|Acquisition Number: 87.2
Medium: India ink on paper
Size: 17" x 11 1/4"
Credit: gift of the children of Leander P. Zwick, Jr.
The scion of an old-established Transylvania Saxon family, Friedrich von Bömches was born in Brasov at a time when Transylvania was still part of Austria-Hungary. In 1938, he was drafted in the Romanian Army, and marched up to Stalingrad. Von Bömches was de-mobbed in 1945 from the Romanian Army, but as a German he was deported to the Soviet Union by occupying forces shortly after, and was forced to work in Ukrainian quarries until 1950.
In 1974 von Bömches relocated to the Federal Republic of Germany and four years later finally found with the assistance of a local factory owner, a new home at Wiehl, a small town in North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, the artist lived together with his wife Erna and worked until his death in 2010, though limited by a severe heart surgery performed in 2001.
Von Bömches was successful in sublimating his bitter experiences with war and captivity. He took up his artistic transformation using the medium of photography; during the Stalingrad campaign von Bömches created a lot of photographs. He was not allowed to engage in this art form throughout his captivity and von Bömches compensated by resorting to drawing. A large portion of his post-release works deal with the tragedy of human existence, death, hunger and persecution.
He created between 1950 and 1974 more than fifteen thousand works. None of them were taken out of Romania. The number of his creations in Germany probably reaches a similar number.