Secessionist Medals

Secessionist Artists - WWI 1914 -1918 => Ludwig Gies 1887-1966 => War Machines and Technology => Topic started by: Haarmann on November 10, 2013, 11:32:16 AM

Post by: Haarmann on November 10, 2013, 11:32:16 AM


WVZ76  1915 ZEPPELINE IN LONDON, Cast bronze, 62.2mm, 51.1g.  Incuse Reverse, Frankenhuis 1100, Kaiser 432. Henry Scott Goodman Collection

An explosion rocks the London docks between where large ships are docked and high rise buildings, connected to one another by telegraph and electrical wires. At the far left dock level, a small group of four civilians can be seen flinching from the explosion. Three German airships hover over the cityscape. The top of the exergue is used to indicate the water level by way of a wavy line. The artist’s initials, L G, are incised into the extreme left and right of the exergue. The exergue also contains a plastically raised title of ZEPPELLINE IN LONDON.

Even the anticipated psychological terror from nighttime zeppelin raids was short lived once it became apparent how ineffective the raids were overall. Approximately 500 civilians died in London from the nine raids.

The ambiguity applied to the docked ships could make them either military or civilian. There was one raid made by zeppelin LZ38 on May 31, 1915 that killed four civilians and started a passenger ship fire. It may be possible that Gies created this medal to convey this particular event.

The German Expressionists had an obsession with death, the machinery of war, and, in Gies’ case, a fascination with modern weapons.  For Gies though, these weapons raised a larger issue of the relation of man to machine.  Many of his medals show the insignificance of man in the mechanization of war.  Here Gies’ theme rests with the destructive power of the machine hovering over London destroying the city, seemingly without human intervention, by the strange cigar-shaped objects in the sky above.  Do you remember the hovering alien spacecraft in the movie “Independence Day”?  Same concept…but this was really happening.

Seven (7) are known to exist and are distributed as follows:

1 London Imperial War Museum
1 Munchen Staatliche Munzsammlung
1 Ramat Aviv, Kadman Numismatic Museum
1 Stuttgart Wurttembergisches Landesmuseum
1 Wein, Kunsthistorisches Museum
2 in private collections, with this example being one of those two.