Ernst Barlach

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Barlach, Ernst


Born Jan. 2, 1870, in Wedel, Schleswig-Holstein; died Oct. 24,1938, in Rostock. German sculptor, graphic artist, and writer.

Barlach studied at the arts and industrial school in Hamburg (1888–91), at the Academy of Arts in Dresden (from 1891), and in Paris (1895–96). In 1906 he visited Russia. After 1910 he worked in Güstrow. In Barlach’s creative work the plastic language of German Gothic art was reinterpreted in the spirit of expressionism. In his sculpture the strong internal movement, which permeates the stocky, generalized forms of the human body, is sharply contrasted with the reserved nature of the static composition, thereby creating great emotional tension by purely plastic means. Barlach worked primarily in wood. Humanistic and marked by a passionate rejection of militarism, Barlach’s art was persecuted in fascist Germany. Barlach was forbidden to work, and his works were confiscated or destroyed.

Barlach’s works include war memorials in cathedrals in Güstrow (today in the Antoniterkirche in Cologne; bronze, 1927) and in Magdeburg (wood, 1929); illustrations to his own drama The Poor Cousin (lithograph, 1919); and illustrations to Goethe’s Faust (woodcuts, 1923).


Das dichterische Werk; vols. 1–3. Munich, 1956–59.


Shmidt, Iu. “Ernst Barlakh.” Tvorchestvo, 1968, no. 7.
Carls, K. D. Ernst Barlach, 6th ed. Berlin, [1954].
Fechter, P. Ernst Barlach. Gütersloh, 1957.
Fühmann, F. Ernst Barlach. . . . Rostock, 1964.
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Greenhead College has been exchanging with Ernst Barlach Gymnasium since 1993.
They were brutally seized almost overnight from respectable civic art galleries, museums and private collections and hung like hostages on public display where the German populace was encouraged to sneer and revile masterworks by, among many others, Matisse, Egon Schiele, Emil Nolde, or Ernst Barlach.
The contrast in this room is provided by a small cabinet with drawings and watercolours by Ernst Barlach and Emil Nolde, both of whom also had National Socialist devotees.
This text presents a beautiful collection of drawings and other art by Ernst Barlach that draw on the Nibelungen, the royal family of the Burgundians who settled in Worms, Germany in the 5th century.
Finally, in 1923, Ernst Barlach does an expressionistic woodcarving entitled Faust and Mephistopheles (online).
Drawing upon unpublished materials at the Ernst Barlach Stiftung in Gustrow, Germany, this work serves both as a fitting tribute to Barlach, the man and the artist, and as a welcome complement to Paret's previous publications on German attitudes toward modernism in art, which began with his path-breaking monograph,The Berlin Secession (London, 1980), and continued with a collection of essays, German Encounters with Modernism, 1840-1945 (New York, 2001).
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, for example, invited German Expressionists, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, and Ernst Barlach to the inaugural opening of the Reich Chamber of Culture in 1933.
He is also a painter and graphic artist, thus continuing in the tradition of those Doppelbegabungen such as Ernst Barlach, Alfred Kubin, Gunter Grass, and Christoph Meckel.
It will, for instance, come as a surprise to students of Expressionism that the play Citizens of Calais was written by Ernst Barlach, not Georg Kaiser.
The exhibition acknowledges his stature as a teacher, as patron (while city architect), of Fritz Hoger's Chilehaus and of sculptors such as Ernst Barlach, as the author o Goethe's World View, Problems of the City and Hamburg's Housing Politics 1918-19, designer of English Arts and Crafts influenced furniture, printer, illustrator and architect of his own buildings, and he has been presented in th context of his European contemporaries.
Teachers from the Ernst Barlach Gymnasium school in Kirklees' twin town Kreis Unna gave 700 euros to Huddersfield New College to help support families in Tanzania who can not afford to send children to Moshi Technical School.