Portrait of Rolf Keller, by Rudolf Kraus


A portrait showing Rolf Keller, drawing. This drawing was made by Rudolf Kraus, another artist living in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz) at the time. The drawing (pen and (probably) black chalk, ca. 14.3 cm x 21.5 cm), signed “Rudolf Kraus, Nov. 22nd, 1956) used to be hanging in my parents living room, so I grew up seeing it. This is the form my grandfather was present most of the time. It is now hanging in my living room.

A caricature made by Herbert Reuter, yet another artist, on January 4th 1962, shows Rudolf (“Rudi”) Kraus, among others. Here is a clipping of it showing Rudolf Kraus (showing this caricature completely needs more preparation to explain the context, so I am not going to do that today):


Rudolf Kraus is mainly known for works in public places. After the end of the German Democratic Republic, many of these, often in the style of socialist realism, were not thought to be worth keeping and where destroyed during building projects. Looking at the pictures in the Wikipedia article (linked to the name above), I tend to agree. However, the low artistic quality was obviously not due to missing ability on the side of the artist, as the drawing above is of high quality and is attesting the abilities of the artist. Rather the bad taste and ideological thinking of the people in the awarding authorities seems to be responsible. I don’t know how he was thinking about the political system, maybe he simply had no choice.

But I suspect that there must be quite some drawings or other private works of this artist, mostly probably in private collections, so his real oeuvre remains to be discovered.