Jewish artist’s church mural is resurrected
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.”