Wednesday, December 03, 2014
One of them was the painter Heinrich Vogeler. Vogeler had fought on the Eastern Front. He subsequently joined the German communist party and was a member of Workers' and Soldiers' Council of the Bremen Soviet Republic during the abortive revolution of 1918. In 1919 he founded a socialist utopian experiment and artists' commune in which Drewes participated for a time. During the 1920s he traveled to the USSR on two occasions and, after the rise of the Nazi party, emigrated there in 1931. Threatened with Soviet persecution for his avant-garde beliefs, he changed his style from expressionist to Socialist-Realist and managed to survive when many friends did not. As the German invasion began to threaten Moscow, Soviet authorities deported him to Kazakhstan and put him to work in one of the labor gangs constructing a hydro-electric dam. There he died, destitute and malnourished, in 1942.
Herwarth Walden is third and last in this short account of Drewes's friends. Born Georg Levin, Walden took his surname from the famous book by Henry Thoreau. Best known as editor and publisher of the avant-garde magazine, Der Sturm, he was also a musician, composer, author, playwright, bookseller, and gallery owner. It was at his gallery that Drewes saw and purchased Wauer's painting. Like Vogeler, Walden joined the KPD and, in 1932, fled to Moscow to escape the Gestapo. Unlike Vogeler, he did not abandon his passion for avant-garde art and literature and in consequence was attacked as a fascistic purveyor of degenerate art. In 1941 he was arrested and soon after died in a Soviet prison.