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Whatever Happened to the Goebbels' Family?
woman artist, figurativ, painting, World War II, Goebbel,historical, Jewish extermination, propaganda, Nazi Soldier,abstract, lives of children,narrative, transitional, destiny, research, surface reflection, depth, colour, illusion, fragmented,suicide/murder, ideology
start quoteAnd in the course of my evolution I went from totally abstractly to painting totally figuratively and now in 2007 I'm back in the realm of abstraction.end quote-- Marie Lannoo (ARTSask 2008)

Prior to  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  Whatever Happened to the Goebbels’ Family?, Lannoo had been exploring her own personal history in a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of  figurativeUsed to describe an artwork which visually references, depicts, or describes the human body as a focus.  paintings called The Academy. In the painting Whatever Happened to the Goebbel’s Family, Lannoo was inspired by her reading and research to paint about a World War II historical event.  Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi soldier and the Minister of Propaganda and Enlightenment for Hitler in 1933-45 Germany.  Through the combination of his ambition and his expert oratory skills he was responsible for influencing the German population’s thinking towards Nazism and specifically the extermination of the Jewish population.  After Hitler was defeated and committed suicide, Goebbel’s and his wife killed themselves and their six children.

Lannoo, being a mother herself, was appalled to discover that the Goebbels’ made an  ideologicalTo reflect those body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, a group, a class, or a culture; examples are ethnocentrism and class consciousness. A set of doctrines, beliefs, or ideals that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system which attempts to put experience of the world into some order. The result, particularly in Marxist thought, is a distortion of reality to maintain authority over it. Various applications of this sense of the word can be found in feminism and other types of critical activity, often very politically oriented. Others use the term with less political load, meaning one type of symbolic system among others, like art, religion, and science. (Artlex.com)  choice for the lives of their children and she wanted to use their story in her work. The image depicted reflects a transitional period between exploring figurative  imageryAn image is a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images. (Artlex.com)  and returning to her  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  painting roots.

additional resources Her Move Towards Abstraction
Duration: 1:59 min
Size: 8744kb
Invisible Flames
Duration: 1:12 min
Size: 5073kb
Listen to the Artist Within You
Duration: 1:37 min
Size: 7128kb
Reflection and Colour in Her Current Work
Duration: 1:56 min
Size: 8581kb
The Story Behind the Painting Whatever Happened to the Goebbels Family?
Duration: 3:23 min
Size: 14587kb
Things to Think About
  • Some of Lannoo’s earlier work was based on her personal history, but this work is based on an historical event. Research the history of the Second World War, Hitler and the reasons behind the Goebbels' fate. How could a mother do what she did? Have you ever felt so strongly about an issue that you are compelled to do something that may not be acceptable to others? How does what you believe relate to your personal destiny?
  • Can you think of other artists who have used historical photographs to communicate present day concerns?
  • Do you think the parents had the right to do what they did? Discuss
Studio Activity
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  • Research an historical story where the characters or heroes involved stood up for their beliefs or were destroyed by their beliefs.

Your family

  • This image should capture the interest of a potential reader and encourage him or her to read the story.

Reflected colour

Marie Lannoo is interested in reflected colour.

  • Hang the painting and observe the reflected glow above the work.

Leduc, Marie.  ‘Marie Lannoo: See Nothing, See Everything.’  Artichoke, Vol 16, No 3, 2004.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning