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Hubertus Court

  • The print was made by the artist Emma Bormann during her exile in Shanghai in the 1940s.The title suggest that the print offers a bird’s eye view from the Hubertus Court building.
  • Print
  • Hubertus Court

    Word Count: 2

  • Emma Bormann
  • lino or wood cut

  • Hubertus Court, Avenue Edward VII, Western District Extension (now: Metropolo Jinjiang Hotels, 918–28 Yan’an Xi Lu, Changning Qu) Shanghai

  • Shanghai (CN)
  • The print was made by the artist Emma Bormann during her exile in Shanghai in the 1940s.The title suggest that the print offers a bird’s eye view from the Hubertus Court building.

    Word Count: 34

  • The title suggest that the print offers a bird’s eye view from the Hubertus Court building. The gaze is directed eastwards, probably overlooking the border between the former International Settlement and the former French Concession along Great Western Road (now Yan’an Xi Lu), between Bubbling Well Road (now Nanjing Xi Lu) and Avenue Foch and Avenue Edward, to the former Racecourse (now People's Square) and, finally, to the skyline of the Bund.
    A prominent, modern, and large building that must have been located in this line of vision would be the Victoria Nurses Home, which was formerly located at 23 Great West Road. Its decidedly modern and rationally structured facade can be found in the upper left corner of the picture. It was designed by the German architect Rudolf Hamburger, who came to Shanghai to work for the municipal council in 1930 and later helped his old college friend Richard Paulick to emigrate to Shanghai. His more straightforward approach differed from the prevailing Art Deco style. However, on the other side of Hubert Court there was another modern building employing a more restrained formal language. The Women's Hospital was designed by Zhuang Jun (1888 – 1990), the first president of the China Architects Association, which he co-founded in 1927.
    In the centre upper third of the picture, a small church tower can be seen. This could belong to the German Protestant Church built by the architect L. E. Hudec at the corner of Avenue Haig (Huashan Lu) and Daxi Road (310 Huashan Lu) in 1932. The German Protestant Church, with its pastor Fritz Mass, was an important address for Emma Bormann.
    Hubertus Court itself was a ten-story apartment building equipped with modern amenities and designed along elegant Art Deco lines by the émigré architect László Ede Hugyecz, also known as L. E. Hudec (1893–1958). Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire he came to Shanghai via Harbin in 1918, built a successful career and opened his own office. When he lost his Czechoslovakian citizenship in 1938 he obtained a Hungarian passport and was appointed honorary consul in Shanghai. In this role he helped Hungarian-Jewish emigrants with employment and tried to ensure that they did not have to move in the so–called Shanghai ghetto in Hongkou, established by the Japanese in 1943. He not only designed and owned Hubertus Court (Hubertus Court Properties Fed. Inc.) but also lived there himself. Emma Bormann and her two daughters became friends with the Hudec family. The print offers a stunning view of the metropolis. The wide view tilts low down to the streets, the trees and the tiny bustling people, and floats over the roofs, that represent a variety of different urban architectures, to the imposing skyline on the horizon. The viewpoint makes the viewer balance at a dizzying height while being sucked, as it were, into the increasingly dense mosaic of urban forms. A similar suggestive perspective can be found in other works by Emma Bormann made in Shanghai. Not only does this reveal her artistic virtuosity and technical prowess, but also seamlessly blends with the dramatic dynamics of the urban metropolis.

    Word Count: 509

  • Emma Bormann, Hubertus Court, lino cut or wood cut, around 1940, Shanghai (© private collection).
  • Emma Bormann, Deutsches Eck [German Corner], wood or lino cut, around 1949 (© private collection).
    Emma Bormann, Great Western Road, wood or lino cut, around 1940 (© private collection).
    Schiff, Friedrich and Ellen Thorbecke. Shanghai. North China Daily News & Herald Ltd., Shanghai, 1941.
  • Johns, Andreas. The Art of Emma Bormann. Ariadne Press, 2016.
    Kaminski, Gerd. Der Pinsel hinterlässt Spuren: Das Vermächtnis von Emma Bormann. ÖGCF, 2006.

    Word Count: 23

  • Very many thanks to the family of artist Emma Bormann who generously provided their knowledge and enabled the presence of Emma Bormann's art in the archive.

    Word Count: 26

  • Mareike Hetschold
  • Shanghai
  • No
  • Mareike Hetschold. "Hubertus Court." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 20-06-2021.
  • Hans Jacoby

    Hans Jacoby fled in 1938 to the Netherlands, where he was interned by the Dutch government in Hook of Holland. He was able to leave the camp and arrived, together with his wife Emma Jacoby, in Shanghai in 1940 where he continued to work as an artist.

    Word Count: 45

    Emma Bormann

    Emma Bormann was a pioneering artist and printmaker. Her oeuvre gives witness to her extensive travels around the globe and to the agility and versatility of her artistic rendering of the urban sites she encountered.

    Word Count: 35

    Richard Paulick

    After studying with Hans Poelzig, Richard Paulick worked in Walter Gropius’s office and frequented the Bauhaus in Dessau before emigrating to Shanghai in 1933. After his return, he became an influential planner and architect in the GDR, from 1950 until his retirement

    Word Count: 41

    Ward Road Gaol; Tilanqiao Prison

    The Ward Road Gaol (today Tilanqiao Prison) had space for 7000 prisoners.The rather small new extension for foreign prisoners designed by the architect Rudolf Hamburger consisted of two buildings and a pavilion for the guards.

    Word Count: 35