Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Fidus in Die Schönheit

I recently acquired a run of the pre-ww1 volumes of a German magazine called Die Schönheit simply, 'Beauty'. It was a haven for Nacktkultur, the early twentieth century German movement which, in large degree was the beginning of naturism and a starting point also for numerous other twentieth century health and wellbeing movements. The magazine was produced by a publishing house of the same name whose other publications were all related to the burgeoning naturist movement. The magazine is packed full of the work of symbolist artists as illustrations and one that stands out among them is Fidus, that is, Hugo Höppener (1868–1948) who gained his nickname, meaning 'faithful' because he went to prison for a brief spell following a conviction for public nudity. He spent his early life in communes and his spiritual beliefs, he was a Theosophist, led him to eventually embrace Nazi ideology. Having said that, the Nazis didn't embrace him back and they seized and banned his work. These images all come from just one volume of Die Schönheit, giving an idea of how prolific he was. He was also illustrating for Jugend and for the early gay magazine Der Eigene at the time.

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