Mädchen mit aufgestütztem Bein
Bronze. Height 64 cm. Signed 'W LEHMBRUCK PARIS' both verso and lower left. Posthumous cast.
In the years following his studies at the Düsseldorf academy of art from 1901 to 1906, Wilhelm Lehmbruck was seeking new and appropriately modern expressive possibilities for his sculptures. He found decisive sources of inspiration in Hans von Marées and Adolf von Hildebrand but, above all, in the French and Belgian sculptors Constantin Meunier, Auguste Rodin and Georges Minne. Thus, from 1906, Lehmbruck regularly spent time in Paris, before making it the permanent centre of his life and work in 1910. In the French metropolis he established personal contact with Rodin, met Aristide Maillol and introduced his definitive, austere style with his “Große Stehende” of 1910/11.
“Mädchen mit aufgestütztem Bein” was created at the threshold of Lehmbruck’s elongated and introverted sculptures. This bronze also depicts a standing female figure but, unlike the works that would follow, the woman has taken on a complex, twisting pose. While her raised leg is shifted to the left, her upper body turns to the right as her head moves back in the opposite direction again. This unstable pose makes it reminiscent of a “figura serpentinata”, the twisting figures of Italy’s high and late Renaissance. However, there is an even more pronounced link with the French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who became famous for his dynamic sculptures at the Paris Opera. Taking in all of these influences, Lehmbruck has created one of his rare, sensually playful nudes whose introverted gaze already points ahead to later works like the “Große Sinnende” (1913). Coming from Cologne’s renowned Haubrich collection, the sculpture possesses a superb provenance.
Schubert 54 B.b.3.
Josef Haubrich Collection, Cologne (acquired 1925), since then in family ownership, Argentina; Math. Lempertz'sche Kunstversteigerung, Köln, Auktion 626, Kunst des XX. Jahrhunderts, 28 November 1987, Lot 557; Private collection, Rhineland/Bavaria.
Wilhelm Lehmbruck, exhib. cat. Gerhard Marcks-Stiftung Bremen, Bremen 2000, cat. 6; Katharina Lepper, Mädchen mit aufgestütztem Bein, in: Wilhelm Lehmbruck 1881-1919. Das plastische und malerische Werk. Poems and Thoughts, exhib. cat. Foundation Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg, Cologne 2005, pp. 122f.