Ernst Barlach - Der Buchleser (Lesender Mann im Wind) - image-1

Lot 34 Dα

Ernst Barlach - Der Buchleser (Lesender Mann im Wind)

Auction 1200 - overview Cologne
01.06.2022, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 40.000 € - 50.000 €
Result: 42.840 € (incl. premium)

Ernst Barlach

Der Buchleser (Lesender Mann im Wind)

Bronze. Height 45 cm. Signed 'Barlach' and with foundry mark "H. NOACK BERLIN" verso on lower edge of seat. One of 31 unnumbered casts created after 1939 alongside three lifetime casts and a zinc cast. - A fine, vivid copper-brown patina.

From 1910 Barlach’s main body of work was strongly influenced by the Gothic sculptures in the churches of his native Northern Germany. He translated the formal principles he saw there into his own expressive idiom. In doing so, he made use of specific compositions from medieval works of sacred art, but without necessarily adopting their iconographic content. He created sculptures which possess a timeless expressive power and visualise fundamental statements of human existence. In a letter from 1930, the artist would already make a remark displaying an almost universal influence on his work: “You are right in saying you feel that I have my eye on raising up and inner composure, the crystallisation of a power out of a world of turmoil; I even believe I should not deny a kind of pride, which confronts an incomprehensibly difficult occurrence – but for me, of course, the one is inconceivable without the other. [...] In itself, rising up deserves neither praise nor admiration; it is only the weight resisting its occurrence that defines its worth” (Ernst Barlach to Fritz Schuhmacher, Oberbaudirektor für Hamburg, Güstrow, 8 December 1930, Briefe II 242).
The figure of the “Buchleser” from 1936 – also entitled “Lesender Mann im Wind” – presents a self-contained, unified entity; pose and gaze are entirely oriented towards his reading. The slightly billowed drapery of his lap and the dishevelled hair can be interpreted as the effects of the wind, but also as subtle signs of inner agitation.

Catalogue Raisonné

Laur 600; Schult I, 473


Galerie Grosshennig, Düsseldorf; collection, North Rhine-Westphalia; private collection, South Germany


I.a. Gert von der Osten, Bildwerke in der Landesgalerie Hannover, Hannover 1957, cat. no. 443; Friedrich Droß (ed.), Ernst Barlach, Die Briefe II, 1925-1938, Munich 1969, p. 859; Volker Probst (ed.), 10 Jahre Ernst Barlach, Stiftung Güstrow, Güstrow 2004, cat. no. 27


I.a. Bremen 1959 (Kunsthalle Bremen), Ernst Barlach, cat. no. 44; Hamburg 1977 (Ernst Barlach Haus), Foundation Hermann F. Reemtsma, cat. no. 67; Schleswig 1995, cat. no. 128; Bergen/Güstrow 2000 (Bergen Kunstmuseum/Ernst Barlach Stiftung Güstrow), Ernst Barlach. Ein Graphiker und Bildhauer des deutschen Expressionismus, cat. no. 100