Leo Bothas was a German 20th-century visual artist, known for his posters and set designs from the 1930s through the 1960s. Also known as "Botjagin", he was a propaganda artist for the Nazi war effort, illustrating several comic prints ("Bilderbogen") that glorified the victories of the Wehrmacht.

Poster artist
Not much is known about Bothas' life, only that he was born in 1903 and that he passed away around 1988. Living in Berlin, he was a poster artist during the Nazi reign. For instance, he designed the poster of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and for the German Pavilion at the 1937 World Expo in Paris.

Bilderbogen
In the period 1940-1943, he was one of the prominent illustrators of the so-called 'Bilderbogen vom Kriege', a series of propaganda prints published by Gustav Kühn in Neuruppin. The prints "informed" readers about the successes of the German military in four or five sequential images with text captions in rhyme. This Nazi propaganda wanted to inspire German youth with virtues like bravery, companionship and resourcefulness, all to prepare them for being recruited in the army, of course. A notable print by Bothas was 'Kampf um Rotterdam', about the battle of the Dutch harbor city Rotterdam. As could be expected, the story glorifies German heroics, but doesn't mention the devastating bombings and the many civilian casualties. About eighty Bilderbogen were available as loose prints, or in sets of twelve. Another illustrator of these 'Bilderbogen' was Herbert Rothgaengel.

Post-war work
After the war, Bothas headed the Gloria advertising studio. He lived in Munich during the 1960s. He illustrated movie posters, for instance for the 1952 German release of 'Zorro Rides Again' ('Zorro's Schwarze Peitsche'). In November 1956, he also designed the sets for Henrik Ibsen's 'Peer Gynt' ballet for the Stadttheater in Basel, Switzerland.

Series and books by Leo Bothas in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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