Ernst Barlach - Der Zweifler - image-1

Lot 39 Dα

Ernst Barlach - Der Zweifler

Auction 1200 - overview Cologne
01.06.2022, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 35.000 € - 45.000 €
Result: 32.760 € (incl. premium)

Ernst Barlach

Der Zweifler

Bronze. Height 50.5 cm. Signed 'E.Barlach' and with foundry mark "H.NOACK BERLIN" verso lower right. One of a total of 46 casts mentioned by Laur. - An even gold-brown patina.

The “Zweifler” from 1930 is one of Ernst Barlach’s most striking and exceptionally personal sculptures. The figure, which the artist also depicted in a version in wood (Laur 612) shortly before his death in 1937, can be read as a reflection of Barlach’s own mental state – burdened by the increasing nationalistic denunciations of him since the late 1920s.
He had already developed the basic form in a drawing of 1912 and then in his lithograph “Der Blinde” (Laur Druckgraphik 52) of 1918. This image appeared on the cover of Adolf von Hatzfeld’s autobiographical novella “Franziskus”, one of the most important works of German expressionism: von Hatzfeld himself had lost his sight in 1913. The lithograph accordingly presents the figure with his eyes covered by a strip of cloth, but Barlach discarded this in the later sculptural version.
The robe combines the kneeling body of the “Zweifler” into a unified whole. The lowered head tilted slightly to the side, the face marked by anxious tension and the arms stretched out against the body with the hands cramped together reveal an inner conflict. The entire composition of this expressionist masterpiece very intensely and clearly conveys the struggle of a figure veritably wrestling with himself.

Catalogue Raisonné

Laur 470; Schult 385


Lempertz Cologne, Auction 508, 4.12.1969, lot 4064; Collection Dr. and Mrs. Jansen, North Rhine-Westphalia; thenceforth family property


I.a. Elisabeth Laur, Exkurs: Bronzeplastiken im Werk Barlachs, in: Ernst Barlach. Das plastische Werk, Ernst Barlach Stiftung Güstrow 2006, cf. p. 43, 45; Volker Probst, Die Bronzen im Werk Ernst Barlachs, in: Posthume Güsse, Bilanz und Perspektiven, Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Berlin/Munich, 2009, cf. p. 107, p. 109 ff.; Volker Probst, "Die Flechtheimsche Herrlichkeit verging, von Cassirers ist keinerlei Förderung zu erwarten…", Ernst Barlach-Alfred Flechtheim, in: Sprung in den Raum, Skulpturen bei Alfred Flechtheim, Georg Kolbe Museum, Wädenswil 2017, cf. p. 363, 374 ff.


I.a. Berlin 1931/1932 (Galerie Alfred Flechtheim), Christmas 1931 - Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Belling, Renée Sintenis, cat. no. 18 ("Der kniende Mann") with illus. p. 5; New York 1938 (Galerie Buchholz); Berlin 1948 (Galerie Franz), cat. no. 25, p. 22, with illus. p. 17; Hamburg 1948 (Galerie Hoffmann), Ernst Barlach Gedächtnisausstellung zum 10jährigen Todestag, cat. no. 18; Düsseldorf 1951 (Galerie Alex Vömel), Ernst Barlach, cat. no. 20; Kassel 1955 (Documenta I), cat. no. 23; Bremen 1959 (Kunsthalle), Ernst Barlach, cat. no. 38; Schleswig 1989 (Landesmuseum Schloss Gottorf), Ernst Barlach. Denkzeichen, cat. no. 62; Bergen/Güstrow 2000 (Kunstmuseum/Ernst Barlach Stiftung), Ernst Barlach. Ein Graphiker und Bildhauer des deutschen Expressionismus, cat. no. 95