Kurt Lorein Victor Peiser – Berlin Boulevard 1931


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Etching with wide margins on thick buff paper. Signed with initials VP and dated 31 in the plate (lower right), further inscribed, in ink, 5 cm below the image: Victor Peiser 31 – followed by an indistinct name (surname beginning ‘C’). Hinged to mount using acid free board and framed.

Image: 9 1/8 x 6 ¾ in. (23.3 x 17 cm.)
Frame: 21 1/8 x 16 1/8 in. (53.7 x 40.8 cm.)

The etching is slightly ambiguous in that it is signed ‘VP’ 31, in the plate, further inscribed ‘Victor Peiser’ by hand, whereas normally he would sign, ‘K Peiser’. Full name: Kurt Lorein, Victor, Peiser. It may have been the artist was protecting his identity for fear of reprisals.

It is not clear who the other signature is or what connection they had with the print.


This interesting etching depicts demonic monsters happily dancing before three men of Jewish descent. One monster is holding the emblem of an eagle, ‘symbol of the Nazi Party’.

It seems likely that the scene is recording the events of September 12, 1931, when Nazi thugs – by one account more than 1000 of them – harassed and physically attacked people suspected of being Jews as they walked on a central Berlin boulevard. Although no one was killed, the riot was significant for being one of the first such public displays of violent anti-Semitism in a country that still purported to be democratic. The event took place nearly a year and a half before Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic was replaced by the Third Reich.


Peiser, Kurt Lorein Victor (1887-1962)

Kurt Peiser was an Antwerp painter of German origin. He trained at the Academy of Antwerp and is said to have had great social and humanitarian compassion. He was a draughtsman, colourist, lithographer, and etcher. His style is realistic with touches of impressionism, expressionism, and symbolism. Peiser was a pupil of Gerard Jacobs. Among his pupils were Rudolf Schönberg, Hermann Kosak and Jacob de Vries. As well as painting marines and the lives of the fishermen in and around the harbour he was also drawn to areas of poverty and misery, including brothels, and drunks. In marines he painted the sailor’s life he himself lead for some ten years. On June 4, 1914, the artist was taken into the Antwerp court after the removal of paintings from an exhibition and was prosecuted for an offence against indecency and morality. He has a very extensive body of graphic work and paintings and dedicated a book of etchings to the harbour of Antwerp. Kurt Peiser was a member of La Gravure Originale Belge. In 1929 the illustrious and prominent Galerie Georges Giroux opened an important retrospective exhibition of his work. The exhibition was an important recognition because the Galerie Georges Giroux was one of the top leading galleries in Brussels in the first half of the 20th century. Kandinski, Henri Evenepoel as well as the brothers Jespers had exhibitions there in the 1910s, followed in the 1920s by James Ensor, Georges Minne, Gustave De Smet and others. The Jakob Smits Museum (in Mol) dedicated an exhibition to Kurt Peiser in 2007 under the title of “Jewish and Red”. At this occasion a monograph was published, compiled by Ivo Verheyen of the the Friends of the Jakob Smits Museum.