The Third German Reich 1933 - 1945Art in The Third Reich 1933 - 1945

101 Paul Gruson: Bronze bust depicting Horst Wessels.

Green patinated bronze. Artist's signature "P. GRUSON" on the back of the plinth. On a later limestone plinth.

Highly interesting bust of the monumental Horst Wessel memorial, which was not realised due to the artist's Jewish ancestry.

Paul Gruson (* 24 December 1895 in Charlottenburg near Berlin; † 6 September 1969 in Berlin-Tegel) was a German sculptor.

Gruson took part in the First World War as a soldier and then studied in Berlin at the Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Akademie der Künste under Georg Koch and Hugo Lederer, whose master student he was. He then worked as a sculptor in Berlin. Until 1932, the Berlin address book lists Gruson as an academic sculptor living at Reuterstraße 11 in Zehlendorf. He had a studio as a member of the Klosterstraße studio community at Prinz-Albrecht-Straße 8.

Gruson was an established sculptor in Berlin and took part in important exhibitions and competitions. He was a member of the Berlin Artists' Association and, among other things, represented it on the commission of the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1926. In 1926, he was awarded second prize out of 698 entries in the competition to design the coins of the German silver coinage.932 He took part in the art competition for the 1932 Summer Olympics with a wrestling group and Victoria on the globe.

Gruson was regarded by the German National Socialists as one of their own, and he showed himself to be a "model Nazi" One of his admirers and political patrons was Julius Lippert. As the winner of the competition for a Horst Wessel memorial opposite the Berlin Volksbühne theatre, whose jurors also included Georg Kolbe and Fritz Klimsch, Gruson was commissioned to create a larger-than-life portrait sculpture of Wessel in 1930.

When it became known after the seizure of power that Gruson had concealed his Jewish grandmother, which made him a "half-Jew" for the Nazis, this led to complications due to his artistic relevance. Leading National Socialists dealt with the case, including Joseph Goebbels, Hans Hinkel and Walter Tießler. To avoid public embarrassment, Goebbels then decided to take Gruson out of the line of fire. Gruson was expelled from the Reichsverband Bildender Künstler Deutschlands and from the Klosterstraße studio community in 1935. The commission to cast the Wessel monument was cancelled. In 1941, Gruson moved to Kleinmachnow and had to make do with private commissions from his neighbours.

Gruson took part in the Second World War as a soldier in the Wehrmacht. After returning from captivity as a prisoner of war, he worked again as a sculptor in Kleinmachnow. He created commissioned works including busts of Stalin and Lenin.

Gruson became a member of the SPD, then the SED. From 1949 he worked as a museum consultant in the art department of the Brandenburg Ministry of Public Education, in 1951/1952 as a consultant in the state administration for art matters and then as a freelance sculptor in East Berlin. Among other things, he was commissioned to produce a portrait bust of Wilhelm Pieck.

From 1952 to 1954, Gruson was a professor of sculpture at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. From 1954 to 1956, he was involved in Ruthild Hahne's work on a monumental Ernst Thälmann memorial, which was not realised.

In 1959 he left the GDR for West Berlin, where he continued to work as a freelance sculptor.

Extremely rare specimen and ideally suited for a museum exhibition on the subject of art in the Third Reich.

160 x 120 mm. Height with plinth: 27 cm.