The sphinx of Wolf City


Wolf City (1972) by Amon Düül II.

Behold another favourite album cover by a favourite band, one of several superb designs for Amon Düül II by Falk-U Rogner who was also the group’s keyboard player. Rogner’s suitably hallucinogenic cover images are worth a post of their own but this one requires attention today since I happened to solve the mystery of the location of the Düül sphinx during the recent hiatus.

Ever since I began these blog posts I’ve had a feeling that the endless trawling of image archives might one day turn up the location of this stone creature. It was only ever going to be something you’d find by accident, and that’s precisely what happened with the discovery of the drawing below in volume 4 of Materials and Documents of Architecture and Sculpture (1915) by A. Raguenet, a set of books I’ve been plundering recently for architectural details.


Compare with this photo.

The notes for the drawing offer enough information to trace the location to the Brunswick Monument in Geneva, a mausoleum built in 1879 for the Duke of Brunswick. The monument is a typically Gothic edifice guarded by a number of stone lions plus this splendid sphinx on a plinth by a pool of water. On the opposite side of the monument there’s a matching bird-headed sculpture. Amon Düül II were a German group so it was always likely that the sphinx would be in Europe somewhere, if not Germany itself. The photo below is a detail from this Flickr shot which is the best match I’ve found for the angle of the cover photo. Jean Franel was the monument architect but statues are often the work of specialist artists, and I’ve yet to find a name attached to these examples.


Photo by Till Westermayer.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Frémiet’s Lizard

5 thoughts on “The sphinx of Wolf City”

  1. Great bit of sleuthing! And equally great lp..Sleepwalker’s Timeless Bridge has always been a personal favourite of mine.

  2. This one and Live in London are the last really great AD II albums for me. Viva La Trance has some good songs (and another Falk cover) but that blend of Teutonic/Gothic Surrealism they made their own was starting to ebb away by that point. It’s still in full effect on Wolf City.

  3. Also demonstrating once again that the most unfortunate byproduct of the transition from LP to CD was not the sound. It was the loss of the LP album cover!

    Welcome back, John.

  4. Yes, all the early Düül albums are better at vinyl size. I’m ashamed to say I got rid of my vinyl copy of Wolf City some years ago. Admittedly the disc was rather worn but I ought to have kept it for the cover.

  5. I remember passing through Geneva a decade ago, and stopping at that fountain to stretch on the grass and admire the view of the lake… but the match to my favourite AD-II album never occurred to me. Well caught.

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