Pre-War German Art Excites Bidders

9th April 2009

A previously unseen archive of artwork from one of Germany's premier pre-war anti-Nazi magazines, has been sold at Woolley and Wallis.

Found in a trunk in the attic of a house in London, the collection of artwork from Ulk magazine dated from between 1927 and 1933 and represented both the decadence of bohemian society and also the darker side of social unrest and the imminent war.

They were all by Jewish artist Dodo Burgner, née Wolff, who was forced to flee Germany in the 1930s following the closure of Ulk magazine by the Nazis. She made for England with her lawyer husband, eventually settling in North London.

Many of the drawings and watercolours were fashion plates, evoking the last languid days of 1930s opulence, before wartime Germany became a very different place.

The estimates on the twenty lots of artwork were somewhat speculative, as there are no records of Dodo's work having been previously sold at auction. A huge amount of interest was generated, however, and the collection totalled some £14,000 on the day.

One of the drawings for a front cover of Ulk magazine is understood to feature the celebrated singer and entertainer Josephine Baker, who Dodo is believed to have met at around this time. This piece proved one of the most popular, selling for a hammer price of £2,800.

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