as unproductive politicians as colonialists. Information and a sense of reality create lasting structures, that was Bismarck's strength! He was admired for the unification of Germany. " ... impossible ... to portray him as a soldier, a diplomat or as the old man from Friedrichsruh", but as "the embodiment of the spirit of a great epoch and his own immortal deeds" (Puls). But strictly speaking, he was never 'German' - he always remained Prussian! History always looks different from later. Critics should note, or rather know, that this also applies today. How do you explain later without an inspection? Head off and next to it? Is that art or can that be removed? Isn't war or colonisation just as much violence as head-off? Bismarck was the founder of the Reich in his (!) time. No one can expect faultlessness. As I said, he was also Prussian above all!
It is doubtful that Hugo Lederer knew this. As a born Austrian, he adored Bismarck because of his foundation of the empire. Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that Lederer knew exactly what the situation of the working population was because of his proximity to the many required stonemasons. „... 400 iron bluntly beaten daily" (Stahl). What an enormous amount of craftsmanship! And it was Hamburg merchants who paid for it. Why?
What many art historians did not take into account: Lederer's friendship with socially, even socialist-thinking artists, journalists etc. was resented by the Nazis. Goebbels prevented orders from being placed with him. (Proof: numbers of works in the 30s, see also the catalogue raisonné). If these opinions still circulate in Hamburg: Hugo Lederer was not a Nazi artist. It was rather the other way round: They used his fame for their own reputation.
Fanatics do not build up. They prove the lack of artistic power through their destructive fury. It is a truism that the latter corresponds to the spirit of the times. But artists are the creators of the view of the respective society and thus special contemporary witnesses. Do you really want to eliminate them?
New findings on the accusation of anti-Semitism
Once again we are surprised to find what we are looking for: Hugo Lederer probably had a great deal in common with Oscar Bie, for there are reports from his cultural and political pen. And: Oskar Bie was a Jew and was persecuted by the Nazis. Once again, this is evidence found by chance that Lederer's criticism could be verbally harsh, but it does not prove his anti-Semitism. That is much more differentiated. Oskar Bie, whose bust he created in 1917 and of which we unfortunately do not (yet) have an original picture, refers to an intense relationship. We are curious whether it still exists.
Comparison of recreation and original of the Fischpüddelchen (Aachen)
If one observes the two figures attentively, one sees how differently Hugo Lederer saw the figure: on the left, a reproduction of Heinrich-Clemens Dick (photographed in 1996, G. Preiß), on the right, a postcard with the original figure. The design is a bit more individual!
Translation of two contributions in Questions and Answers added
The review of the sketch sheets, after all nearly 300, yielded in the first overview a lot:
The sheets are unfortunately not numbered like the books, only rarely are dates. It is probably mainly entries from the years 1928 to 1932, where certainly older sheets are used again.
During this time Hugo Lederer deals extensively with the female body and is clearly not interested in National Socialism. We were always very skeptical about the opinions in this regard expressed in art history. Here is proof of our view, which we will explore further.
A large part are sketches of women, especially ballet and sports, followed by animal designs. He also deals with spatial-architectural problems, he expresses, for example, highly critical to urban development changes in Berlin.
Increasingly follow verbal notes. He travels a lot, from Leipzig and Dresden to Cologne and Aachen, including Paris and London. Political remarks are rare, he thinks obviously national and hierarchical-authoritarian, he has a low opinion of democracy. Striking: 'Noble communism because consistent!' The tradition in the family, Goebbels had rejected him because of his contacts with socialists and gave him no more orders, is made more and more realistic by this written note. Although the rise of the Nazis takes place during this time, there is no corresponding note, no anti-Semitic statement is included. Our skepticism about art-historical opinions is thereby legitimized. He enthusiastically praises Hindenburg and Stresemann, for whom letter designs for birthdays etc. can be found. He maintains a great deal of contact with mayors, as evidenced by letters to the mayors of Leipzig (Goerdeler) and Cologne (Adenauer). He also corresponds with the Bismarck family.
The potent businessmen (who buy works from him and then quarrel to legal disputes because of the price) are received with negative criticism. He expressed disparaging and recognizable affected by the way of dealing. He praises the simple worker, whom he knows very well as a stonemason. On the other hand, he often has contact with industrialist who buy from him. Above all, there is Duisberg from the Bayer plants in Leverkusen.
The impression of first review: A very self-confident but experienced sculptor spontaneously notes and outlines what he thinks when traveling. His thinking revolves around his works and their marketing. The public space in his appearance has his attention. This also shapes his political thinking. Many historical comparisons indicate what knowledge he uses to judge.
Comment: Therefore you can name the sculptor of the Bismarck in Hamburg again and do not have to be afraid to glorify a 'Nazi' (remark of a tourist guide), and art historians could deal with how quickly not only in totalitarian times but even in our time artists are stigmatized.
Added location register of sculptures in public areas
Where can you visit Hugo-Lederer sculptures in public areas today? We have compiled a list of places where, to the best of our knowledge, such sculptures can be visited. It is added to the overview of the Catalogue Raisonné. Of course this list is not exhaustive. We are very grateful for your comments and would like to add new findings to the list. The list of small sculptures would lead too far, but in our list of works is pointed to the possible location.
Redesign Of The Website
To make the website compatible with mobile terminals it was redesigned: A new gallery was installed and the Catalogue Raisonné can now be searched. Thank you to photoswipe.com, wrensoft.com and responsiveslides.com to provide the programming for the gallerys respectively the search engine.
Sketchbooks of Hugo Lederer as a new research object
In April 2017 we were allowed to look through the sketchbooks of Hugo Lederer at the museum of Znaim. To look back on and reappraise them will take a long time. By an unprompted run-through it stood out that he sketched a great number of athletic activities but also studied a female nude. Who says now "he couldn't do female works"? As an example we add two sketches:
Short report from the Hugo Lederer exhibition in Retz
In Retz we visited the Hugo Lederer exhibition. There he was singled out as a representative of Germans in respectively from Südmähren. For lack of resources his attitude towards his homeland is not completely elutable. To my knowledge he visited only for family celebrations. (He was godfather and witness to marriage to my mother.) In Retz the museum succeed in a brilliant presentation of his art by exhibiting two shortened large-scale sculptures (Fechter and Diana) with a few other works. When you were alone in the room, you couldn't escape from his marvellous impact.
In memory of Hugo Lederer
At 6.9.2011 a memorial plaque was installed at the birthplace of Hugo Lederer by the urban beautification society of Znaim/Znojmo:
Paper article by Dr. Hans Krey discovered
At the hands of Mr. Harald Hofreiter, Retz Lower Austria, a very interested contributor, we received a transcript of a edition of the paper "Deutsch mähr. schles. Heimat." (German Moravian-Silesian home), Brünn volume 1930. An article by Dr. Hans Krey covered the creative work of Hugo Lederer. It also included a photograph of the Gustav-Stresemann-bust (see Small Sculptures and Portaits 4.1927.03.). We will add it to the gallery.
On the basis of this article, a new contribution has also been written (which can be found under Questions and Answers): How much of a "South-Moravian" was Hugo Lederer?