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Fidus (1868–1948)

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A German Artist from Theosophy to Nazism

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The German painter Hugo Höppener (1868–1948) received the nickname “Fidus” from self-styled prophet Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851–1913), who regarded him as his most trusted disciple. Later, Fidus abandoned Diefenbach for Theosophy, and remained a Theosophist to the end of his days. As he emerged as an extremely popular Art Deco artist and illustrator, he sided with the Adyar Theosophical Society against the schism of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). After World War I, however, he regarded Nazism as the only hope for Germany, joined the Nazi Party in 1932, and did not protest the Nazi ban of Theosophy in 1937. Esotericism remained a dominant theme of his art, and he never became a regime artist, although his association with Nazism made him an embarrassment for both Theosophists and art critics, and his important role in the history of German art was acknowledged only recently.

Affiliations: 1: CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions)


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