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Born Oct. 22, 1906, in Arnsberg, Westphalia. German sculptor and graphic artist (GDR).
Cremer studied in Essen (with W. Lammert and others) from 1922 to 1925 and in Berlin with W. Gerstel at the Higher School of Fine and Applied Arts from 1929 to 1934. He worked in Vienna from 1946 to 1950. In 1950 he became a full member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the director of its workshop. Raised among Ruhr miners, Cremer used his realist art to serve the proletarian and antifascist movement. In 1929 he became a member of the Communist Party of Germany (since 1953, a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany).
During the fascist regime, Cremer did the drama-filled works The Grieving Women (also called The Gestapo; relief, 1936) and The Head of a Dying Soldier (self-portrait, 1935–37)—both are bronze and in the National Gallery in Berlin.
Cremer’s monuments to the victims of fascism in the Vienna central cemetery (limestone and bronze, 1947–48), in Buchenwald (bronze, 1952–58), and in Mauthausen (Austria; bronze, 1964–65) and his monument to the fighters of the Spanish International Brigades in Berlin (bronze, 1967–68) are marked by a heightened sense of tragedy, the affirmation of the unbending force of the fighter’s spirit, and profound truthful feelings. The group of fighters of the resistance in the Buchenwald monument has become a symbol of the courage of the antifascists.
Cremer, an outstanding portraitist, reveals the complex spiritual world of his contemporaries, including workers (F. Franik, terra-cotta, 1954, National Gallery, Berlin) and cultural figures (B. Brecht, bronze, 1957, Picture Gallery, Dresden; The Painter J. John, bronze, 1962). He also sculptures lyrical images (Young Love, bronze, 1961, Picture Gallery, Dresden). Working primarily in bronze, he creates precise, energetically modeled forms that are full of inner tension, dramatic contrasts, and flickering chiaroscuro.
Cremer’s lithographs are devoted to events of our time (the series Hungarian Visions, 1956) or are filled with images from classical and modern literature (the series Walpurgis Night, 1956). The artist has been awarded the National Prize of the GDR (1953, 1958) and is an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1967).
REFERENCESLiudeke, G. Tvorcheskii put’ nemetskogo skul’ptora. Moscow, 1960.
Poliakova, N. Frits Kremer. Moscow, 1972.
Schmidt, D. Fritz Cremer: Leben, Werke, Schriften, Meinungen. Dresden, 1972.
N. I. POLIAKOVA