Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feibusch: The Drummer

Hans Feibusch (1898 – 1998)
The Drummer, 1934
Private collection, Berlin

"Fear was one of the themes of the times and a fundamental feeling for many people during the crises that shook the Weimar Republic after 1918. This angst increased from 1933 on during the Nazi dictatorship and from the end of the 1930s, when it seemed more and more likely that war would break out. The image of the mask came to be seen as a symbol of deception, lies and propaganda, especially after 1933 with the rise of the Nazi regime. As the Nazi movement continued to grow and gain power, the figure of the drummer became the symbolic embodiment of the SA, the NSDAP and its propaganda machinery as well as of Adolf Hitler himself. The motif of the Prince of Darkness refers to the demonization of the Nazi regime, Adolf Hitler and his henchmen, in particular shortly before the outbreak of the war as well as during World War Two. ...

As a Jewish artist Hans Feibusch had already been exposed to repressions by the Nazis since 1930. In exile in England from 1933 on he continued to react to this existential threat in his works. The Drummer is reduced to a theatrical pose by means of the empty facemask and flat areas of colouring. The pose is bereft of the hope that the final beat of the instrument can still be averted. "

(Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin: Kassandra: Themes of the Times 1933-1939)