Berlin - The first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, is the centerpoint of an art exhibition in Berlin. Various artists have made over 100 portraits such as paintings, busts, drawings and watercolors, as well medals and coins. He was born in Köln on January 6, 1876 and died on April 19, 1967.
Adenauer was after the World War II the first head of government in West Germany. The relentless policy of the Christian-Democrat statesmen built the foundation for Germany's road to democracy. In the exhibition were to be seen the works of significant men and women artists: Oskar Kokoschka, Graham Sutherland, Arno Breker, Salvador Dali, Ernst Fuchs, Mirko Donst, Gerhard Marcks, Helga Tiemann, Elisabeth Wrede, Yrsa von Leistner, Ernst-Günther Hansing, Falko Hamm and others. The exhibition objects came on loan from museums and collections. Also the German government, the Parliament and the European Art Foundation contributed to the exhibition. The exhibition was opened by the CDU chair Angela Merkel, in the presence of personalities from politics, diplomats and business.
The president of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Professor Dr. Günter Rinsche, expressly praised the good cooperation. At the opening also spoke a grandson of Adenauer. It was Konrad Adenauer III, an attorney in Köln. The exhibition, which took place from January till the end of February, was also well received by the young generation, and also got international attention. The exhibition was seen daily by about 500 visitors in the House of the Adenauer Foundation (Tiergartenstraße 35 in 10758 Berlin).
Jewish delegation from the USA
To the foreign guests belonged a delegation from USA. The representatives of Jewish organizations visited the capital for several days during their visit to Germany, while on the way to Israel. These men and women, interested in politics and art, were guided through the exhibition by Joe F. Bodenstein of the European Art Foundation. He knew Adenauer personally, and was able to answer many questions of the guests from personal experience. Bodenstein recalled the fundamental contributions of Adenauer toward the Jewish-German reconciliation, and spoke of the friendship of Adenauer with Nahum Goldman of the Jewish World Congress. In his speech on Wednesday, February 14, 2001, he said the following:
Ladies and Gentleman,
I have the honor to briefly introduce you to the Exhibition Konrad Adenauer in Art. My name is Joe F. Bodenstein from the European Art-Foundation.
The Konrad Adenauer-Foundation presents this exhibition in its Berlin Office. The occasion this year is the 125th birthday of Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
I was fortunate to know Konrad Adenauer when I started my career 45 years ago in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. I met Adenauer, and I was quite familiar with many of the artists who have painted him.
Konrad Adenauer was an extraordinary politician. And he was for the democratic movement the most important person of his time in Germany. He was a strong ally of the West, and especially of the United States.
And he was a trustworthy partner for the new State of Israel. The late Nahum Goldman from the Jewish World Congress once said to me in Paris: Without Adenauer, Israel would have not have received as much political support and financial help from Germany as it did during all the decades after World War second.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Beside his political career, Adenauer was a friend of culture and art.
But he was also a s u b j e c t of art.
Many famous men and women painted him in oil, pencil and watercolor, such as for example the Austrian painter Oscar Kokoschka and his British colleague Graham Sutherland. Then there are among others the sculptors Arno Breker, Gerhard Marcks and the lady-sculptor Yrsa von Leistner and Helga Tiemann.
The famous Salvador Dali made an etching and a medal in gold and silver of Adenauer. And Dali's friend, the Jewish painter Ernst Fuchs created a lithograph and a precious medal.
The youngest artist in this Exhibition 'ADENAUER IN ART' is Mirko Donst, born in East Germany in the Time of DDR. We see five drawings by him in this exhibition, using different techniques.
This fine exhibition would have not have been possible without the support of Mr. Paul B. Wink from the Adenauer-Foundation. He arranged this special collection.
He is not only a curator, but a well-known collector of Adenauer-In-Art-Items as well. To his collection belong Adenauer-stamps from round the world, medals and coins with portraits of this great Christian-Democratic Chancellor. Paul Wink has completed this art exhibition with excellent, authentic works of art from the collection of the German Government, the Parliament, The European Art-Foundations and Museums.
Dear Visitors from USA,
You are now invited to see the different portraits in the house. I would be happy to answer any questions as you go around and view the exhibition.
Have a good time in Berlin and auf Wiedersehen, here in this city or in USA.