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Arno Breker

The Guardian of the Image
of Man

by B. John Zavrel
Originally published in: Arno Breker: Divine Beauty in Art
Available in Bookstore

"Who in all his work sees God,
He in truth goes unto God:
God is his worship, God is his offering,
Offered by God in the fire of God:"
The Bhagavad Gita

Thoughts fly often back to that memorable evening when I first met Arno Breker. The long flight across the Atlantic from America back to Europe, the land of my forefathers, brings me to Breker's home near the airport in Düsseldorf. As we drive up the long driveway to the house, his Prometheus-the god who brought culture and the divine fire to mankind, greets us with his blazing torch. Like the Prometheus of old, so has Arno Breker brought us fire and light, and then had to relive the suffering of Prometheus. What a miracle that this troubled world of our space age, with its countless wars, revolutions, upheavals, and catastrophes, has failed to discourage Breker from his calling and from his belief in the goodness of mankind and its future!

The events leading up to our meeting race through my mind as we approach the master's home in silence: Not long ago, the American President Ronald Reagan declared 1983 the year of the 300th Anniversary of German immigration to America, and this resulted in the founding of the Arno Breker Society, International, in the United States, with myself as its first president. The main goal of this cultural society, which was founded in cooperation with such artists as Dali, Peyrefitte, Fuchs, Mourlot, and many others, is to support the cooperation between Europe and America, between Germany and the United States in the fields of art and science for friendship, mutual respect, and better understanding. On this occasion a portfolio, Salute America, was published with texts by Ronald Reagan, Helmut Kohl, George Bush, and Karl Carstens, and a set of original lithographs created by Arno Breker, as a gesture of their continuing support of the ideals of friendship, freedom, and justice.

"I was afraid I would not get to meet you" were the first words of the frail artist, who was recovering after a recent implant of a heart pacemaker, as we embraced. His warm and sincere welcome and the hospitality of his wife Charlotte made my initial anxiety quickly disappear He was moved and delighted by the gifts which I brought him from his friends in America-a few handfuls of American soil and an Indian chief's war bonnet, which was made especially for him by a full-blooded Sioux Indian. We talked about his art and life, about his ideas and his plans for the future. He remembered his artist friends and his models. Many of his famous portrait-busts surrounded us as we talked in his atelier:

There were Konrad Adenauer; Ludwig Erhard, Salvador Dali, Gerhart Hauptmann, Ezra Pound, Ernst Jünger, and Roger Peyrefitte, as well as Alexander the Great and Richard Wagner. Time and again Breker had encountered both well-known and unknown people whose nature and bearing fascinated him and whom he considered worthy of being immortalized in bronze. In answering my question as to what all these people had in common, as seen by the artist, Breker replied: "My experience in creating portraits has for the most part confirmed again and again that real human greatness and reputation go hand in hand with ability, humility, preparedness to serve, modesty, preparedness for sacrifice, diligence, and faith in the future."

In the course of the evening I was invited to the master's atelier And there it was: his latest masterpiece, The Decathlete, Jürgen Hingsen, whom I distinctly remembered as he ran his victory lap in the Los Angeles stadium, wrapped in the German flag, after winning the Olympic silver medal in the decathlon. Breker's magnificent sculpture of this "German Hercules" is truly unforgettable: Captured in a moment immediately following his shout of victory the kneeling athlete raises his hands toward the sky and spreads his arms in a pose of gratitude and joy. Without humility, he raises his head and looks upward, his powerful body open and expressive. The beauty of the human body, which Breker has been blessed with the talent to portray with masterful perfection, does not originate in the imagination of the artist. Real models are always used for Breker's important works, models which he himself chooses. And for Breker, athletes are the best models for sculpture.

This is proven true once again with his other most recent sculpture, The High Jumper, for which the "golden girl" Ulrike Meyfarth, posed. Meyfarth accomplished the incredible feat of winning Olympic gold medals in the high jump twice-12 years apart. In direct contrast to the decathlete's victory gesture, this sculpture shows the athlete immediately before the competition. The tall, slender figure virtually personifies grace and self-confidence combined in one. With her right arm raised in a gesture of greeting the observer, the mouth slightly open, and the legs positioned as if about to begin her run toward the high jump, one senses the quiet, calm self-confidence of an athlete who, completely oblivious to the stress of competition, is totally in control of her mind and body, and thus invincible.

And thus, with each of his new creations, Arno Breker continues to speak to us silently, without words. Yet his language strikes deep into the soul and awakens it to recognition of infinite harmony. Viewing his model-a man or a woman-Breker transcends it to find its image in the realm of spiritual interpretation. In portraying what is visible, he captures the essence of that which is real and eternal and which heralds the values of the Higher Man. Never content to limit his work to reproducing only that which the physical eye beholds, Breker infuses into his creations something of the eternal principles toward which man aspires.

"I am the sculptor of the human body, in its perfect harmony of the triad of the body, spirit, and soul," runs the creed of Breker. This man, who is both as old and as young as this century, has never tired of glorifying the image of man. And thus his virtues of loyalty, honor, perseverance, and faith have singled out Arno Breker from among the sculptors of the 20th century as its true "Guardian of the Image of Man."

How does Breker look at Americans and the work of the society which bears his name in America? This is his message to the American people-and especially to the young generation, which he sees as our greatest treasure and our future as well: "The people in the United States-that is just a continuation of a European development. And we in Europe-that is what you are, you Americans. The vast majority of the American people today still have their roots in the countries of Europe. And I hope that in the new century to come even a new dimension in thinking will succeed, that is, that we are all creatures of this earth, 'earth-people' so to speak. This will not inhibit the development of national characteristics and talents and individualities of the different races. The Arno Breker Society, International, should have the function of a bridge between Europe and America. The question of nationality just does not arise any more as in the old days. Rather, there is a singleness of spirit, a commonality in pursuit of the same ideals and goals."

And although we may be separated again by thousands of miles when his next birthday comes on July 19th, still-at least in spirit- I shall be with him, within the circle of his friends, honoring him as a great artist, a great German, and a dear friend, and wishing him, with all my heart, many more happy years to come!


Prometheus II



Related articles:

Related pictures:

See also: Rycroft Gallery, Breker's Sculpture Garden

Copyright 1996 PROMETHEUS
Reprinted with permission

West - Art

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10545 Main Street, Clarence, New York 14031 (U.S.A.)

(716) 759-6078 FAX (716) 759-7925

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"Art with Class from Europe"

WEST-ART presents works of art of well-known (and of some young, promising) European artists of the 20th century. Many of these lithographs were produced in low, limited editions in the Paris studio of Fernand Mourlot, the "master printer" of France. It was in Mourlot's studio where many graphic works of Chagall, Dali, Breker and Picasso have been produced. We offer hard to find, quality works of art from the leading European cultural centers -- France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, England, Switzerland and also from Israel.

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Humility ( $20)

The Dream ( $20)



Meditation (a limited edition bronze, $ 4,200)

You and I (a limited edition marble relief, $ 4,400)

Girl in Love (a limited edition bronze, $ 3,400)

Bucephalos, Horse of Alexander the Great (a limited edition bronze, $ 3,150)



Alexander the Great (3,700)

Jean Cocteau ( $ 1,850)

Salvador Dali ( $ 5,800)



Lad with Two Women ($ 900)

Aphrodite ( $ 1,450)

Konrad Adenauer ( $ 345)

Mishima IV ($ 330)



Selection of a Bride ( $ 900)

Pretty Fatima ( $ 869)

Loyalty ( $ 480)



Encounter and Farewell ( $ 380)



Salvador Dali ( $ 70)

Ganymed ( $ 195)

Goethe ( $ 195)


The above works of art are reproduced in the book ARNO BREKER: HIS ART AND LIFE, by B. John Zavrel, the first English-language book on the artist.



Books in English on Arno Breker

(can be also ordered from: http://www.amazon.com)


Arno Breker: His Art and Life, by B. John Zavrel ( $ 15)

Arno Breker: The Divine Beauty in Art, by B. John Zavrel ( $ 15)

The Collected Writings of Arno Breker, by Arno Breker ( $ 20)



More books and catalogs on Arno Breker

(available only from us)


Arno Breker: The Scuptor of the Beautiful ( $ 95)

This is the first wide-ranging monograph, which shows the entire scope of Arno Breker's work, from the beginnings in the 1920's to the last achievements in the 1980's. More than 100 works of art are shown for the first time! This magnificent book closes for all time an unjustified gap, and will finally enable the enlightened art lover to independently evaluate and judge the entire oeuvre of tone of the most significant sculptors of the 20th century on the grounds of his work, rather than on a biased and incomplete representation of it by his jealous and envious critics.

Size 8 1/2 x 12 inches, hard cover

352 pages, 600 photographs

Extensive and final biography; text in English, French, and German

Price: $ 90 plus $ 5 shipping





Art on the Internet:

please visit http://www.amazon.com go to the "zShops"

for our other current offerings on Arno Breker.


ARNO BREKER: HIS ART AND LIFE, by B. John Zavrel 192 pages, $ 15

This is the first English language book on the sculptor Arno Breker (1900-1991), called Michelangelo of the 20th century." Mostly photographs of some of his most famous works: sculptures, reliefs, portrait-busts, small sculptures, litographs. Also shown are some of his monumental sculptures from his classical period (Eos, Dionysos, You & I, Grace, Alexander the Great, etc.). Extensive biography, bibliography and a highly interesting photo documentary section.


THE DIVINE BEAUTY IN ART, by B. John Zavrel 96 pages, $ 15

A rare interview with the sculptor Arno Breker (1900-1991) about his work and the importance of classical art in general. Included are illustrations of some of his monumental works of the classical period (Prometheus, Venturer, Ponderer, Meditation, Apollo and Daphne, etc). Detailed biography and photo documentation included.

This is the second book on Breker published in English.



A collection of all the articles written by the sculptor Arno Breker (1900-1991) during his long, productive and eventful life. In includes articles on ar and his artist friends - Salvador Dali, Ernst Fuchs, Kurt Arentz, Pablo Picasso, Albert Speer, Jean Cocteau, Paul Belmondo, Celine, etc. Book is illustrated by previously unpublished drawings by Breker.


ARNO BREKER: A LIFE FOR THE BEAUTIFUL, by Dominique Egret --- 352 pages, $ 90

A wide-ranging monograph, which shows the entire scope of Arno Breker's work, from the beginnings in the 1920's to the last achievements in the 1980's. More than 100 works of art are shown for the first time! This book cloaes for all time an unjustified gap, and will finally enable the enlightened art lover to independently evaluate and judge the entire oeuvre of one of the most significant sculptores of the 20th century on the grounds of his work rather than on a biased and incomplete representation of it. Size 8 1/2 x 12 inches, hard cover. Extensive and final biography in English, French, and German. 352 pages, 660 photographs.



by Boris Rauschenbach 256 pages, $ 15

Biography of Hermann Oberth (1894-1987), the father of space flight. A fascinating biography of the man whose ideas and mathematical formulas proved that space flight is possible. His student was the legendary Wernher von Braun, who led the efforts which brought the first man on the moon in 1969. Nearly all vital modern space travel concepts used today are founded on Hermann Oberth's ideas. Also included is a highly interesting photo documentaion section and biography of the man whose ideas brought about the present "space age." The book was written by Professor Boris Rauschenbach, a Russian rocket scientis, who has been involved in rocket research in the former Soviet Union since its early days and he counts among the pioneers of rocket development.


PRIMER FOR THOSE WHO WOULD GOVERN, by Hermann Oberth -- 320 pages, $ 20

This book is the last book written by Hermann Oberth (1894-1987), the father of space flight. The work addresses many of the great problems facing mankind today, and points to interesting solutions. Oberth says that the book contains the minimum that a publicly active person should know and understand. Included is also a detailed biography of the space pioneer, and a fascinating photo documentaion section.



This is the second book published about the prominent German sculptor Kurt Arentz, who is considered the last member of the artist line Rodin-Maillol-Despiau-Breker. A friend and admirer of Arno Breker, Kurt Arentz is the most prominent living portraitist in Germany. He has portrayed many of the leading personalities in Europe and America, such as Herbert von Karajan, Karl Carstens, Helmut Schmidt, Ronald Reagan, Richard von Weizsaecker, Manfred Wörner, George Bush, Helmut Kohl, Axel Springer, Kardinal Frings, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Bill Clinton, Mstislav Rostropovich, and others. He is also well known for his sculptures of animals and wild life, especially horses, bulls, falcons and eagles.

Mostly photographs, minimum text in German.


DALI UND WEIN - DALI AND WINE 78 pages, $ 35

A color exhibition catalog with pictures of selected illustrations from Salvador Dali's cyclus Divine Comedy. Also pictures of several sculptures and objects of art by the "King of Surrealists."



A color exhibition catalog of selected etchings and color lithographs by Ernst Fuchs of Vienna, the founder of the school of "fantastic realism." A friend of both Breker and Dali, the multi-talented artist Ernst Fuchs is the last living member of the "Golden Triangle" of the three artist-friends: Salvador Dali - Arno Breker - Ernst Fuchs.



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