• Exhibition : Sigismund’s watch: a tiny catastrophe

        The Freud Museum  London

        An exhibition of paintings and images on paper by Barbara Loftus

        Curated by Monica Bohm-Duchen

        5th October – 13th November 2011

        The Freud Museum presents Barbara Loftus’s investigation into the recollections of her mother Hildegard, who fled Germany as a Jewish refugee in 1939. Her cycle of works examines the domestic impact of German hyperinflation on an assimilated Jewish family at a time when a climate of fear, suspicion and destabilization in the collective German psyche dealt a fatal blow to the fragile concept of the German-Jewish symbiosis. The historic equation of the Jew and money re-emerged as the scapegoat for the failing mark and the brutalising effect of hyperinflation which undermined the Weimar Republic and laid the foundations for the Third Reich and the rise of Hitler.

        Sigismund’s watch narrates a ‘primal scene’ from the early 1920s, recollected by Hildegard when, as a small child, she witnessed, unseen by her parents, a bitter marital row. The cause was her father, Sigismund’s bankruptcy, which inflicted sudden impoverishment on their comfortable bourgeois way of life. She saw her mother tear her father’s gold pocket watch from his waistcoat pocket, stamp on it and smash it.

        The ruined watch became a symbol for the chaos into which Hildegard’s family and many other Germans were plunged overnight. The story is told through a cycle of paintings and images on paper, contextualised by historical material and quotations from the Weimar period.

        Venue details

        20 Maresfield Gardens
        NW3 5SX

        020 7435 2002

        opening hours:  Wednesday-Sunday, 12-5pm

        Admission: Adults £6.00; Senior citizens £4.50; Concessions £3.00, Children under 12 free

        Transport: Finchley Road tube and Frognal overground, Buses13,82 and 113