Wilhelm Lehmbruck


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(b Meiderich, nr. Duisburg, 4 Jan. 1881; d Berlin, 25 Mar. 1919).

German sculptor. His early work was in a fairly conservative academic manner, but when he was living in Paris from 1910 to 1914 he developed a much more personal style, influenced by the formal simplifications of Archipenko, Brancusi, and Modigliani, although still essentially in the tradition of Rodin and Maillol. It is exemplified in the extremely attenuated forms, angular pose, and melancholic expression of his Kneeling Woman (1911, MoMA, New York). On the outbreak of the First World War he returned to Germany and worked in a hospital, the suffering he witnessed being reflected in the poignancy of his last works. The war brought him to a state of acute depression and he committed suicide in 1919. Lehmbruck often used marble, but he was by temperament a modeller rather than a carver, working in clay over a spindly armature, and several of his works were cast in artificial stone to preserve the texture of the clay. With Barlach he ranks as the outstanding German Expressionist sculptor. Lehmbruck also made etchings and lithographs, painted, and wrote poetry. There is a museum dedicated to him in Duisburg.

Subjects: Art.

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