|Catalog No.||150||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||Karl Schwesig: Interrogation under Torture||Similar Items|
|Artist||Schwesig Karl||Similar Items|
|Donor||Schwesig - Miller Hannelore||Similar Items|
|Technique||Pen and ink drawing||Similar Items|
|Period||After World War II||Similar Items|
|Work specifications/size||29X39.5 cm.||Similar Items|
|Artist's Original Title||לא||Similar Items|
|databank||Art Collection||Similar Items|
Karl Schwesig: Interrogation under Torture.
Karl Schwesig was born in 1898 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He studied at the Duesseldorf Art Academy [Malerschule], and belonged to the “Junge Rheinland” group of young artists and was among those who met regularly at the “Junge Kunst - Frau Ey” [young art] gallery of curator Johanna “Mutter” Ey. Schwesig was a close associate of Gert Wollheim, a dominant figure among the left - leaning artists. Upon the Nazis' rise to power, Schwesig was interned in a Duesseldorf prison for 17 months. Following his release in 1935, he fled to Belgium where he received political asylum. He supported himself by appearing in a political cabaret frequented by German emigres who condemned the government in their country, and also by selling his artworks -- but primarily through the assistance of friends. During this period he drew caricatures and political cartoons depicting the leaders of National Socialism, and posters calling for aid to the fighters of the Spanish Civil War.
Upon the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940, Schwesig was transferred to the Saint - Cyprien camp in the South of France, the first of a series of four camps in which he was interned for most of the wartime period. In October 1940, after a flood that destroyed the camp’s buildings, he was transferred to the Gurs camp. In February 1941, Schwesig was transferred to the Noe camp, and on March 6, 1943, was transferred to the Nexon camp. On June 1, 1943, Schwesig was transferred to the Fort Romainville prison in Paris, until July 15, 1943, when he was transferred to a prison in Duesseldorf. He remained captive there until the city was taken by Allied forces in 1945.
After his release from prison, Schwesig resided in Duesseldorf and continued to produce artworks critical of the government, along with works based on drawings he made during the period of his incarceration. Among these is the series, “Les inutiles” [French: the useless; also: the unneeded], depicting crippled veterans of the Spanish Civil War who were interned in the Noe camp.
In 1946, Schwesig married Hannelore Mueller; the couple had two daughters. Karl Schwesig died in Duesseldorf on June 19, 1955, his 57th birthday.
After the artist’s death, his widow donated a sizeable collection of his works from the wartime period to the Art Collection of the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum.
Schwesig, who suffered from a disease that stunted his growth (he stood approx. 1.5 m tall), managed to survive the harsh conditions of numerous prisons and internment camps. It was one of his aspirations to document the horrors of the various regimes. In each of the camps in which Schwesig was interned, he engaged in making drawings, some of them caricatural and critical in nature, which served as a commemoration of camp life and the people there. Besides these drawings, he also painted delicate and sensitive watercolor landscapes. Close