Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture ‘The Book Reader’ (1936), reduction in bronze


Ernst Barlach:
Sculpture ‘The Book Reader’ (1936), reduction in bronze


Order-nr. IN-689605

Short description

ars mundi exclusive edition | limited, 980 copies | numbered | signed | bronze | handmade | stamped | reduction | format 11 x 24 x 17,5 cm (W/H/D) | numbered authenticity and limited edition certificate

Ernst Barlach: Sculpture ‘The Book Reader’ (1936), reduction in bronze

Ernst Barlach’s book reader is the cornerstone of the modern art.

The motif of the reader is the key motif in the works of Barlach which he already studied in the lithograph ‘Freed from all suffering is he to whom time is like eternity and eternity like time’ from the year 1916 and on a charcoal drawing from the year 1922. The motif got some particular density in the spring of 1936 in the sculpture ‘The Book Reader’.

‘The Book Reader’ is completely absorbed in his reading, he radiates concentration and meditative harmony. He lives in his own world: ‘His back, a spherical shell, seems to be the shield from disturbing, it shelters the intimacy and the solitude of the reader, the conditions of any intellectual effort’.
Excited about Ernst Barlach’s masterful representation of a reading man, Bertolt Brecht described the work in such a way: ‘A seated man, hunched over, holding a book in his heavy hands. He reads curiously, confidently, critically, he clearly seeks some solutions to the urgent problems in the book (...)I like better ‘The Book Reader’ than Rodin's famous ‘Thinker’ which shows only the difficulty of thinking. Barlach’s sculpture is more realistic, more particular ...‘

Sculpture copied directly from the original and reduced (reduction). Fine bronze, cast by hand using the lost wax casting method. Format 11 x 24 x 17.5 cm (W/H/D). Limited edition of 980 copies, individually numbered and provided with the signature ‘E. Barlach’ acquired from the original as well as the foundry stamp. ars mundi exclusive edition, brought out in cooperation with the Ernst Barlach Society. Delivery with the numbered authenticity and limited edition certificate.

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1870-1938, Sculptor, writer and artist

Ernst Barlach 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.

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.

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Sand casting

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.

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.

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.

Artistic movement that replaced the Impressionism in the early 20th century.

Expressionism is the German form of the art revolution in painting, graphics and sculpture, which found its precursor in the works of Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin in the late 19th century. The Expressionists tried to advance to the basic elements of painting. With vibrant, unbroken colors in large areas and with the emphasis on line and the resulting targeted suggestive expressiveness they fought against the artistic taste established by bourgeoisie.

The most important representatives of Expressionism were the founders of "Die Brücke" (The Bridge): Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein, Otto Mueller and Franz Marc, August Macke, among others.

Masters of Viennese Expressionism are Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

The Fauvism is the French form of Expressionism.

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