JG 54 GREEN HEARTS – Artist’s Proof
The AP denotes Artist’s Proof, from the private collection of the artist. These are the first 50 – 100 prints off the press once the artist has approved the color. As a result, these are highly collectible editions and cost a bit more than the limited edition signed and numbered editions.
Image size 19 1/2″ X 27″ with margins; 22 3/4″ X 30″ overall.
In addition to the artist’s signature, each print is co-autographed by General Hannes Trautloft, the father of the JG 54 Green Hearts; Hans Ekkehard Bob, Staffelkapitän 9./JG 54; Franz Eisenach, Staffelkapitän 3./JG 54; Dietrich Hrabak, Kommodore JG 54, Fritz Tegtmeier l./JG 54, later Staffelkapitän 3./JG 54, and Gerhard Thyben, Staffelkapitän 7./JG 54.
The painting: Major Hannes Trautloft in his Bf 109 F-4 leads a flight of JG 54 Green Hearts aircraft over Rijelbitzy Airfield in Russia, summer 1942. Of the several known Messerschmitt Bf l09’s used by Hannes Trautloft, this F-4 is the best photo documented machine. Color photos exist of an earlier F-2 with the all-yellow cowling and the single command chevron that he used during 1941. This F-4 flown by Trautloft during the Summer of 1942, features the armored windshield, the double command chevron with a short pointed bar and a long bar behind the cross. The large Green Heart emblem has a different arrangement of the Gruppen badges than other Trautloft aircraft. The white spinner has a 1/3 segment in black/green with 2 white rings. JG 54 was known for its non- standard camouflage schemes. This F-4 appears to have been painted in black-green/dark- green finish with yellow under cowling and under wing tips but does not have a yellow fuselage band.