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Junkerhaus, Lemgo: Salon

Posted by
MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 1 October 2008 in Art & Design.

Please tell me folks, if you think this series gets boring. If not, I would show some more photos of this intriguing place.

This sofa in the salon has a superstructure with an integrated mirror - you can perceive a secretaire and a chair on the opposite side of the room. The sofa, its padding, all decoration and carvings were done by Junker. Above the sofa you can see small paintings in kind of a pointilistic painting style. There are more than 150 paintings spread on the whole house. Actually Junker lived in just one room of his house. Most of the chambers were built and decorated for a visionary family, the love of his life and a child, that never came true.

Thinking about this retreat I start wondering if this would be a decent place for overwintering the financial crisis. And 'crisis' is quite poetically put! When I first read about the congressmen's refusal of the 700 billion 'rescue' plan, I thought: respect, folks! The howling of the stock markets was a good indicator that this time the right people were hit. But let's distinguish this: it's not the stock market but the banks that gambled away the billions. And any effective rescue measurement would include police operation and criminal prosecution. I really can't see why higher earners should get bailed out for gambling and wildcatting. But the pressure is high and if you perk up your ears you already can listen to the gears of lobbyists, trying to convince the rebel congressmen to stump up the money.

The most stupid headline I've read today (literal translation: 'The whole world awaits a second vote') is part of that propaganda, making us believe that it's the duty of the American taxpayer to prevent the total crash of the financial system. In my country we're facing the first scandal of a German bank that got illiquid and that now gets reconditioned with German tax money. Nobody would have shedded a tear if this 'institute' would have gone bankrupt, but our government will spend some 35 billion Euros in order to back it up. Why does this happen?

I think it's pure fear. Fear of losing control, fear of the next bank run, fear of ugly reports about people storming the bank and fear of imposing the state of emergency. Nobody knows exactly what is going to happen, whether is extreme inflation, mass unemployment, or the bankruptcy of whole national economies. Drying out bad credits and abandoning incompetent financial institutes will evoke sort of a system reset, but this is not going to be funny.

And now grab your camera and capture the tension, your grandchildren will be eager to know what happened exactly before the world changed.

MaryB from Staffordshire, United Kingdom

No MS, it's not boring at all I find it very interesting indeed :) do you know if this would this have been the original colours when it was constructed?

I agree about the crisis that is looming over all our heads, wherever we may be, it's going to be a very bumpy road.

1 Oct 2008 7:03am

@MaryB: There was a major refurbishment a few years ago and they tried to preserve the original colours as accurately as possible. In the early years it was much more bright and colourful though.

a very bumpy road
I'm really frightend about this Irish blank cheque for 400 billion Euros. This will get the EU down in the worst case.

Linerberry from Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

I'm not getting bored at all mate:-)) I would never gat chance to see this otherwise so thank you. The art work is quite delicate and amazing. I love the way you have captured the window in the mirror:-)
The financial situation is a bit scary but hopefully we will all live to tell the tale!

1 Oct 2008 7:13am

@Linerberry: Hope you're right! Crashing markets are always crappy, the best thing is to have a paid off house and a big garden. We'll see. My trust in politicians is limited.

Howard F. from South Pasadena, Calif., United States

No no, keep'em coming, this is fascinating stuff you're posting.
I try not to look too much at our financial situation because it is just bad. It's going to be a while until the whole thing level itself out like nature. Right now, my stocks and mutual funds are all at the bottom... so, no use worrying myself death about it, can only wait and have faith.

1 Oct 2008 8:52am

@Howard F.: Maybe we'll see that it's worth while again to know a craft, to know how to take care of useful plants and the like. I think barter economy has a bright future. :-/

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

Noby MadScientist, it's not boring. It is very interesting. Fantastic.

1 Oct 2008 12:19pm

@Ana Lúcia: Fine. :-) I'll continue.

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

I really like this...the air of mystery and intrigue! The textures from the rust and rippled reflections, all add to the ambiance!

1 Oct 2008 1:57pm

@bluechameleon: Thanks! Maybe you want to browse a few posts back, there's more from this house. I'll continue that series, as many people seem to like it. :-)

JoeB from Brampton, Canada

We want more grander shots, (with no Ontario chickens) how often would you come across a house like this. I dislike acronyms, I blame the C.I.A. and IBM.
I guess it would be too foolish and insensible to give the 700 billion to the people with mortgages and losses in the Stock Market, then everyone gets paid back?

1 Oct 2008 2:10pm

@JoeB: I remember a crossword puzzle joke: 'abbr. for abbr.' (in German: 'Abk. für Abk.'). A German who likes to use abbreviations or acronyms is suffering from AKüFi (Abkürzungsfimmel; abbreviation / acronym disease).
Here's a list what one could do with 700 billion dollars: please allow me to translate:
- pay employee's wages of 22 million people (average salaries) for one year
- finance a health insurance for everybody
- finance communication systems for accident ambulances
- build dykes for New Orleans
- finance Danmark (twice!)
- finance German budget for 1.5 years
- fight poverty in Africa
- finance US intelligence for 15 years
- fund several 'New Deal's
- save the Earth instead of the banks
- finance military forces as usual
- fly to the moon and back for several times
I'm sure you have even more ideas! I have! .-)

MaryP from Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom

Nope!! Not bored in the slightest. Am enjoying these images very much. Most unusual building. The story is a bit sad though. Regarding the 'other matter' I think JoeB has a good point, but it is never the 'ordinary joe' in the street that gets considered in this kind of crisis.Yet most of it is our money, or it was to start with.

1 Oct 2008 4:13pm

@MaryP: Have a look at my response to Joe's comment, there's a list of things you could do with some billions in your pocket. :-)
Junker's story is a bit sad, indeed. After returning to Lemgo and building his house he retired more and more from active life and had only very few familiars. All his energy seems to have gone into this house and his further art.

Laurie from New Jersey, United States

Wow that is an interesting sofa. Very ornate. Not boring at all.

But you got me started now...

The current financial crisis here has it's root going all the way back to the 1970's when reforms were enacted to get low-income people to be able to buy homes. Now that is not a bad thing as long as the people who get the loans can actually afford to pay them and don't buy over their heads. Everyone wants the American Dream after all.

This was furthered in the 1990's when even more pressure was put on banks to extend loans to more poor people who would not otherwise qualify for mortgage loans. It was considered unfair that they could not get loans to buy houses. So the banks were strong armed into giving loans to underqualified applicants.

The influx of new buyers pushed the prices of housing artificially higher and higher. New homes, not little 2 or 3 bedroom homes, but McMansions were being built all over to meet the demand but those houses were far too expensive so banks were offering no money down interest only loans to under qualified people. People who really couldn't afford them bought houses in the hopes of re-financing them and or flipping them as the prices continued to rise.

Then one day, as I had been telling people after my home value inflated to the absolutely ridiculous price of $600,000-$700,000, I knew this was not good, not real and would come crashing down on people and so it did. Now we have people who have mortgages that are more than their houses are worth. They can't re-mortgage because the house is not worth what they needed to refinance, they can't sell them for the amount they need to pay off the mortgage and they can't afford the rising interest rates of their variable rate interest only loans., so they default on their loans and here we are.

There were several attempts to prevent this first in 2003 when Bush, yes Bush, brought the looming crisis to light, but no-one listened. Then again in 2005 in legislation to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which was co-sponsored by Republicans including McCain and then killed by the Dems...re-introduced in 2007 and once again killed by the Dems. There is plenty of blame to go around but those are a few of the factors that contributed to the current crisis.

Everyone is screaming for a bailout...not me. I think they are rushing to fix it with bad legislation. I don't think it is a good idea for the Government to control such a large part of our economy. We all now how efficient the government is when it comes to running things...yes sarcasm.

They are saying people and businesses won't be able to get credit...well maybe some people and business with bad credit or who cannot afford the payments shouldn't be able to get credit, after all that is how we got here in the first place. For those who can afford it and have good credit, I don't think it will really have a huge impact. I mean really, I received 4 offers of credit this week alone 3 of which came in just one day! Now my young adult son's have not gotten as many of those annoying offers in the mail as they used to...but guess what? One is a college student with no income so he shouldn't get credit anyway and the other is starting to build his credit now with reasonable and responsible handling of his finances.

I apologize for getting political, but you started it. :-P

1 Oct 2008 6:16pm

@Laurie: Thanks Laurie, I love comments like this! It's a blog, isn't it, so let's watch the pictures and talk. I think many people you mentioned, those with small or no income, miss one big fact: if you're head over ears in debt - say $1.000, you have to pay back $1.000 (plus interest) to amount to a credit of $0. (Many people in Germany don't know this either.) I still remember the voice of my grandparents, imploring my parents not to run into debt. And they were right, they learnt their lesson during the Great Depression.
Bubble economies work great first. Banks offering easy credits and selling them to other banks produce big numbers until this comes to a halt and the bubble bursts. But there are two teammates into this play: consumers who want to spend money they don't have (or who won't be able to pay back this money at all) and financial institutions who earn their money by taking advantage of the needs of these people and who need much more money to keep the engines running. An unfortunate mixture.
When a bank goes bankrupt then it should be saved under the conditions of the deposit protection fund; people with a savings account shouldn't bleed for their bank. But Wallstreet wants this system to continue, fresh money has to solve the crisis, and all losses get public. I really understand that -some- congressmen don't want to support this. If these 700 billions are spent then there's no guarantee that the next market will crash a few months later, resulting in the next crisis. Up to now we're just talking about the current credits, but what if house prices continue to drop? And what about the many microcredits? And what will happen to the dollar itself when the money won't be enough? The government will fire up the money printing press. I've collected some funny money from the 1930s, you really don't want to have this in your wallet.
In Europe it's no better, Ireland makes out in blank (up to 400 billion Euros - where do they take that money from), France's Sarkozy wants to stump up some 300 billion, risking the Euro's stability. These are interesting times, we'll have enough time to dicuss this further. :)

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

Keep the images coming MS, they are of historic interest.

After reading Lauries comment I have to say that I cannot agree with that view, for the simple reason the UK has been the top of the list for lending and credit and debt. But although (nearly everybody) has 5 or 6 credit cards, a car loan and a mortgage to pay back our economy didn't collapse. But it has now, because it has been brought down by the US. I don't even believe that default on the sub-prime bank loans has caused this, no the real reason is that it has been engineerd by plan.

The Federal bank / Federal reserve controls the economy, not the government, and just like all the other recessions in the past, the bank ends up printing more money and the government and the tax-payer end up owing more debt (to the bank owners) and that is the whole trick. The circulation of banknotes had become overheated, in other words, there was too much buying and selling of loans, and too many massive pay-outs to the greedy slobs at the top.

Plan A: Frighten the market by withdrawing money from the system. Tell the media of the impending collapse. Banks fold up and are bought by other banks. The government buys the bad debts up and lends money to keep the economy going. Then we have to pay the government, and the government pays the Federal bank, and the big (secret) men at the top have even more power, own more banks, and have everybody trapped in new debt. Tell me, just where are all these billions coming from......? who is financing the incredible amounts of money, answer, the banks that have closed, and are now owned by the Fed bank (secretly).

The UK HAS to follow the US, it's the same system. Billions are pumped in, guarantees are made but still no improvement..... no, not yet. The plan is that it will take 2 - 3 months before any upturn, it has to appear valid.

In the EU more or less the same story, and the European Central Bank releases billions into the system, WHY? where did the money come from and what are the risks....? But no worry, it will soon be all ok again, banks change hands, accounts are bought and sold, and we can take off for another 20 year run.

1 Oct 2008 7:34pm

@Observing: We don't want to forget the British housing crisis. This was a pure bubble economy, like the Spanish housing market was. When the value of your house drops drastically, this will reduce your assets (if you advance upon mortgage) and this has an impact on the economy of your country. I know people foraying British flea markets for inexpensive silverware and browsing through the classifieds in search for cheap British oldtimers. When people start to sell their silver plates and other old treasures then there obviously is a problem.
I think it's not inevitable that the fall of the US economy will tear down other economies. If you take my country (no housing crisis, most people have deposit accounts and avoid the stock market due to bad experiences with the so-called new economy) then I'd say that we could get off cheaply, if European politicians would act circumspectly. But these Irish and French fools are starting to chuck their money about (Ireland: 400 billion Euros, Sarkozy: 300 billions), thus risking the Euro's stability.
Then I don't think that banks will change hands again soon: the distrust is that big that banks among themselves don't want to give credit. This will have a direct impact on the economy as well: if you have a company and your bank is unwilling to give you credit, you won't be able to execute your customer's orders.
But what worries me mostly is that nobody really knows what's going to happen. All I know is that feeding a sick system with even more billions will just enlarge the crisis. But the crisis will come, that's for sure. I'll better hurry up buying my new camera.

Ronnie 2¢ from London, United Kingdom

This sure is one of those ‘never to be forgotten’ places and I am eager for seeing more of it, please! The detailing is so intense.

1 Oct 2008 10:03pm

@Ronnie 2¢: I won't let you down. :-)

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

Very complex furniture indeed, like the economy may be...

2 Oct 2008 12:22am

@akarui: Haha, yes, it's twisted! :-)

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Keep the series rolling. But I cannot for my own sanity get involved in the talk about the financial crisis. The pattern on the sofa is very unique and modern in comparison to its surrounds. I somehow would have expected to see a more intricate pattern or perhaps a solid color

2 Oct 2008 2:52am

@Steven: He used this pattern on all his upholstered furniture, more chairs and 'thrones' can be seen in the Junker museum behind his house.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

You nailed it, and sorry, the Laurie view of the cause is pure Wall Street/Republican propaganda, though she comes down correctly against the bailout. The notion that Keating Five McCain, of all people, was trying to reform the system, is risible. That Bush could or would have had any part in reform is ludicrous. Equally ridiculous is the notion that a guy who orders torture and illegal wiretapping, makes war whenever and wherever he wants, makes up his own legislation with signing statements, and has gotten everything he's ever asked for from a compliant Congress, even after the Democrats acquired a Congressional majority, couldn't get anyone to listen about a looming financial crisis. The notion that the Democrats MADE the banks make bad loans is absurd. Both parties are in collusion with Wall Street.

This is engineered theft pure and simple, orchestrated by the banks and facilitated by BOTH so called political parties --which are really just two factions of the same corporate party. There is, for instance, no significant policy difference between McCain and Obama, despite the party propaganda. Note, I didn't say no difference, because McCain is clearly nuts, and has chosen someone even nuttier --as well as stunningly ignorant and incurious-- to be his VP.

We apparently still have our equivalent of the dead-enders in the Hitler bunker who continued to believe, even as the Russians shelled Berlin, that the Fuhrer was going to pull out his secret weapons at any time and hand the allies a crushing defeat. Anyone who can't see at this late stage of the game that the Republicans and Democrats are different sides of the same coin is never going to see it. What's amazing is that the people who run the show don't even keep the game a secret: they write openly about it. Carroll Quigley, for instance, writes in Tragedy and Hope, that the two party system is designed to create the appearance of democracy without actually allowing any kind of meaningful change from elections in order to preserve the status quo. If it hasn't been obvious for the last eight years, how about the last two, after a Democratic Congressional majority elected in protest has continued to give an unpopular Republican president everything he wants --a president so unpopular he didn't even attend his own party's political convention?

This country is being run by criminals. A few representatives on both sides of the aisle even said so this week. The bailout isn't just an assault on the taxpayers, it's a frontal assault on the rule of law, the US Constitution, and the US economic system, with the collusion of the Congress, the president and both presidential candidates, the executive branch, and a propaganda spewing media. We need a government and corporate enema that includes mass arrests of corporate executives and their congressional and executive branch facilitators. Of course, this isn't going to happen. We can arrest some kid with two ounces of marijuana, but not corporate criminals who preside over the open theft of what probably amounts to a couple trillon dollars --if not more.

2 Oct 2008 5:37am

@Twelvebit: You always need two to tango: a government that enables excessive deregulation and a financial centre that gains profit from this. This machine worked like clockwork for many, including credit users, and now everybody cries for daddy. Barry Ritholtz sums it up for me, his 'Memo Found in the Street' is also worth reading.
I agree, the idea of reeducation camps for bank and business kingpins and their political accomplices has some charm...

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

Those two links are pretty good accounts of what happened. The Bush presidency has been a real eye-opener for me. I know people I used to believe were honest and principled. Then almost all of them turned around and embraced everything they had decried as evil and corrupt for the previous eight years as soon as their new tribal chief took over the village. It has really been a disgusting and disillusioning spectacle. And it just keeps getting more disgusting and absurd. Now we actually have a Holllywood cartoon caricature madman --in the vein of Greg Stillson of the Dead Zone-- running for president with the village idiot as his side kick: a woman who can see Russia from her house and Putin's head in our airspace; believes dinosaurs roamed the earth 6,000 years ago; thinks the bailout has something incomprehensible to to with healthcare; lies openly about her record; who tells us she reads every newspaper in the world (but can't name one of them); and who thinks she is going to float up into Heaven in her physical body in a great "Rapture." This would be funny if is wasn't so serious and scary.

2 Oct 2008 3:07pm

@Twelvebit: Especially this last point ('floating up into Heaven in her physical body') would be really amazing if she would manage this. From my humble Catholic view this is a privilege only given to the Holy Virgin... If dinos lived 6000 years ago, I wonder what the ancestors of my Wollemia nobilis did during the last 2 million years and 17 glacials, perhaps waiting for T-Rex.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

Well, as some fundamentalist types have told me personally, Catholics are "idol worshipers" and hence, not "true" Christians. Some even maintain that the Catholic Church is the work of Satan. I'm not sure you sophisticated Europeans realize just how wacky American fundamentalists can be, so you might check out this link for some idea of what might be in store for the world if they ever get any serious political power over here. This link doesn't deal with their views on Catholics, but from what I've read and personally experienced, I don't think you guys would fair too well.

3 Oct 2008 10:05pm

@Twelvebit: Oh! My! God!
1. The Counter-Reformation has totally flopped. He's to blame.
2. The Age of Enlightenment has flopped. Completely.
3. My religion teacher - a priest - told to us, whenever our misunderstandings differed too much from the right doctrine: 'There are still enough pines growing around Rome [for burning us at the stake].' He was just joking, but we should reconsider this habit.
4. If all this would not happen in the US but in Turkey, the army would have revolted already.

Mate, this is really disturbing. The more people talk about G-d, the more they are to be distrusted.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

Here's a funny but not so funny thing. I've been reading a book about Han Van Meegeren, the Dutch artist who created appallingly fake Vermeer's and passed some of them off to the Nazis for the equivalent of millions of dollars. When I read about Goering --one of his most famous clients-- and the background of events in Germany at the time, I want to pass out, because it's like watching what is going on around me right now. Goering said that Hitler was God's gift to the German people. The crowds here swoon in front of Palin and gush "our Sarah, our Sarah," and you probably know that German crowds used to swoon in front of Goering and gush, "our Hermann, our Hermann." This kind of emotional attachment to a politician is not only disgusting, but frightening, and it is just one among many many parallels between what is happening here and the metamorphosis from Weimar Republic to Third Reich --perhaps you noticed at the link, under millennialism, the reference to the "1,000 year" Christian "Reich." With this history so well know, it's very difficult to believe that so many of these parallels are just coincidental.

4 Oct 2008 3:46am

@Twelvebit: Please be careful with these comparisons - the full monty from Adolf to total war was only possible in Germany. There were many 'celebrities' in the Nazi movement, Goering was especially known for his eccentric gusto for fantasy uniforms. While there is no charismatic leader in a strict hierarchical organization who is able to attract millions of voters there's no need to bother about dictatorship. The situation in Germany in the early 1930s was different: there was a lost war (a traumatic experience), no democratic tradition (many people disgusted democracy), the Big Depression, crushing reparation claims from the winners of the war, and many worn out political parties. There was an ideological fundament of xenophobia and racism paving the way for the later development right up to the holocaust. By exploiting the envy and resentments of the middle class (including the lower middle class), getting help from the abetters of bourgeoisie and military, they eventually succeeded in getting the power. But this would not have worked without a charismatic leader, a kind of 'saviour', and I don't see any in your election campaign. Maybe 2, 3 presidents later. Even Great Britain had an Oliver Cromwell.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

You're not helping: Charismatic/celebrity (Sarah Palin); lost war (debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan); Big Depression (may be on the way); reparation claims (crushing US debt held by foreign countries); worn out political parties (Democrats and Republicans, now essentially merged and advocating the same policies with slightly different tuning); xenophobia (has always been present in the US); racism (improving, but still a racist country, with current xenophobia and racism focused on those dark skinned people of the Muslim religion); resentments of the middle class (see Republican talking points vis a vis Welfare, Democratic talking points vis a vis Wall Street and fear of "terrorism"); abbetters of the military (see US military industrial complex, nationalism); Savior (Rapture mom, Sarah Palin, who may replace McCain soon after he takes office and is taken out by some Rapture martyr general or secret service agent doing "God's will"). I fear we're approximating Germany some time between 1928-32. And btw, there are LOTS MORE parallels, such as the neocon advocacy of the "unitary executive" with unlimited power, our Reichstag Fire (9/11) and our very own Enabling Act, in two parts (the Patriot Act and the Bailout). Not to mention the fact that the Bailout essentially puts the lie to the notion that we have a "democracy" --at best, we're living under a plutocracy.

6 Oct 2008 3:42am

@Twelvebit: Agreed, you have a point. If you're really, really thinking that things worsen, watch your minorities. If they start moving, time has come.