• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5389

    20th Century British Art

    16 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 71

    Fred Kormis (1897-1986)

    In Stupor After Capture; Longing for Freedom; Fight Against Gloom; and Hope Lost

    Price Realised  


    Fred Kormis (1897-1986)
    In Stupor After Capture; Longing for Freedom; Fight Against Gloom; and Hope Lost
    each signed 'KORMIS' (on the base)
    polyester resin with bronze powder
    each 26¾ in. (68 cm), high (4)

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    Fritz Kormis (1887-1986) was born in Frankfurt and served in the Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War. He was held in a Siberian war camp from 1915 to 1920. His experiences there informed the memorial we see in Gladstone Park and the present work.
    When Hitler came to power, Nazi laws restricted the Jewish sculptor from working so he fled first to Holland and then to England in 1934, where he adopted the name Fred.
    After the extreme horrors of the concentration camps in the Second World War, he formed the idea in the 1960s of creating a memorial to prisoners of war and concentration camp victims to be erected in central London.
    Although Kormis had wanted the figures to have an architectural setting within a building that had been bombed during the Second World War the figures were finally installed in Gladstone Park in Brent, North London.
    At the unveiling ceremony in 1971, Kormis described the sequence of figures. He said: "They are a five-chapter novel, each chapter describing a successive state of mind of internment: In Stupor After Capture; Longing For Freedom; Fight Against Gloom; Hope Lost; and Hope Again."
    The present work is one of two known casts where Kormis cast four figures from the 'five-chapter novel' omitting Hope Again. The other cast is housed in the Imperial War Museum Collection.

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