The Propaganda Art of Felix Albrecht

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Felix Albrecht is another of these great German graphic artists from the war period whose information on the Internet is very sparse, not to say very difficult to find. Thanks to the work of web sites such as Galleria d’Arte Thule we can get a sketchy glimpse of what the artist’s career was like. Most of the information provided in this biography comes from this particular source. Felix Albrecht was a man who enjoyed a very successful professional life during the last years prior to the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and, of course, during the years the political entity existed as well. Suffice to say that he received a lot of promotions during this period, especially during the 1930s. Though after WWII (judging by the information I have gathered) his career faded away completely, so much so that he never truly recovered, as it was the case with many other German artists who worked actively for the Reich. For his biography here I had to semi-translate most of the information from the original source to make it a bit more intelligible. Bear in mind that there might be some inaccuracies.

Biography

Felix Albrecht was born in Darmstadt in July 6, 1900. He was the son of a high school assistant. In 1906 he attended the Volksschule Mittweida in Saxony and then the grammar school in Chemnitz. He served at the Military during the First World War as a volunteer runner in 1917 and 1918, and was discharged in Vienna in 1919 with the rank of sergeant. In 1921 he got his first job as a designer in the automobile factory Moll AG. Oberlichtenau. He married some time later in 1922. In March 5th of the same year he founded the Atelier Albrecht (Albrecht Studio) with the piano maker Hans Seidel. Many of Felix Albrecht’s illustrations are signed with the ‘Atelier Albrecht’ moniker. The association lasted up to January 1, 1924; that was the year in which Albrecht became an engineer. By 1925 he joined the DNVP (German National People’s Party, National-Conservative Party). It was during that period (1925-1927) when he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, finally becoming a graphic artist and an illustrator.

In May 27, 1927 he joined the NSDAP (with card number 62499). Felix Albrecht became the author of many famous campaign posters for the party commissioned by Dr. Goebbels himself. By the beginning of 1930 Albrecht is nominated honour voluntary Sturmführer of the SS. In June 12, 1931 he was promoted SS-Sturmführer and collaborator of the Reichspropagandaleitung of the NSDAP and RFSS as he continued with a very prolific production of posters, postcards and book illustrations including the ubiquitous Deutschland Erwacht – Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP by Wilfrid Bade and Heinrich Hoffmann. In 1933 Albrecht became official propagandist for the political bureau of the NSDAP. Shortly by that time he was promoted SS-Obersturmführer. In the same year he was appointed member of the House of Literature of the Reichsschrifttumskammer for cinematography.

In 1934 he became a consultant and contributor to the Hauptamt für Volkswohlfahrt of the NSDAP. So much was his production of propaganda items that in his studio at 36 Maybachufer in Berlin he had at his disposal up to twelve graphic designers. In September 9, 1934 Albrecht was promoted SS-Hauptsturmführer. He married for the second time on June 7, 1935 to Erna Friedl, a Berliner who was 18 years younger than Albrecht. With Erna he had a son (Karl) who was born on June 6, 1936. In that same year the old Ateleir Albrecht is incorporated into the Leadership Corps. On July 9, 1944 Albrecht was appointed SS-Hauptsturmführer in the reserve. On November 9, 1944 Albrecht was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer of the Waffen-SS in Kraftfahrtechnische Lehranstalt SS (SS-KRL) of Vienna-Schönbrunn. In January 1945, he drew the two sketches for Die Welt stamps.

In late March 1945 he left for Vienna with his family. In May 1945 Albrecht is captured by the Russians and held captive until 1949. Apparently during his captivity the Russian Army used him as a painter to illustrate their own successes in the war’s outcome. By August 1949, he finally managed to return to Berlin with his family.

After the war Albrecht tried to resume, with great difficulties, his career as graphic designer and illustrator. Gone were the days in which he had been one of the most promoted graphic artists in the Reich. So precarious was his financial situation that in 1958 the artist sold some of his private drawings to auction houses, claiming that they were original office work produced in Vienna in 1945 for the printing of stamps. But by 1964 an Attorney General in Berlin accused Albrecht of fraud, stating that all those originals had been sold prior to the deal. As a result Albrecht got a 500 marks fine for administrative offenses.

The last book known featuring Felix Albrecht’s art was Ärmelstreifen: Afrikakorps Burkhard Hering published in 1957. Felix Albrecht died on June 27, 1980 in Schöneberg, Berlin.

Source: The Propaganda Art of Felix Albrecht

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Published in: on February 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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