Author Topic: Devil leads Europa to ruin  (Read 80 times)

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  • Oskar Alexander Kiefer.  1914.  DIABOLVS  PER — DIT  EVROPAM  (obv)  /  ANNO  —  MCMXIV. (rev) (the Devil leads Europa to ruin / year 1914).  Cast bronze, natural patina, 125.9 mm, 500+ g. (! - scale overload).  Edge-punch artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O, inset.  Vorzüglich (extra-fine), some spots of discoloration in field, not affecting images.  Very rare.
     
    Obverse: Along a ground-line from right to left, the Devil in the guise of a handsome, naked man, but betrayed by his traditional attributes - horns, long ears, tail, his left foot a horse's hoof - leads a diaphanously clad Europa away from the garlanded Bull of Zeus and over a precipice by proffering the victor's laurel-wreath; title legend encircling edge above ground-line; on the step at lower right off which Europa steps, the year date 19 — 14 separated by the artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O. 

    Reverse: On a ground-line Death, portrayed as a skeleton wielding a scythe, stands in center of the field, back to viewer with head turned left, towering over a great host of soldiers, the first row of which he has mown down and whose corpses now obscure his feet; title legend around upper edge, divided by Death's head; artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O in exergue.

    Cf: Die zeitgenössische Medaille und Plakette in Deutschland und Österreich der letzten 20 Jahre in Guss und Prägung, (1930?), p. 11 (not illustrated, incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Baden).

    Cf: Stemmermann, P.H.  Oskar A. Kiefer, ein Ettlinger Bildhauer: Leben und Werk, zweite überarbeitete und ergänzte Auflage, 1988, pp. 73 -74 (ill. obv. p. 75); p. 113 (smaller format 8.8 cm listed).

    Cf: Bekker, Gerd.  2001.  Europäische Plaketten und Medaillen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts: Bestandskatalog der Sammlung des Grassimuseums Leipzig / Museum für Kunsthandwerk, p. 156: no. 810 (incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Munich; small 89.4 mm example).

    Cf: Klose, Dietrich O. A. Europas Verderben 1914 1918: Deutsche und österreichische Medaillen auf den Ersten Weltkrieg.  2016. pp. 263 - 264: 22.2 (incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Munich; large 123 mm example).


    It is surprising that this medal has twice in recent literature been mis-attributed to the Munich sculptor Karl Kiefer rather than to Oskar A. Kiefer despite the easily-accessible publication (Stemmermann, 1988) illustrating the obverse as well as describing both sides and validating the artist's monogram both on the medal and in his contemporary drawings.
     
    The compilers of those recent publications were likely referencing the earlier listing in Die zeitgenössische Medaille cited above.  That attribution was, however, correct in listing the state of Baden as the medallist's residence, but the first name was in error.  It seems that the compilers of this small booklet - perhaps with their orientation or connection to the "Münchener Medailleure" - inadvertently supplied a better-known name rather than that of a less-familiar regional sculptor, and since the piece was not illustrated in the catalog, the mis-attribution went unnoticed.

    This is the larger version of this medal which is also recorded in a smaller size, variously 88 - 89.4 mm (Cf: references).  The artist also employed the reverse "Totentanz" design on a 1927 memorial medal measuring 97 mm to the fallen soldiers of his home town of Ettlingen (see attached photo - medal not in my collection).

     
    Considered in the context of near universal "war-fever" in 1914, the grim message of the designs of both obverse and reverse is remarkably prescient.  Among the many "Totentanz" medals produced in Germany during the First World War period, the reverse of this medal is certainly one of the most impressive  and likely the most massive of all.
Devil leads Europa to ruin
« on: November 24, 2019, 03:05:04 AM »

Oskar Alexander Kiefer.  1914.  DIABOLVS  PER — DIT  EVROPAM  (obv)  /  ANNO  —  MCMXIV. (rev) (the Devil leads Europa to ruin / year 1914).  Cast bronze, natural patina, 125.9 mm, 500+ g. (! - scale overload).  Edge-punch artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O, inset.  Vorzüglich (extra-fine), some spots of discoloration in field, not affecting images.  Very rare.
 
Obverse: Along a ground-line from right to left, the Devil in the guise of a handsome, naked man, but betrayed by his traditional attributes - horns, long ears, tail, his left foot a horse's hoof - leads a diaphanously clad Europa away from the garlanded Bull of Zeus and over a precipice by proffering the victor's laurel-wreath; title legend encircling edge above ground-line; on the step at lower right off which Europa steps, the year date 19 — 14 separated by the artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O. 

Reverse: On a ground-line Death, portrayed as a skeleton wielding a scythe, stands in center of the field, back to viewer with head turned left, towering over a great host of soldiers, the first row of which he has mown down and whose corpses now obscure his feet; title legend around upper edge, divided by Death's head; artist's monogram interlaced AK encircled by O in exergue.

Cf: Die zeitgenössische Medaille und Plakette in Deutschland und Österreich der letzten 20 Jahre in Guss und Prägung, (1930?), p. 11 (not illustrated, incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Baden).

Cf: Stemmermann, P.H.  Oskar A. Kiefer, ein Ettlinger Bildhauer: Leben und Werk, zweite überarbeitete und ergänzte Auflage, 1988, pp. 73 -74 (ill. obv. p. 75); p. 113 (smaller format 8.8 cm listed).

Cf: Bekker, Gerd.  2001.  Europäische Plaketten und Medaillen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts: Bestandskatalog der Sammlung des Grassimuseums Leipzig / Museum für Kunsthandwerk, p. 156: no. 810 (incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Munich; small 89.4 mm example).

Cf: Klose, Dietrich O. A. Europas Verderben 1914 1918: Deutsche und österreichische Medaillen auf den Ersten Weltkrieg.  2016. pp. 263 - 264: 22.2 (incorrectly attributed to Karl Kiefer, Munich; large 123 mm example).


It is surprising that this medal has twice in recent literature been mis-attributed to the Munich sculptor Karl Kiefer rather than to Oskar A. Kiefer despite the easily-accessible publication (Stemmermann, 1988) illustrating the obverse as well as describing both sides and validating the artist's monogram both on the medal and in his contemporary drawings.
 
The compilers of those recent publications were likely referencing the earlier listing in Die zeitgenössische Medaille cited above.  That attribution was, however, correct in listing the state of Baden as the medallist's residence, but the first name was in error.  It seems that the compilers of this small booklet - perhaps with their orientation or connection to the "Münchener Medailleure" - inadvertently supplied a better-known name rather than that of a less-familiar regional sculptor, and since the piece was not illustrated in the catalog, the mis-attribution went unnoticed.

This is the larger version of this medal which is also recorded in a smaller size, variously 88 - 89.4 mm (Cf: references).  The artist also employed the reverse "Totentanz" design on a 1927 memorial medal measuring 97 mm to the fallen soldiers of his home town of Ettlingen (see attached photo - medal not in my collection).

 
Considered in the context of near universal "war-fever" in 1914, the grim message of the designs of both obverse and reverse is remarkably prescient.  Among the many "Totentanz" medals produced in Germany during the First World War period, the reverse of this medal is certainly one of the most impressive  and likely the most massive of all.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 02:00:15 PM by Haarmann »