Biographies

BREKER, Arno

* 19.06.1900 in Elberfeld;
† 13.02.1991 in Düsseldorf
Sculptor, Graphic Designer and Architect.

Arno Breker completed an apprenticeship as stone sculptor from 1916 - 1920, and attended an Arts Trade School in Elberfeld, after which he studied at the arts academy in Düsseldorf until 1925. Arno Breker travelled to North Africa in 1927, where he found the inspiration for his etching- and lithography series, "Tunesische Reise". Breker developed a casting process, called the "Reinen Form," that yielded a sculpture that had absolutely no surface unevenness. This became the idealized type of sculpting in the Nationalist Socialist style. Between 1927 and 1933, Anro Breker undertook several journeys to Paris before moving to the city as sculptor. In 1933 he received the Rom-Prize of the Prussian Ministry of Culture, and spent a year in the Villa Massimo. Arno Breker moved to Berlin in 1934 and took part in the exhibition "Berliner Secession" in 1935. He also competed in the Olympic Arts Exhibition in Berlin in 1936. Breker won the silver medal of the International Olympic Committee for the statues "Zehnkämpfer" and "Die Siegerin" in the sculpture competition. With that he - previously criticized as a Frenchman - received the highest official regard. He thus had the opportunity in 1937 to finish the sculptures for the German pavilion at the world exhibition in Paris, and was elected as member of the jury. Arno Breker was married in the same year to Demetra Messala. From 1937 onwards he was professor of sculpture at the College for Educational Arts in Berlin. From 1938, the start of the building of the New Reich Chancellery by Albert Speer , he received many governmental contracts. At the explicit request of Adolf Hitler, Breker was involved with the planning of the reconstruction of Berlin into the Capitol, Germania. For this purpose an open-plan studio was constructed for him in Berlin-Dahlem. There he created sculptures and reliefs for the New Reich Chancellery and other official buildings. In 1939 Arno Breker undertook an educational trip to Italy where he received an employment offer from Josef Stalin for the Soviet Union. In 1940 Arno Breker became a member of the Prussian Academy for Arts. In the National Socialist Government contract, the "Arno Breker Steinbildhauerwerkstätten" is founded in 1941/42 in which prisoners of war had to duplicate and multiply Breker's models - like the Hitler-Busts of 1941. By invitation of the French Vichy - government, Arno Breker received the opportunity to have a solo exhibition in 1942 at the "Orangerie" in Paris. At end of the Second World War in 1945, Breker fled to Wemding (Bavaria). Approximately 90% of his work had been destroyed. Despite his previous privileged position, Breker was categorized as sympathizer at the denazification trials in 1948, as he had asserted himself on several occasions in favour of artists persecuted by the regime - such as Pablo Picasso and Peter Suhrkamp. Arno Breker returned to Düsseldorf in 1950, and was employed as architect during the rebuilding of the city. In 1958 Arno Breker married Charlotte Kluge and established a studio in Paris where he employed himself as sculptor and graphic designer. In 1980 the federal government made the Nörvenich Castle at Cologne available to him for renovation as the "Museum Arno Breker - Sammlung Europäische Kunst". The latter was opened in 1985. In 1981 Arno Breker participated with a design in the exhibition "Paris 1937-47". Due to heavy protest he had to withdraw his design, after which he subsequently distanced himself clearly from National Socialism. The "Arno Breker Society International" was founded in the USA. Arno Breker died on 13 February 1991 in Düsseldorf.