A TRUE CONNOISSEUR


HANS CONSTANTIN FAUSSNER. OR: HOW TO FIND HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT BY COLLECTING ART 

 

ARTHUR KAMPF
1864 Aachen – 1950 Castrop-Rauxel

„DER KENNER“ (DETAIL)

Öl auf Leinwand. 73,5 × 102,5 cm

LOT 67
SCHÄTZPREIS € 2.000 – 3.000

 

It is unclear who the elderly gentleman painted here by Arthur Kampf is supposed to be. It is certainly not Hans Constantin Faußner. Why did he buy the work? Possibly because he recognized himself in this painting: Faußner, like the man depicted, is a true connoisseur of art.

 

 

VON DR. HELGA PUHLMANN

Born in 1925, the lawyer, who was also interested in medieval legal history, grew up in Rosenheim as the son of a dentist. His father, Dr. Hans Faußner (1890 - 1985), was heavily involved in the local art association in the 1920s, until he resigned his post in 1934 and a member of the NSDAP took over as chairman. After the war, Hans Faußner was elected to the Rosenheim city council and was given the cultural department. Director of studies Johann Nepomuk Faußner (1864 - 1944), grandfather of Hans Constantin, was also very fond of art and became friends with the artist Constantin Gerhardinger in 1916. Together with other "Chiemsee painters" in the tradition of the Munich School, he was a friend of the family for decades.

 At Rudolf Neumeister's suggestion, a selection of 80 paintings and works on paper from the Faußner Collection was shown in his art auction house from March 23 to April 8, 1987. A catalog was published for this exhibition with works by Hermann Groeber, Constantin Gerhardinger, Hans Müller-Schnuttenbach, Thomas Baumgartner and Hiasl Maier-Erding, with a foreword by Erich Steingräber, who was Director General of the Bavarian State Painting Collections from 1969 to 1987. Hans Constantin Faußner supplemented the publication with an introduction in which he describes experiences with some of the artists from his childhood and youth. Among other things, he recalls a rainy day in May 1930 when his godfather Constantin Gerhardinger painted his portrait at the age of six while he was sitting on a high "Nachtkastel" in the bay window of the living room and his mother told him fairy tales. Other anecdotes from family life shed light on individual stories about the creation and acquisition of works of art.

Various family members were involved in the continuous expansion of the collection. Not only the grandfather and the father, who bought several works by Gerhardinger directly from the studio, contributed to the expansion of the collection, but also the mother. The family home was generously open to artist friends. Constantin Gerhardinger, Hans Müller-Schnuttenbach and Otto Miller-Diflo, who came to Rosenheim to "landschaftern", were entertained and accommodated as house guests for weeks. The father carried out dental treatment on some of the painters and arranged some paintings and portrait commissions for relatives and acquaintances. Subsequently, some paintings came to the Faußner family as gifts from the artists.

Gern gesehener Hausgast und auch musikalisch talentiert: Constantin Gerhardinger mit Emilie Faußner.

After studying law, Hans Constantin Faußner set up as a lawyer in Munich in the early 1960s. He continued to expand the collection he had inherited from his parents through targeted acquisitions and remained committed to figurative, expressive painting. 

 

 

VON LUDWIG SEDLMAIER
Männerliebe für die Fraueninsel:
Hiasl Maier-Erding, Thomas Baumgartner und Constantin Gerhardinger (v. l.) gründeten im Jahr 1920 die Künstler-Kolonie „Frauenwörther“.

The earliest evidence of Hans Constantin Faussner's collecting activities are Gothic sculptures, mainly from southern Germany and Austria. Most of them are religious depictions - a theme that runs through the entire collection over the centuries. The consistently high-quality sculptures cover the period from the late Gothic period to the second half of the 18th century. The top lot in this area is a wooden relief created in Franconia around 1490 depicting the "Death of the Virgin". Also of particular quality is a Baroque writing cabinet with ivory inlays, which was probably made around 1745 in the workshop of Carl Maximilian Mattern.

 

In terms of painting, around 15 paintings belong to the "Old Masters" category from the late Gothic period to the second half of the 18th century, also mostly with religious content. This collection includes works created in the workshops or in the succession of Hugo van der Goes, Joos van Cleve, Lucas Cranach and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

While the sculptures and sculptures from the late Middle Ages and the early modern period as well as the Old Master paintings and prints are only loosely linked to a collection concept, the situation is different with the paintings from around 1900 onwards. Here, Hans Constantin Faußner focused on Munich and the surrounding area, in particular the Chiemgauregion.

The focus of the collection is clearly on Chiemsee painting. In their variety and diversity, the corresponding works - most of which were created in the first half of the 20th century - give an excellent impression of the artistic diversity of the art scene around Lake Chiemsee.

With a total of over 100 works, Paul Mathias Padua, Thomas Baumgartner and Constantin Gerhardinger are the most strongly represented. Around 50 paintings and graphic works by Padua alone - most of which Faussner acquired from the artist's family - will be auctioned.

Padua, Baumgartner and Gerhardinger were artistic foster sons of the Leibl circle. However, stylistically they go further than their role models. For example, Baumgartner and Padua's sitters are not just genre portraits, but real character heads whose facial features are deliberately exaggerated. Many of these works are already reminiscent of works by protagonists of New Objectivity:

The exciting thing about the Faußner Collection is that the artistic development can be traced over decades thanks to the large number of works, particularly in the case of Padua, Baumgartner and Gerhardinger. Whether still life, nude, landscape or genre painting: Faußner has several examples from each artist's creative period that are representative of the development of the respective personality. Paintings from early creative periods at the beginning of the 20th century are included, as are works created in the Weimar Republic, during National Socialism or in the post-war period. The comparison between the artists is also revealing: while Baumgartner and Gerhardinger, for example, mainly produced realistic portraits in the style of the 1950s after the war, Padua's work shows a tendency towards further abstraction:

The development and work of artist groups on Lake Chiemsee is also reflected in the works in the collection - above all the "Frauenwörther", an artists' colony on the Chiemsee Fraueninsel, which Hiasl Maier-Erding founded in 1920 with Constantin Gerhardinger, Thomas Baumgartner and Alfred Haushofer; works by Hermann Groeber and Hans Müller-Schnuttenbach can also be found here. The Frauenwörthers were a loose group, united less by a common style than by their love of rural, peasant life, which they idealized in their works. They oriented themselves towards Impressionism, the landscape painting of the Barbizon school and its Bavarian followers. In the field of genre and portrait painting, the artists of the Leibl circle were regarded as idols. In this tradition, the Faussner collection also includes individual works by well-known painters who worked in Munich around 1900. Josef Wenglein is represented with a large-format mill, Fritz von Uhde with a lady at a spinning wheel, Albert von Keller with a female nude and Heinrich von Zügel with a grazing sheep:

However, Faußner also collected Chiemsee artists who were not part of the Leibl circle tradition. Among the first generation are Willi Geiger, Heinrich Heidner and Karl Caspar. Although their works fall behind other collectors in the collection in terms of quantity, their artistic quality is all the more remarkable. One example of this is Willi Geiger's larger-than-life depiction of St. Sebastian from 1914 - a central work by the artist. In general, the first generation often painted religious motifs. Heinrich Heidner's 1922 oil painting "Figurenstaffage in südlicher Flusslandschaft" could also be interpreted in this respect. This large-format work, which still raises questions, stands out in the Faußner Collection, if only because it demonstrates the extent to which expressionist artists were also inspired by Lake Chiemsee. A second generation, whose creative period extends from the 1920s to the 1970s, then moved away from the more religious motifs and focused primarily on still lifes and landscapes. Artists such as Arnold Balwé and the two Caspar students Anton Lamprecht and Julius Wolfgang Schülein can be categorized here - as well as (the older) Otto Geigenberger, whose works are stylistically more in line with the younger generation's approach to art. Older or younger: both generations have so far received little attention from art history. This is actually incomprehensible, as the works in the Faußner Collection prove the quality of the works. 

Hitler und Gefolgsleute beim Rundgang durch die Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung (GDK) in München: Dort wurde das gezeigt, was die NS-Elite liebte und sich in ihre völkische Ideologie einfügen ließ. Auch Werke von Künstlern der Faußner-Sammlung waren bei den GDKs zu sehen.

The display of paintings from the National Socialist era, including the corresponding symbolism from the Nazi period, serves the sole purpose of art, research, science and teaching.

A second generation, whose creative period extends from the 1920s to the 1970s, then moved away from the more religious motifs and focused primarily on still lifes and landscapes. Artists such as Arnold Balwé and the two Caspar students Anton Lamprecht and Julius Wolfgang Schülein can be categorized here - as well as (the older) Otto Geigenberger, whose works are stylistically more in line with the younger generation's approach to art. Older or younger: both generations have so far received little attention from art history. This is actually incomprehensible, as the works in the Faußner Collection prove the quality of the works.

With regard to the Faußner collection, the question of the role of the artists represented there during National Socialism must undoubtedly also be raised. Painters such as Paul Mathias Padua, Constantin Gerhardinger and Thomas Baumgartner were among the beneficiaries of the Nazi regime. Their works were on display every year at the "Great German Art Exhibition" (GDK), which took place a total of eight times between 1937 and 1944 in the specially built "House of German Art" in Munich, with the declared aim of representing the "new" National Socialist state art. In these exhibitions, however, works of art with decidedly propagandistic pictorial content were in the minority. Portraits of the Nazi elite or heroic war scenes actually only made up a small proportion of the artworks that were propagated by the National Socialists at the GDK. Most of the works in the exhibitions were based on bourgeois conservative ideas and depicted supposedly apolitical ideal world motifs. Visitors to the GDKs were greeted by Alpine panoramas and landscapes as well as floral still lifes, along with pompous, sometimes mythologically charged nudes and, time and again, rural and peasant scenes - in other words, everything that fitted in with the concept of the "blood and soil" ideology, which was not directly propagandistic but had a system-stabilizing effect. Tip: The works shown at the Great German Art Exhibitions are publicly accessible in the image database www.gdk-research.de. It also lists who purchased something: Adolf Hitler is at the top of the list with 1316 purchases, followed by Joseph Goebbels (217) and Martin Bormann (144):

Während Künstler, die sich mit dem NS-Regime arrangierten, Ruhm und Reichtum erlangten, wurden andere verleumdet und verfolgt. Ihre Werke diffamierte man in der Ausstellung „Entartete Kunst“, die 1937 in München zu sehen war und später durch ganz Deutschland tourte.

The display of paintings from the National Socialist era, including the corresponding symbolism from the Nazi period, serves the sole purpose of art, research, science and teaching.

Padua, Gerhardinger, Baumgartner and other artists who exhibited at the GDKs usually painted just as "innocuously" during the Nazi era as they did before 1933. Very few of them clearly placed their art in the service of National Socialism. How individual artists themselves stood by the Nazi system is another question; Hermann Groeber, for example, was an NSDAP party member from the very beginning. The majority of the artists - mostly trained in the 1910s and 1920s - were probably simply driven by a material interest and seized the opportunity to show themselves to a large audience and establish themselves on the market by participating in the Great German Art Exhibitions - just as they had previously done at the sales exhibitions held in Munich's "Glaspalast" until it burned down in 1931.

While artists who came to terms with the Nazi regime achieved fame and fortune, others had to fear for their existence. At the Munich propaganda show "Degenerate Art", which was shown in Munich in 1937 and later traveled throughout Germany, the National Socialist rulers defamed all modern movements from Expressionism to New Objectivity. Artists whose works were branded in this way were slandered and persecuted. Some were banned from their profession, their works were confiscated, removed from museums or destroyed. Some "Faußner artists" such as Karl Caspar, Arnold Balwé, Willi Geiger and Julius Wolfgang Schülein were also affected. For others, the situation is unclear. One such special case is Otto Geigenberger, whose paintings were defamed as "degenerate" and removed from public collections on the one hand, but were also exhibited at four major German art exhibitions on the other.

It is remarkable how quickly artists who were defamed during the Nazi era came together again after the war. One example of this is the Munich "Neue Gruppe", an artists' association founded in 1946 to which Karl Caspar, Anton Lamprecht, Arnold Balwé, Otto Geigenberger and Willi Geiger, among others, belonged. The catalog for the group's first exhibition in 1947 at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus states: "The association pursues the goal of representing those artists who are particularly concerned with modern artistic problems without doctrinally committing themselves to one art movement." It should be a farewell to ideologies and systems, styles and avant-gardes. "In a society oscillating between blind trust and ironic relativism, the Neue Gruppe reflects on concepts of truth, veracity, belief, knowledge and conjecture," reads the website of the artists' association, which still exists today. Could politics once again learn from art?

 

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