The Sculpture Show

  • 17th December 2011 − 24th June 2012 | Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art)

German Sculpture Between the Wars

The works shown here, by Ernst Barlach, Käthe Kollwitz and to a lesser extent Georg Kolbe, reflect some of the anxiety felt in Germany between the two World Wars. Suffering was the main subject of both Barlach and Kollwitz. For Barlach, this was partly inspired by a trip to Russia in 1906, where he witnessed extreme poverty and misery.

Barlach was an outspoken opponent of the Nazi party, which came to power in 1933. When Kollwitz was forced to resign her teaching post at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Barlach stated in a radio interview: ‘When an artist may not create art because the realization of his most burning wish is prohibited everywhere by the ideological catechism of those in authority, this must be regarded as degrading’.

Almost immediately, his works, and those of Kollwitz and others, began to be removed from German museums. By 1939, nearly 400 of his sculptures, prints and drawings had been withdrawn from display. Barlach and Kollwitz were also banned from exhibiting their work in Germany. Barlach died in 1938 and Kollwitz in 1945, just before the end of the war.

These works are on display in Room 6.

Next: Geometry of Fear: British Sculpture of the 1950s

Das schlimme Jahr 1937 [The Terrible Year 1937] Ernst Barlach


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