++INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXHIBITION++
LION FEUCHTWANGER: SUCCESS - A Three Year History of a Province
Published 1930, the novel is set around 1922/23
The framework of the novel’s plot is the story of a Munich
art historian, Dr Martin Krueger, who in his capacity as the director
of the State collection of paintings comes into conflict with
the political arena because he acquires modern and controversial
art works and exhibits them in the museum.
In the novel ‘Success’, there are three controversial
paintings, representing programmatically bare life, state power
--1-- female nude
a picture by the artist Anna Elisabeth Haider, who battled her
way out of impoverished circumstances (model for this figure is
Luise Fleisser, 1901-1974). This nude became so scandalous
as a result of the fact that it is alleged to be a self-portrait
by the artist. After the artist’s suicide, it was insinuated
that Krueger had had an intimate relationship with her, which
he denied under oath. With the assistance of false witness reports,
Krueger is condemned to three years imprisonment for perjury.
>> the picture, as it is described in the novel, recalls
nude on a blue background by Ludwig Kirchner (1911, Buchheim
Collection). In the exhibition in the Nagel Gallery, a free translation
by SD – bearing identifiable traits of this artist.
the painter Andreas Greiderer achieved a rapid success by dint
of his degenerate Christ. He socialises with notabilities from
literature (Ludwig Ganghofer, Ludwig Thoma) and politics. Real-life
model for this character in the novel is Ludwig
Gies (1887-1966). On the occasion of the German trade fair
in Munich (1922), he showed his two metre high ‘Luebeckian
Crucifix’, carved out of oak. However, this sculpture, with
its strongly expressionistic formal language, met with deep disapproval
on the part of the Munich press and a section of the public and
had eventually to be removed. The National Socialist propaganda
exhibition of 1937, ‘Degenerate Art’, opened its show
with this wooden sculpture. Gies, though, at the same time received
several public commissions from the Nazis. Thus he designed, for
example, a national emblem, an eagle in the form of a wall
drawing in the town hall of the town of Kornwestheim. The
eagle is looking towards the east.
However, another eagle was probably to become more famous –
the eagle designed for the German Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament)
is – in contrast to the Nazi period – depicted looking
towards the west. The eagle, the heraldic beast used by the Parliament
today, was decided upon in Bonn in the time of Konrad Adenauer
without consulting the people. It wasn’t long before the
population came to describe the national symbol as ‘the
>> here in the exhibition, a painting depicting the ‘degenerate
--3-- Joseph and his brothers, or: Justice
In the novel, a painting by Franz Landholzer. The picture immediately
disappears from the painting gallery. The painter Landholzer is
nowhere to be found. Later, Kaspar Proeckl (Bertolt Brecht) ‘discovers’
him in a psychiatric hospital. There, he is calling himself Fritz
Eugene Brendel, engineer for the National Railway, inventor of
the apparatus for measuring air, creator of the unassuming animal,
Lazarus of Nazareth, God’s governor of the waters and of
the land and of all the forces of the air.
The picture of Joseph and his brothers is painted ‘with
a leftover bit of dilettantism, of non-routine’. It shows
the part of the Biblical story where Joseph, in his capacity as
food minister to the empire of Egypt, smuggles a silver goblet
into his brothers’ bags, in order to have them later arrested
– already a favourite trick in those days! In the picture,
behind the group of brothers, several policemen are also depicted.
>> here in the exhibition, you can see one of them.
In the novel, the museum director Martin Krueger dies in the
penitentiary as a result of a lack of medical supplies. This corresponds
to the death behind bars of the soviet republican and member of
the local state parliament, August Hagemeister, (*1879) in Niederschoenenfeld
on 16th January 1923.
The Dr. Martin Krueger of the novel is modelled on Dr. August
Liebmann-Mayer, 1885-1944. (Between 1920 and 1931, he was the
chief conservator of the state painting collection and a specialist
on Spanish painting – publications on El Greco and Velázquez.)
As a result of National Socialist machinations informing on job
related issues, he was arrested in the Third Reich and murdered
in the concentration camp Auschwitz in 1944.
More on Feuchtwanger’s novel here:
on Lion Feuchtwanger and his book Successs
Purpose of the Historical Novel
For information about the other works in the exhibition, please
contact the gallery staff.