Friday, October 20, 2017

Edwin Scharff

Edwin Scharff (1887 –1955) was a German sculptor.
Scharff attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich and studied painting at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. He lived in Paris between 1912 and 1913, where he was influenced by the work of Aristide Maillol and Auguste Rodin. After serving in the German army during World War One, where he was badly wounded, he became a professor of sculpture at the Vereinigte Staatsschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst, Berlin (1923). He was removed by the Nazis in 1933, after which he found a position at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1934–1937).
In 1928 he won a bronze medal in the art competitions of the Olympic Games for his "Médaille pour les Jeux Olympiques" ("Olympic medals"). For the Reich's Exhibition of 1937 in Düsseldorf he produced two large equestrian statues for the fair's portals, which resulted in Scharff being classified as a degenerate artist. 
He continued to work in secret during World War Two, and after the war he became a professor at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Anneliese Uhlig

Anneliese Uhlig (1918 –2017) was a German-born film actress.
Uhlig made her film debut in 1937, and went on to appear in a number of leading roles in Germany cinema during the Nazi era. She was also one of a number of foreign figures to appear in Italian films during that period.
After the war she married an American, lived in the United States and in South East Asia, and worked as a journalist and lecturer.
Uhlig died in June 2017 at the age of 98.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stolpersteine in Gladbeck

A Stolperstein (from German, literally "stumbling stone", metaphorically a "stumbling block" or a stone to "stumble upon", plural Stolpersteine) is a cobblestone-size concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. 
The Stolperstein art project was initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, and is still ongoing. It aims at commemorating individual persons at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror, euthanasia, eugenics, was deported to a concentration or extermination camp, or escaped persecution by emigration or suicide.
As of 31 January 2017, over 56,000 Stolpersteine have been laid in 22 European countries, making the Stolperstein project the world's largest decentralized memorial.
Boinero Peter Jarosch cycles around 4000 kilometers a year in the city of Gladbeck and surroundings. 
Jarosch received the town plaque, especially because of his services to the regular care of the "Stolpersteine" in the city area, reminding the fate of the Nazis persecuted and murdered Gladbeckers.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Günter Willumeit

Günter Willumeit (1941 - 2013) was a German humorist, parodist, entertainer and dentist.
At the end of the war, in 1945, he fled to Holstein (Germany) with his parents and sister as refugees from East Prussia.
He studied dentistry and in his spare time he performed as an entertainer in pubs, and had much success with his jokes and parodies. His source of inspiration: the village environment in which he had grown up.
His best known performance, or alter ego, was farmer/tractor driver Herr Piepenbrink.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bernard Heiliger

Bernhard Heiliger (1915  - 1995, Berlin) was a German artist. He was considered "West Germany's foremost sculptor", and his large public artworks are a prominent presence in many German cities, especially Berlin.
He studied under Arno Breker. In 1941 he was drafted into the army and served as a radio operator on the Eastern Front for two years, before he received an exemption from military service through the intervention of Breker. Despite this he was drafted again in 1944, after which he fled as a deserter through northern Germany.
Heiliger's design for the Memorial to Unknown Political Prisoners (1953) brought him his first international recognition, earning him the Prize of the National Government and a prize from the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Heiliger participated in several prominent international exhibits, such as the documenta I & II in Kassel (1955 and 1959) and the Venice Biennale (1956), and by commissions such as sculptures for the German pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. In 1956 he became a member of the Berlin Academy of Art.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


A few days ago I watched the beautiful documentary Kedi (Turkish for Cats), a documentary about the thousands of scrappy wild cats that prowl Istanbul with insouciance.
Not just an entertaining insight into a magnificent city (cherishing good memories of many visits), I found the film deeply humane. And better still, it portrayed a Turkish boinero (and there are not many around).
And for the cat loving boineros among you: check out the 'Cat Berets' at the One-Offs page.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hildegard Knef

Hildegard Frieda Albertine Knef (1925 –2002) was a German actress, singer and writer. She was billed in some English language films as Hildegard Neff or Hildegarde Neff.
Knef began studying acting at the age of 14, in 1940 and at 15 became an apprentice animator with Universum Film AG. After she had a successful screen test, she went to the State Film School at Babelsberg, Berlin, where she studied acting, ballet and elocution. Hitler's propaganda minister Josef Goebbels wrote to her and asked to meet her, but Knef's friends wanted her to stay away from him.
Knef appeared in several films before the fall of the Third Reich, but most were released only afterward. During the Battle of Berlin, Knef dressed as a soldier in order to stay with her lover Ewald von Demandowsky, and joined him in the defence of Schmargendorf. The Soviets captured her and sent her to a prison camp.
Her reputation in the U.S. was hurt because of her nude scenes in the German film Die Sünderin (1950) and because at the age of 19 she fell in love with a Nazi.
During her career, she performed in over 50 films. Nineteen of her films were produced in different countries other than Germany; the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria and Spain.
Knef died in Berlin where she moved after German reunification. The Associated Press reported that she died of a lung infection at the age of 76. Knef smoked heavily for most of her life and suffered from emphysema.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wolf Vostell

Wolf Vostell (1932 –1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art and pioneer of Happening and Fluxus. Techniques such as blurring and Dé-coll/age are characteristic of his work, as is embedding objects in concrete and the use of television sets in his works.
His first Happening, Theater is in the Street, took place in Paris in 1958, and incorporated auto parts and a TV. In 1958, he took part in the first European Happening in Paris and he produced his first objects with television sets and car parts.
Wolf Vostell was the first artist in art history to integrate a television set into a work of art. Vostell’s sculptures made from cars and concrete are to be found in Cologne Ruhender Verkehr (Stationary traffic) from 1969, in Berlin Zwei Beton-Cadillacs in Form der nackten Maja (Concrete Cadillacs) from 1987 as well as VOAEX (Viaje de (H)ormigón por la Alta Extremadura) from 1976 in the Museo Vostell Malpartida in Malpartida de Cáceres, Spain and Concrete Traffic from 1970 in Chicago.
Vostell also gained recognition for his drawings and objects, such as images of American B-52 bombers, published under the rubric "capitalist realism" and as a result of his inclusion of television sets with his paintings. Nam June Paik and Vostell were both participants in the Fluxus movement and the work of both artists involved a critique of the fetishization of television and the culture of consumption.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


October calls for Oktoberfest; a good cause to celebrate German Baskenmütze. Reduced in price and available in a variety of models in black and navy. 
Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.
Locally, it is often called the Wiesn, after the colloquial name for the fairgrounds, Theresa's Fields (Theresienwiese). The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the Middle Ages. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.
During the event, large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed: during the 16-day festival in 2013, for example, 7.7 million litres were served.
Over the next few weeks, posts from and about Germany on The Beret Project.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Maréchal Pétain speaks to Peasants in Pau, 1941

These scans come from the official magazine published in honor of Marshall Pétain's visit to Pau (the capital of Béarn) in April, 1941.
The Marshall, hero of WWI and leader of the Nazi collaborative Vichy government during WWII, spoke to Béarnaise peasants and visited a livestock show.
After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Pétain died in 1951.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Yes, gone... But only for a few days during these (southern hemisphere) spring school holidays.
Back in Wellington in 5 days and all orders placed in the meantime will be posted immediately after my return.
And while away, a daily special beret picture every day.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Shepherd from Béarn

Auguste Casassus is a traditional shepherd in the Vallée d'Ossau (Béarn) and during the winter in the Gers district. 
This beautiful portrait shows what life is like for a shepherd during the summer months in the high Pyrenees. M Casussus was 78 years old at the time of filming. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Seán Hemingway

Seán Hemingway never knew his grandfather Ernest, but has gotten to know him by spending time with his original manuscripts. In 2004, after editing two collections of Ernest Hemingway's short-form writing, Seán took on the project of restoring A Moveable Feast, the great writer's memoir of his life in Paris during the 1920s, and worked on it during nights and weekends for five years while keeping his day job as curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Stilts in Gascony

In the wastes of Gascony stilt walking was formerly a means of locomotion adapted to the nature of the country. The waste lands were then great level plains covered with stunted bushes and dry heath. Moreover, on account of the permeability of the subsoil, all the declivities were transformed into marshes after the slightest fall of rain.
  There were no roads of any kind, and the population, relying upon sheep raising for a living, was much scattered. It was evidently in order to be able to move around under these very peculiar conditions that the shepherds devised and adopted stilts....
The shepherds of Landes, accustomed from their childhood to this sort of exercise, acquire an extraordinary freedom and skill therein. The tchanguè knows very well how to preserve his equilibrium; he walks with great strides, stands upright, runs with agility, or executes a few feats of true acrobatism, such as picking up a pebble from the ground, plucking a flower, simulating a fall and quickly rising, running on one foot, etc.