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LeopoldLeopold Hafner

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On 4 November, the gifted Bohemian Forest sculptor Leopold Hafner died shortly after his 85th birthday in Pasau. The Heimatkreis Bischofteinitz owes him valuable works of art.

Leopold Hafner was born on October 23, 1930 in Wallern in the later district of Prachatitz. In his Sudeten German homeland, he was just able to complete his schooling. After being expelled in 1946, he began his training with Ludwig Pinsker in Perlesreut in Lower Bavaria. He passed the journeyman's examination in 1951 at the State Technical College in Zwiesel.

From 1951 to 1959 he studied under Professor Josef Henselmann at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. When portraying was announced in the second semester, Henselmann asked the young students to model each other. Hafner would have liked to choose someone other than his colleague Johannes R. Potzier, but Potzier was left over because nobody wanted to portrait him for his glasses. To anyone, this task - man with glasses - seemed too difficult. And so Hafner went with a mixture of obedience and reduced joy He approaching the task assigned to him. Henselmann's enthusiasm for the portrayal of the spectacle-wearing Potzler that emerged under the not quite happy conditions outlined above, opened the way for the 22-year-old student to the professor's private studio and thus to collaborating on today's high altar of the Passauer Domes, a powerful group of figures Silver studded swamp poplar wood, in the middle of which the stoning of St. Stephanus stands. In 1953 he led the erection of the high altar. 


After winning the nationwide competition to redesign a bust of Gregor Mendel, the "father of genetics" working in the Brno Augustinian monastery, he was surprised by the Unveiling at the Walhalla memorial in Donaustauf in Upper Palatinate not a few on the striking similarity between Gregor Mendel and present at the inauguration Vienna Augustinian priest Mendel. Again, it was a man with glasses who was not only sculpturally well hit, but whose facial features betrayed something of his character and inherent nature.

Since graduating, Haffner worked as a freelance sculptor, initially in Vornbach am Inn. In 1967 he became a guest teacher at the art branch of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Since 1969 he had his residence with studio in Aicha in front of the forest.

In addition to profane works of art, Hafner has designed numerous church rooms in German-speaking countries and abroad and has received several awards for his work: the cultural award of the city of Passau for the people of Šumava,

The Kulturpreis of the Sudetendeutschen Landsmannschaft, 1999 the Culture Award of the Landkreis Passau and 2002 the Kulturpreis of the Kulturkreis Freyung-Grafenau. In 1982, the Sudeten German Academy of Sciences and Arts appointed him a full member of the arts and arts class. In addition, he designed and donated the 2003

Art Prize for the German-Czech Understanding of the Adalbert-Stifter-Verein in Munich. Leopold Hafner owes his hometown of Bischofteinitz a whole series of works of art donated to the parish of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the godfather Furth im Wald. Here is a chronology:

• 1983. To commemorate the expulsion 1945/46 of more than 700 000 Sudeten Germans, who were stranded in the transit camp Furth in the forest, the Heimatkreis Bischofteinitz hands over a milestone created by Leopold Haffner on the occasion of his meeting on the bridge of the railway line Taus -Furth Mileage to important places in the> Cheb. This milestone crowns the figure of St. John of Nepomuk, the bridge saint of Germans and Czechs. On June 17, 1983, Pastor Sebastian Werner solemnly inaugurates this monument.

• 1986. In the course of the general refurbishment of the bishops, the pilgrimage church Zum Herrgott auf der Rast, the Kreuzkirche in Furth im Wald, from 1985 to 1987, founded in 1986 a new altar table created by Hafner. He shows the apocalyptic lamb, which with a crown of thorns decorates the marble-clad altarpiece. 

clasped. This altar was bricked with bricks from the former border crossing camp behind the station. The stands for the sacrificial lights are also by Leopold Hafner.


Modern Manuscript for the Sacred Art  


The sculptor Leopold Hafner turns 85 on Friday - Over 20 churches in the region designed - Mendel bust in the Walhalla

 Can look back on a rich work: sculptor Leopold Hafner


Two Popes have been praying on a marble altar created by him. Leopold Hafner created the altar island for the visit of John Paul II in Altötting in 1980. It was also used when his successor, Benedict XVI, celebrated Mass in 2006 in Altötting. These were highlights in the life of sculptor Leopold Hafner from Aicha vorm Wald, who turns 85 this Friday.

If you visit the churches in the Diocese of Passau, you can not ignore Leopold Hafner. He has immortalized his artistic handwriting especially in the design of the liturgical places.

Expressive characters

The Passau Cathedral of St. Stephen plays a special role in his life: when he set up the Stephanus Group for his teacher Prof. Josef Henselmann, he established ties with the diocese, which influenced his entire artistic work. Well over 20

Leopold Hafner designed churches in the Diocese of Passau. In Passau St. Peter and St. Konrad, St. Michael and St. Gertraud and the Church of the Ascension. Mention should also be made of the design of the Bavarian Forest Cathedral in Waldkirchen, the parish church of Hinterschmiding and the parish churches Schöllnach, Lindberg and Neuschönau, often in close cooperation with his brother Franz. Respect for the church  and a sound knowledge of the image program of Christian art draw him out.

He worked as a sculptor especially in bronze, stone and wood. In particular, his figures, which always have a lively surface, show modern, expressive people, for example, the transfigured Christ in Ascension in Haidenhof, the suffering St. Sebastian in Vilshofen or the kind hl. Nepomuk in Furth in the woods. 


This sculpture and this city have one for Leopold Hafner special meaning. Here he is like many Sudeten Germans as Refugee arrived after the war. Leopold Hafner is in Wallern born in the Bohemian Forest. The family settled in Perlesreut; Leopold Hafner is a sculptor with Ludwig Pinsker and completed his journeyman's examination in 1951 in the State College Zwiesel, before he went to Munich in the Academy.


One of his best known works is in the state capital at a prominent place: It is a relief at the fish fountain at the Munich Town Hall Square. Wells are a large group of works of the sculptor, the best known are the Patronatsbrunnen in Passau Domhof and the four-diocesan fountain on Tillyplatz in Altötting. The artist had his first studio in Vornbach, before his wife Brigitte and the six children of the Vierkanthof in Aicha in front of the forest became his home.

Fountains and portraits as further groups of worksLeopold Hafner has also become known as an exceptional portraitist. The bust of Gregor Mendel in the Walhalla near Regensburg made him famous; the bronze-cast portrait of Pope John Paul II at the Asambasilika in Altenmarkt particularly pleased him. 


 The immigrant monument the Bohemian Forester shows people marked by homeland desire and is in New Ulm in the US state of Minnesota.

 Less well known is that Leopold Hafner has been a diligent draftsman since his education and especially on his many travels. In pencil, pen, ink pen, charcoal and colored pencil landscape drawings, nudes and portraits were drawn up, often quickly dropped, created immediately after the vivid impression.

Anyone who has experienced the artist privately in his hospitable house knows that Leopold Hafner has always been a sociable person who has always enjoyed life to the fullest. Humorous and curious, he is still today and is happy about his success. He lives in seclusion at the Heiliggeiststift in Passau, lovingly cared for by his family.

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