Thanks to Robert Mileham linking me to the Reingold Collection
I discovered Heinz Warneke, and it turns out an exceptional book
has been written about his career by Mary Mullen Cunningham
in cooperation with the sculptor's family and students,
and especially his stepdaughter, Priscilla Waters Norton, who wrote:
I was raised to believe that Heinze Warneke was one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th Century. My mother Jessie said so and Heinz did not contradict her"
Well ... being born into the family of a sculptor and his devoted wife,
I can certainly relate to that !
The granite boars from 1929, shown above, might end up being my favorite piece
-- especially if I get to see them
-- which is actually possible since they entered
the Art Institute's collection in 1931
through a purchase award following an exhibition.
(although I fear they've been in the basement for at least the last 40 years)
As Ms. Norton wrote:
Look at the Wild Boars. There you will see the respective roles of Jessie and Heinz. Jessie the fierce female defending her territory and Heinz, siting, sizing up the situation before springing into action
(For those interested in the personal history here:
Jessie, born into a wealthy Philadelphia family,
was married into the St. Louis family that owned Purina Mills,
and met the younger sculptor when her husband commissioned decorative work from the German immigrant soon after his arrival in America.
A scandalous divorce and remarriage soon followed.)
But this post is about sculpture, not family,
and the above was done around 1913
after he had won admittance to
the Berlin Kunstgewerbeschule (or Arts and Crafts school)
following a competitive 2-week examination.
This was something of an elite state academy
(a fellow student that year was George Grosz),
the class size was small (possibly only 13),
and those admitted were, as you can see above,
already had to be quite accomplished.
It's director, Bruno Paul
was a painter and active participant in the German Workbund,
a movement that promoted collaboration between art, crafts, and industry
and sculpture students, like Warneke, would also spend time
working in ceramic factories, foundries, and tool shops.
Emphasis was also placed on the skills practiced in architecture.
His earlier training consisted of a two-year apprenticeship
as a silversmith at Wilkins and Sons Silver Factory
and evening classes at the city art school in Bremen,
where he studied life drawing.
This is another piece from his art school years,
and what you can notice is that sculptural qualities are appearing
as well as well anatomical detail.
(And -- I'm really wondering whether most of their models were male.
German sculpture of this period certainly seems to place greater
emphasis on the masculine than say, the French or Italian)
But I guess not all of the models were men,
here's his entry into the Prix de Rome
competition of 1915.
I'm not surprised it lost,
this view seems as tired and bored as the model,
(though I am surprised that the German art world
conducted this contest at all after the war began)
The life-modeling instructor was Wilhelm Haverkamp
(not much on the net yet about him)
and the pieces shown at the top were done in his class
- but it seems that the most influential instructor at the school in those years,
was the young Joseph Wackerle
( who would later get some important commissions from the National Socialists.)
Here's a Wackerle piece that
would probably have been considered
very modern in its day,
and it's feeling for forms in space
seems to have left a permanent impression
on young Heinz:
This is a Warneke piece done soon after the war
(which he survived by working in a cemetery,
supervising those prisoners of war
who had the skill to carve tombstones
under his official direction.
Obviously, Heinz was born under a lucky star !)
Another influential teacher at the school wasKarl Blossfeldt
who, although a professor of sculpture,
became more famous for his close-up photographs of
plant structures -- as they might then be
applied to sculptural ornament.
(we had Louis Sullivan moving in a similar
direction here in Chicago -
where it was called
But I guess it must also be recorded
that the school had an anatomy instuctor,
Maximilian Schafer (1851-1916)
who required students to learn the names,
positions, and actions of all the bones, muscles, and tendons.
In the early 1920's,
he moved to America,
and became best known as an animalier
But he also did some nice small figures
a few nice large ones
I especially like this stone piece,
and due to his breadth of his training
he could work in many materials
I'm less fond of his public statuary,
these things feel so formal and tight
Sometimes, I more enjoy his ornamental wood carving
He probably had as many different kinds
of sculpture commissions as one could have --
including lots of work in the National Cathedral,
where he designed as well as supervised
several programs of stone carving.
though I prefer his work at the National Zoo !
The point here ...
that I think this German program of art education,
(even if it did not prepare
young Heinz to take
the most important step in his career,
which was to marry such a supportive,
and talented, wife.
whose sketch of her loving husband
is shown above.)
many of its graduates went on
to make monuments for the National Socialists,
and that's why this approach to art education
was tanked after the war.
Along with the "Wild Boars" shown at the top,
these "Hissing Geese" of 1926 (12" high)
have been in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
but the museum's database
has no record of either one EVER
being on display.