Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture "Shepherd in the Storm" (1908), Reduction in Bronze

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Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture "Shepherd in the Storm" (1908), Reduction in Bronze

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ars mundi special edition | Limited, 980 copies | Numbered | Signature | Foundry stamp | Certificate | Bronze | Patinated | Reduction | Format 27,5 x 25 x 13 cm (H/W/D) | Weight 4,8 kg

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Ernst Barlach: Sculpture "Shepherd in the Storm" (1908), Reduction in Bronze

Despite all the oppositions: this is Ernst Barlach’s “Shepherd in the Storm.” Ars mundi special collection, issues in collaboration with the Bremen Art Gallery.

Ernst Barlach belongs to the most important representatives of realism and expressionism. He received the education in Hamburg, Dresden, and Paris. After one of his travels to Russia in 1907, he created one of his first wood plastic works and bronze figures, which belong to his most important works till today. One of them is the “Shepherd in The Storm” from 1908, which was originally cut in the basswood and became the first important work of Barlach.

The bearded shepherd walks with the lowered head against the wind. With his right hand he presses his flat hat on his forehead, with his left hand he pulls the hem of the wide, bulging coat close to his body. Tightly fastened to his heels, he is followed by a dog who seeks protection between the shepherd's legs and under the waving mantle. In a preliminary drawing, which is now privately owned, Barlach had already prepared the motif a year earlier. In the sculpture, the man and the animal merge on the almost oval plinth to create a triangular composition that seems to push forward against the wind's resistance like a ship's bow. The softly vibrating contours of the mantle enliven the structure of the group of figures.

Starting from his early works Barlach took up the topic of a human in different life conditions. The plastic work “The Shepherd in The Storm” is the first in the row of Barlach’s work where people are reflected in opposition to the external forces. The wind and the storm are the symbols of super-human powers. The painter and patron Leopold Bierman bought this sculpture in 1908 on the 16th exhibition of the Berlin Secession and presented it to the Bremen art hall. The “Shepherd in the Storm” is one of the first works of Barlach presented in an open exhibition.

The The sculpture “The Shepherd in The Storm”

Sculpture “The Shepherd in the Storm”: original: wood catalog number II 140.
The fine bronze, cast by hand by in lost wax casting and patinated. The shape was taken directly from the original and reduced (reduction). The limited edition of 980 copies, each numbered and possess the signature “E.Barlach” copied from the original. Ars mundi special edition, issued in collaboration with the Bremen Art Hall. With a numbered authenticity and limitation certificate. Format 27,5 x 25 x 13 cm (H/W/D). Weight 4,8 kg.

"The Bremen Art Hall possessed one of the widest collections of expressionist sculptor Ernst Barlach with numerous prominent sculptures and collected printed graphics. We are happy to share with the world the reproduction of his work “The Shepherd in the Storm.” The sculpture was created in 1908 and presented to the museum a year later. It symbolizes for me the universal idea that hurdles belong to life. The easy way is not always the right one if you want to achieve your goals or perform your duties.” (Prof. Dr. Christoph Grunenberg, Director of the Bremen Art Hall)

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1870-1938, Sculptor, writer and artist

Ernst Barlach was born on January 2,1870 in Wedel and died on August 24, 1938 in Rostok. He took the outstanding position in the German expressionism. As a graphic, painter and a writer and especially as an architect Barlach created the mileposts of the history of arts. The plastic works of Barlach search for the borderline experience and its expression and the special effect of his works lies in that. These are works of the multilayered meaning, in which the knowledge of a human is put in the foreground, what stands over “me” and “things” of the world.

The intention of Barlach roots in the deep, in something inner. He underwent the war and the difficult living conditions and experienced suffering and happiness. And also in the center of his creation there stands a human: Ecce homo.

“I request nothing else as bad and right to be an artist. This is my belief that everything that is not expressed through the work, through forms can pass in the sphere of something different. My desire and creative impulse circle round the problem of the sense of life and the other great mountains of the spiritual area.” (Ernst Barlach)

In 1925 Ernst Barlach became the member of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. In 1933 he became a member of the Peace Class of the military order "Pour le Mérite". In 1937 the national socialists declined his works as the “degraded art” at all the open collections and places. On October 24, 1938 Ernst Barlach died in Rostok. Today the works of Ernst Barlach became a tight part of the leading museums and collections and achieved – where available – the auction records.

“The Singing Man” was the most famous statue of Ernst Barlach, an icon of modern. He decorated the book illustrations and posters, the early edition is the important part of collections in the great museums of the world, e.g. the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

A plastic work of sculptural art made of wood, stone, ivory, bronze or other metals.

While sculptures from wood, ivory or stone are made directly from the block of material, for bronze casting a working model is prepared at first. Usually it is made of clay or other easily shaped materials.

The prime time of sculpture after the Roman antiquity was the Renaissance. Impressionism gave a new impulse to the sculptural arts. Also the contemporary artists, such as Jorg Immendorf, Andora, and Markus Lupertz enriched the sculpture with outstanding works.

An alloy of copper with other metals (especially with tin) used since ancient times.

Bronze casting:

When casting bronze, artist usually applies the lost-wax technique which is dating back more than 5000 years. It's the best, but also the most complex method of producing sculptures.

Sculpture "The Book Reader" by Ernst Barlachs is shown here as an example:

Ernst Barlach: Sculpture 'The book reader'

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 1

First, the artist forms a model of his sculpture. It is embedded in a liquid silicone rubber composition. Once the material has solidified, the model is cut out. The liquid wax is poured in the negative mould. After cooling down, the wax casting is removed from the mould, provided with sprues and dipped into ceramic mass. The ceramic mass is hardened in a kiln, and the wax flows out (lost mould).

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 2Now we finally have the negative form, into which the 1400 ° C hot molten bronze is poured. After the bronze had cooled down, the ceramic shell is broken off and the sculpture comes to light.

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 3Now the sprues are removed, the surfaces are polished, patinated and numbered by the artist himself or, to his specifications, by a specialist. Thus, each casting becomes an original work

For lower-grade bronze castings, the sand casting method is often used which, however, does not achieve the results of more complex lost wax technique in terms of surface characteristics and quality.

Related links:
Sand casting

Designation for an art object (sculpture, installation), which is produced according to the will of the artist in multiple copies in a limited and numbered edition.

Artist's multiple contributed to "democratization" of art as the work was made available and affordable for a wider audience.

Graphic or sculpture edition that was initiated by ars mundi and is available only at ars mundi or at distribution partner licensed by ars mundi.