Ernst Barlach

German (1870 - 1938)
Ernst Barlach Schreitende Frau or Schreitende Nonne [Walking Woman or Walking Nun] 1909

Biography

Born 1870
Died 1938
Nationality German

Born near Hamburg, Barlach was a sculptor, printmaker and writer. From around 1896, he worked in an art nouveau style. However, after visiting his brother in Russia in 1906, he was struck by the solid and sturdy figures of the Russian peasants. Inspired by this and by medieval German carving, Barlach developed his own figure style. He made his first wooden sculptures in 1907. Although associated with the expressionist artists, Barlach stands slightly apart from them: he rarely distorted the human body beyond simplifying it.

Glossary terms

  • The term Degenerate Art (German: Entarte Kunst), was coined in the 1930s by the Nazis to ridicule modern art that did not fit with Hitler’s vision.  Confiscated by the German government, exhibitions of "Degenerate" artworks took place in cities including Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. In addition to this ridicule, the Mazi's forbade artists branded with the term from exhibiting or holding teaching posts.

  • A print made from an image carved into a block of wood cut along the grain. Blank areas are cut away leaving an image in relief from which a print is made.