The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Los Angeles, currently under construction and scheduled to be completed later this year, has received a valuable addition to its growing art collection.
John Zavrel of Clarence, New York, director for Cultural Affairs of the German-American National Congress (DANK), presented the original, larger-than-life bronze bust of the former President to Ronald Reagan in his office in the Century City in Los Angeles.
He was accompanied by the artist, the prominent German sculptor Kurt Arentz and Ron Voth (San Jose), of the International Committee "Artists For Ecology."
"You made me look a little younger," joked the President with a happy smile, as he saw the sculpture. "This bust will certainly find a place in my presidential library," continued the President, as he welcomed the 56-year old artist from Leverkusen, Germany. Reagan recalled his last trip with his wife Nancy to the Rhineland and his meeting with the Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn. "During this trip we received as a gift a large chunk of the communist Berlin Wall. It will be displayed as a monument in front of the Reagan Library."
"It was my intention not only to achieve a likeness of Ronald Reagan in the portrait, but also to capture the optimism, courage, and the faith in the future that Ronald Reagan expressed during the various decades of his life," remarked Kurt Arentz about his bust.
The portrait bust of Ronald Reagan, commissioned by John Zavrel in his years -long efforts to promote cooperation and friendly relations between the United States and Germany on an unofficial, people-to-people basis, belongs within the framework of portraits of important personalities of our time, created by Kurt Arentz.
To them belong bronzes of the German Chancellors Helmut Kohl and Helmut Schmidt, the German Presidents Richard von Weizsaecker and Karl Carstens, the political figures Franz Josef Strauss, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the publisher Axel Springer, artists Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Peter Hofmann, and others.
The portrait of Ronald Reagan is a homage to a great statesman, whom the majority of Germans compare with Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic, in their achievements, radiance, and fascination.
Konrad Adenauer, as a loyal ally of the United States, has the historical merit to have led the Germans already in 1945 to the side of the free West.
Ronald Reagan has always been very popular with the majority of the German people, young and old. With his memorable visit to Berlin and his public demand to the Soviet leadership to "Let the wall fall," he gave courage to people on both sides. This unforgettable gesture of determination and faith resulted not only in the destruction of the infamous "Berlin Wall," but also in the eventual reunification of Germany later on in 1990. The political strategy of strength and negotiation was successful.
"This meeting is the second occasion that I have received gifts from the German-American National Congress," said Mr. Reagan to John Zavrel. He was referring to the gift of two bronze eagles PEACE and LIBERTY by Kurt Arentz, which were presented to him several years ago through NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner and the former U.S. Ambassador Richard Burt.
"Judging from the significant amount of American and foreign art in my office, it's clear that art does play a strong role in nurturing international relations," concluded the President.
To promote transatlantic cultural exchange, the Euro-American Sculpture Garden is currently preparing an exhibition of the works of Kurt Arentz. Enquiries by art museums and galleries should be directed to John Zavrel, Museum of European Art, 10545 Main Street, Clarence, NY 14031.
We recommend these books:
Ronald Reagan: An American Story
Arno Breker: His Art and Life, by B. John Zavrel
Primer for Those Who Would Govern, by Hermann Oberth
A World Transformed, by George Bush
Eumeswil, by Ernst Jünger