- Wilhelm Lehmbruck
- TORSO EINES JUNGEN WEIBES
(TORSO OF A YOUNG WOMAN)
- inscribed Lehmbruck
- cast stone
Kurt Badt, Germany (acquired probably circa 1920)
Private Collection, Switzerland (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie's, London, 25th June 2001, lot 25)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg (ed.), Wilhelm Lehmbruck Sammlung, Plastik - Malerei, Recklinghausen, 1964, illustration of another cast p. 39
Reinhold Heller, The Art of Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Washingon, D.C., 1972, no. 11, illustration of another cast
Dietrich Schubert, Die Kunst Lehmbrucks, Worms, 1981, no. 119, illustration of another cast pl. 73
Christoph Brockhaus (ed.), Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Gotha, Berlin & Leipzig, 1987, illustration of another cast p. 183
Dietrich Schubert, Die Kunst Lehmbrucks, Worms, 1990, illustration of a bronze cast opposite p. 89
Roland März et.al., Kunst in Deutschland 1905-1937 - Sammlung der Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1992, illustration of another cast p. 97
Dietrich Schubert, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Catalogue raisonné der Skulpturen 1898-1919, Worms, 2001, no. 52, illustrations of other casts pp. 195-198
Martina Rudloff & Dietrich Schubert (ed.), Wilhelm Lehmbruck (exhibition catalogue), Bremen & Mannheim, 2000-01, no. 9a, illustration of another cast p. 71
Dietrich Schubert, 'In ihrer wunderbaren Gusshaut', in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16th June 2001, illustrated p. 57
Executed in Paris in 1910, Torso eines jungen Weibes belongs to a pivotal period in Lehmbruck's œuvre, marked by a search for the ideal form rather than for naturalistic representation. Like most of his sculptures from this period, the present work is based on the artist's wife Anita, whom he married in 1908. Nevertheless, the exact rendering of his model plays a secondary part in Lehmbruck's creative process. His pursuit of Classical beauty is visible not only in the proportionate rendering of the woman's body, but also in the suggestion of the contrapposto posture and the subtle use of drapery around her hips. With her graceful and beautifully proportioned torso and her head slightly tilted to one side, the nude figure conveys a sense of innocence and pensiveness while at the same time emanating a subtle sexual tension and sensuality.
After studying at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, Lehmbruck moved to Paris in 1910. There he frequented the Café du Dôme, where he met sculptors such as Brancusi, Archipenko and Modigliani and was also introduced to the process of stone casting, a technique already practised by Brancusi at the time. With its diversity of stimulation and its atmosphere pulsating with ever new artistic ideas, Paris was the ideal arena for Lehmbruck to develop his style. He was an admirer of Rodin's work since 1904 and met Aristide Maillol in 1910, and Torso eines jungen Weibes is a beautiful example of the kind of the influence of their art on Lehmbruck. Dietrich Schubert observed about the artist's admiration for Maillol: 'Like Maillol, Lehmbruck became fascinated with the introvert qualities of a figure whereby he concentrated on portraying his models in a composed, sensual state being at one with their spiritual centre' (D. Schubert, op. cit., 1990, p. 118, translated from German).
The present work once belonged to the distinguished German art historian Kurt Badt (1890-1973), who wrote on a range of subjects, from Old Master and Baroque painters and sculptors, to contemporary artists, including Lehmbruck. His essay Die Plastik Wilhelm Lehmbrucks, published in 1920, was one of the first important studies on the artist. There are only nine recorded stone casts of Torso eines jungen Weibes, five of which are now housed in important museum collections: Nationalgalerie, Berlin; the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg; Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig; Kunsthmuseum, Basel and the Neue Staatsgalerie, Munich. This work is closely related to the full-length version of the standing nude, Grosse Stehende (fig. 1).
Fig. 1, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Grosse Stehende, 1910, stone cast, Kunsthalle, Mannheim