Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Berlin Wall

Ronald Searle's drawings of the  Berlin Wall feature in a new exhibition on the Architecture of War at the Imperial War museum, London.  I believe Searle bore witness to both the construction of the wall and the destruction.

'Die Mauer 3 - Berlin (Berlin Wall) Near the Potsdamer Platz', 7 Oct 61

Within a short distance of the Potsdamer Platz, VOPOS patrol a double barrier of stone and barbed wire. Along this strip of no-mans-land an armoured car stands with guns at the ready. Stockpiles of teargas were at hand for the VOPOS.

'Die Mauer 2 - Berlin (Berlin Wall) East German Volkspolizei', 7 October 1961
Corner of Harzer Strasse. This VOPO guard, annoyed at being under observation, threatened to throw tear gas but was restrained by a West German policeman.

 'Die Mauer 6 - Berlin (Berlin Wall) Waving to relatives in the Eastern Zone' 8 October 1961

 The drawings were published as a reportage spread in Punch magazine

A more humourous observation of the Wall was later drawn for LOOK magazine
"The Rise of New Nationalism in Germany" December 14, 1965
Reprinted in 'From Frozen North to Filthy Lucre'. New York: Viking Press, 1964, Page 59
"Note that Searle has labelled Berlin twice, to make certain we can "read" the gag and perhaps also to show the two faces of Berlin, that of Communist propaganda and that of harsh reality. This was published roughly just after the closing of the New York World's Fair in October of 1965, so the idea of the American international fairground was still quite relevant. The Berlin Wall had been erected in 1961." - Stephen Nadler at Attempted Bloggery

'East Berlin' 1963


Searle depicts 'kontrolle' guards yelling in vain at Beethoven in the pre 1990 German capital Bonn.
(a town where the dogs bark with their tails- apparently!)

© Ronald Searle 1961, by kind permission of the artist and The Sayle Literary Agency

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