Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hitler's Favorite Sculptor Stirs Debate, Antipathy

Hitler's favorite sculptor Arno Breker, the creator of monumental statues glorifying the Third Reich, is stirring debate with the first retrospective of his work in a German public museum since World War II.

It's perhaps not surprising that his art -- or what survives -- has mainly been stashed away in museum vaults. Described by Hitler as ``the best sculptor of our time,'' Breker modeled Ubermensch heroes incorporating Aryan ideals and made busts of Nazi leaders including Hitler and Goebbels. He designed outsized sculptures for ``Germania,'' Hitler's megalomaniac vision of a vast new Berlin to be built by Albert Speer. Like Germania, most of the statues never made it into stone.

The Schleswig-Holstein-Haus in Schwerin, the capital of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is exhibiting about 70 works owned by Breker's widow. Rudolf Conrades, the curator, says his goal was to provoke a discussion about Breker, who died in 1991, and break the taboo surrounding his art.

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