With the name Robert Taylor remaining unchallenged as the undisputed master of the genre he helped to create, few artists possess Robert’s personal relationship with the many distinguished combat aviators who flew and fought in those major air campaigns of the twentieth century. One of the most famous is the subject of Robert’s new release - Adolf ‘Dolfo’ Galland - unquestionably the greatest fighter leader in the Luftwaffe and one highly respected by his Allied opponents.
Through the many years that Robert and Dolfo knew one another, Dolfo was able to impart a wealth of information not only on a technical level but on the difficulties encountered whilst serving in Hitler’s air force. His relationship with Luftwaffe supremo Hermann Goering had been testy ever since the Battle of Britain and, never afraid of speaking his mind, his outspoken clashes with Goering were numerous. Matters finally came to a head in January 1945 when Dolfo was sacked for insubordination. Banished from German High Command, Dolfo set about forming his own elite unit equipped with Me262 jet fighters – ‘ Jagdverband 44’ – the unit depicted in the new drawing that forms the centrepiece of Robert’s new Icons of Flight compilation.
Matted alongside it is a separate piece featuring Dolfo in the cockpit of his Bf109 during the Battle of Britain.
Overall size: 19" x 34"
Both drawings in this highly-restricted edition are reproduced by one of Europe’s leading Giclée printers with output to the highest standards of certified digital print-making and reproduced on museum quality archival papers. What happens next, however, is at the heart of this new series.
Robert personally takes over proceedings, transforming each proof into a unique work through the application of subtle embellishments, elegant highlights and refined tonal application of muted colour washes.
Only then, when he is entirely satisfied with the finished result, does Robert personally title and write the captions before signing and hand-numbering each copy.
Each pair of drawings is matted to full conservation standards in a single composition that includes an original and fully authenticated autograph of the man himself, together with a museum-quality reproduction of his
Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds:
The portfolio is completed with a matching-numbered biographical book specially written for this release which, beautifully illustrated by Robert Taylor, describes Dolfo’s life story from childhood, through his time in Spain and World War II, to his later years.
Adolf “Dolfo” Galland was born on 19 March 1912 at Westerholt, Westphalia. At the age of 17 he started flying gliders, and began flying for Lufthansa after graduating from the German Commercial Air Transport School at Brunswick. In February 1934, he joined the Luftwaffe, by April 1935 he was a fighter pilot with Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richtofen”.
In 1937, he volunteered for service with the Condor Legion in Spain. Galland was put in command of 3 Staffel of J/88, completing 280 combat sorties before being relieved by Werner Mölders in mid-1938. When World War 2 broke out Oberleutnant Galland was a Staffelkapitän of 4.(S)/LG 2 equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, a biplane Stuka. He took part in the invasion of Poland flying 50 ground attack missions. Galland was posted away to JG 27 at Krefeld, arriving there on 15 February 1940. He was assigned to the Geschwaderstab and assumed the role of Geschwader Adjutant. On 12 May, west of Liege, Belgium, he scored his first aerial victory. Two more victories followed that day.
All three victims were RAF Hurricanes. By the end of the French campaign he had accumulated 14 victories. On 6 June 1940, Hauptmann Galland was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26. Promoted Major on 18 July, Galland stayed with III./JG 26 through the Battle of Britain.
On 1 November 1940, Galland was promoted to Oberstleutnant and given command of JG 26. On 21 June 1941, Galland was shot down, by the Polish ace Boleslaw Drobinski of 303 Sqn, RAF, and baled out wounded. Galland had, by now, been ordered by Hitler and Göring not to fly combat missions. However, he disregarded these orders and continued to rack up aerial victories.
On the death of Oberst Werner Mölders on 22 November 1941, Galland was named General der Jagdflieger. Before settling into his new job, Oberst Galland directed the fighter protection for the Channel dash of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, from Brest. Galland became one of the most controversial figures of his time through his skirmishes with Reichsmarschal Göring and his frank addresses to Hitler when he emphasized the need for more fighters to oppose the increasingly intense allied bombing raids over Germany. Galland’s contemporaries in combat commands eventually began planning to force Göring’s resignation, by seeking an audience with Hitler. Although Galland took no direct part in such activities, Göring attributed the incipient mutiny to Galland, sacked him and prepared a trial.
Hitler intervened but then insisted, as an end to the “Galland affair”, that he be given command of a unit of jet fighters. Galland led JV 44 until 26 April 1945 gaining up to seven victories flying the Me 262 jet fighter. On that day day he was bounced by a P-47 flown by 1st Lt James J Finnegan of the 50th Fighter Group, USAAF. Galland was wounded in the right knee and his aircraft received further damage. He was able to bring his crippled jet back to München-Reim and successfully land, but the wounds suffered in this encounter were serious enough to end his combat flying. Galland surrendered himself to American forces at Tegernsee on 5 May 1945. He was held in military custody for two years. He was released in 1947. Adolf Galland passed away on 9 February 1996 at Remagen-Oberwinter.
Galland achieved 104 aerial victories in 705 missions, all on the Western front. Included in his score are at least seven victories flying the Me 262 and four four-engined bombers. He was himself shot down four times.