Jewish artist’s church mu­ral is res­ur­rected

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LIANNE KOLIRIN

A LONG-FOR­GOT­TEN mu­ral by a Jewish artist who fled the Nazis has been re­dis­cov­ered and re­stored.

The na­tiv­ity scene mu­ral by Hans Feibusch was dis­cov­ered by The Hyde Group hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion in a for­mer church in Brighton.

When builders be­gan con­vert­ing St Wil­frid’s into new so­cial hous­ing in 2015 they dis­cov­ered the huge mu­ral mea­sur­ing over 46 square me­tres and cov­er­ing three walls in the original church vestibule.

It was in poor con­di­tion with ex­ten­sive wa­ter dam­age to the paint­work and plas­ter.

The group then raised £28,000 to pay for restora­tion work.

Feibusch was born in Frankfurt in 1898.

He stud­ied in Mu­nich,

Ber­lin, Italy and Paris be­fore be­com­ing an ac­tive mem­ber of sev­eral prom­i­nent artists’ ex­hibit­ing so­ci­eties in Ger­many in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1930, he was awarded the Ger­man Grand State Prize for Painters by the Prus­sian Academy of Arts in Ber­lin but, Hans Feibusch and the re­stored mu­ral

with the rise to power of the Nazis, his sta­tus as a Jewish artist led to his work be­ing out­lawed.

He fled to Bri­tain in 1933 and be­came a UK cit­i­zen in 1938, just a year af­ter his work was pub­licly de­nounced by the Nazis at the En­tartete Kunst (“De­gen­er­ate Art”) ex­hi­bi­tion in Mu­nich.

Feibusch be­came widely known as a church mu­ral­ist and fig­ure sculp­tor. He con­verted to Chris­tian­ity but re­turned to Ju­daism to­wards the end of his life.

The mu­ral will be for­mally un­veiled next week by au­thor Ali­son Macleod, whose novel Un­ex­ploded — longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 – was in­spired by Feibusch’s life. She said: “Like Hans Feibusch, my char­ac­ter Otto is com­mis­sioned by Bishop Ge­orge Bell of Chich­ester to cre­ate a mu­ral for St Wil­frid’s Church in Brighton.”

The Hyde Group is now seek­ing to re­cruit a his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety or lo­cal art group to help fa­cil­i­tate pub­lic ac­cess to the mu­ral. CEO Tracy Al­li­son said: “It’s a spe­cial work of art and we have no doubt the peo­ple of Brighton, and all art lovers, will ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

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