Hackescher Markt, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Richard Grune (August 2, 1903 - November 26, 1983) was a German visual artist, anti-fascist, and Nazi concentration camp survivor.
Richard Grune was born on August 2, 1903, in Flensburg, Germany, as one of seven children of a blacksmith and his wife and grew up in a social democratic environment. Grune studied for five terms at the Kiel School of Applied Arts, later spending a year at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. At the Bauhaus, Grune studied under Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. In 1933, Grune moved to Berlin to work as a graphic designer. Following the Nazi rise to power later that year, Grune began contributing to anti-fascist publications that opposed the new government.
In February 1933, Richard Grune moved to Berlin, possibly because he thought he was safer as a homosexual in the big city. He had a studio apartment at Hackechen Markt, worked artistically, contributed drawings to Andreas Gayk's magazine Blick die Zeit and "lived his homosexuality confidently".
In December 1934, Grune was arrested as part of the Nazi Party's push to enforce Paragraph 175 which criminalized homosexual activity. In September 1936, he was convicted under the provision and sentenced to prison in Lichtenburg. Following his release, Grune was sent to the Sachsenhausen and later Flossenbürg concentration camps. In 1945, Grune escaped from Flossenbürg and returned to Kiel. Over the following years, his artistic practice focused on a series of lithographs titled "The Passion of Twentieth Century" that documented life and conditions in the concentration camps.
In 1948 he moved to Spain and lived near Barcelona for several years. The works produced there are mostly lost. In 1956 he returned to Germany and found work in Hamburg as a construction assistant. In his spare time, he gave drawing lessons to children of "guest workers". He himself drew only abstract "miniatures" reduced to a few lines, withdrew more and more from human contacts and fell ill. In 1983 he moved to a nursing home in Kiel, where his sister Dolly Cornelius took care of him until the end of his life.
Richard Grune died on November 26, 1983, in Hamburg, Germany.
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