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Karl May WWI German Art Medal

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Karl May
After the Battle (1915)
Nach der Schlacht
Cast Bronze, Uniface Medal, 68mm, 76.80g. RRR


Exhausted, Death sits in contemplation upon a devastating, modern weapon of war.


A quintessential Karl May WWI piece exhibiting 'death' as the main feature of the war.



so die Legende, sitz der Tod auf einem Geschütz. Der Tod, und zwar der Tod durch die moderne Waffentechnik, das ist dabei die Idee und das Bild, das mit Kampf und Schlacht verbunden wird. Jede chauvinistische Heldentod-Verklärung liegt dem Medailleur hier fern. Karl May hat eine ganze Reihe solcher Medaillen geschaffen, die den Gedanken des Todes als dem Hauptmerkmal des Krieges eindrucksvoll ins Bild setzen.


Das motiv des Todes auf der Kanone ist vielleicht von einer ikonographisch allerdings abweichenden Darstellung dieses Sujets auf einer bereits vor dem Krieg geschaffenen Medaille von Ludwig Gies inspiriert worden.


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Yes, I have posted Ludwig Gies medals from the same time period before.


I've never seen Karl May's works offered before and was able to pick up the two rarest pieces a month or so ago out of Germany. I could share the other May piece if you are interested.


My Ludwig Gies WWI collection now numbers 33 pieces which is probably double what I had back when I was posting. I can show everyone the new stuff if there is interest too.


All of this material is as rare as hens teeth and you'd usually need to visit a museum in Germany to even see any of them.

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Here's the other May piece I got in the same auction.




The Last Shot Cast Bronze/Uniface, 84mm X 156mm,196.28g RRRR


There is absolutely nothing written about this medallion. Not even any mention from German museums whom I believe I was bidding against as the prices for these two medals was 3X any of the other May WWI material.


The size of this cannon may be alluding to the use of "Big Bertha" which was designed by Krup.

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I haven't a clue as to his political bent. There isn't much written about him. He was a Munich Schooler along with Gies, Zadikow, and others. All Germans were taken aback when the war didn't 'end by Christmas' in 1914. Reports of the amount of death and destruction painted the situation as grim.


Here is a short read on the general overview of the artists and their work from the German WWI experience. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/10839673/Cast-iron-insights-into-war-as-the-enemy-saw-it.html

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