The Temple Without a Door,

watercolor on paper and cardboard,

1895 and 1901


Fidus (Luebeck 1868-1948 Woltersdorf bei Berlin), also known as Hugo Hoeppener

"Der Tempel ohne Thor (The Temple Without a Door)"

1895 and 1901

pencil and watercolor on paper laid on stiff cardboard

60,3 x 83,3 cm (unframed); 35 1/4 x 43 3/4 inches (including frame)

signed and dated lower left: "Fidus. 1895 und 1901"

titled at upper margin: "Der Tempel Ohne Thor [sic]" 

inscribed at lower margin: "Dir o weinende Seele öffne sich dieses Gitter von eisernen Palmen" ["For you, O weeping soul, open this lattice of iron palm trees"]  

The present drawing was first developed in 1895 as a pure pencil drawing; in 1901, Fidus completely reworked the composition in watercolor.


Galerie Michael Hasenclever, München, 1973

Sammlung Joachim Tellkamp, Süddeutschland.

Exhibition History:

Simbolismo & Art Nouveau, Galleria del Levante, Milan and Munich, 1969-1970.

Symbolists 1860-1925, Piccadilly Gallery, London, 1970

Symbolists 1860-1925, Spencer A. Samuels, New York, 1970

Symbolists 1860-1925, The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, England,  1970

Symbolismus, Galerie Michael Hasenclever, Munich, 1973

Fidus. Ein Künstler im Dienste der Lebensform, Villa Stuck München und Berlinische Galerie, 1978, außer Katalog (auf der Rahmenrückwand mit dem Speditionsetikett).

Künstler und Propheten. Eine geheime Geschichte der Moderne 1872-1872, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, 2015.

Arte e Magia: Il Fascino dell'Esoterismo in Europa, Palazzo Roverella, Rovigo, Italy, 2018-2019.


Publication History:

Wilhelm Spohr: Fidus, Minden 1902, S. 101 mit Abb.

Simbolismo & Art Nouveau, Galleria del Levante, Milan and Munich, 1969-1970, illustrated in catalogue

Symbolists 1860-1925, Piccadilly Gallery, London, 1970, cat. no. 26 with illustration

Symbolists 1860-1925Spencer A. Samuels, New York, 1970, cat. no. 58 with illustration

Philippe Jullian, Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s (London: Pall Mall Press, 1971) (New York and Washington: Praeger, 1971) (London: Phaidon, 1974) (translation from the French by Robert Baldick), pg. 205, ill. 114 (with the title "Orante," meaning figure praying with upraised arms).

Janos Frecot, Johann Friedrich Geist, Diethard Kerbs: Fidus. Zur ästhetischen Praxis bürgerlicher Fluchtbewegungen, München 1972, S. 322 und 334.

Rainer Y.: Fidus. Der Tempelkünstler, Göppingen 1985, S. 92.

Michael Buhrs, ed., Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913) Lieber sterben, als meine Ideale verleugnen! (Munich: Museum Villa Stuck and Edition Minerva, 2009), pg. 173, ill. 144.

Künstler und Propheten. Eine geheime Geschichte der Moderne 1872-1972. Frankfurt am Main, Schirn Kunsthalle 2015, Kat. Nr. 64 mit Abb. S. 76.

Francesco Parisi, ed., Arte e Magia: Il Fascino dell'Esoterismo in Europa (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2018), cat. nr. 26, pg. 158 (ill.) and 289.


"The world of Stefan George is pictured for us here in this work by an artist who was very popular in Germany because of his equivocal subjects." Jullian (1971) at pg. 205.

"A partire dal 1892 Fidus elaborò una serie di disegni su un tema all'epoca molto popolare a seguito della moda wagneriana: il tempio.  La silloge - costituita dal tempio della terra, dal tempio della Teosofia, dal tempio del nudismo, dal tempio della danza, dal tempio del fuoco e dal tempio della musica - non era realizzata assecondando principi costruttivi e schemi architettonici, si trattava piuttosto di disegni prospettici che illustravano una vista tridimensionale cui spesso l'artista aggiungeva ppersonaggi simbolici o scorci di paesaggio.  Il disegno in esame rivela, come del resto tutta l'opera di Fidus, l'arcaica venerazione dell'artista per la Natura e la osidetta Madre Terra."  Enrico Scarpis.  Parisi (2018) at pg. 289.

English translation:

"Starting from 1892 Fidus elaborated a series of drawings on a very popular theme at the time following the Wagnerian fashion: the temple. The collection - consisting of the temple of the earth, the temple of Theosophy, the temple of nudism, the temple of dance, the temple of fire and the temple of music - was not made according to construction principles and architectural schemes, it was rather perspective drawings which illustrated a three-dimensional view to which the artist often added symbolic characters or landscape glimpses. The drawing in question reveals, like all the work of Fidus, the artist's archaic veneration for Nature and the so-called Mother Earth."  Enrico Scarpis.  Parisi (2018) at pg. 289.


Jack Daulton
The Daulton Collection
Los Altos Hills, California