View Full Version : Three versions
08-13-2006, 09:28 PM
Every week, it seems, another family is putting up a website for their grandfather, the sculptor -- and this week I discovered the site for Kurt
There were many things to think about on his site -- but of special interest, I think, are the three versions he did of the same figure:
1930-1942-1959.........the subtle changes in design seem to follow the course of some very dramatic German history.
08-14-2006, 11:00 PM
Yes, an interesting evolution. Dare I say it...I like the first one best. He didn't improve on the idea or form, in my opinion, as he did two more versions. I don't think the move towards a greater degree of realism helped his cause. After looking at the rest of the site, though, it seems that the figure was not his strongest suit. He tended towards a stiffness in the forms, that even though his figures were anatomically sound, locked them into poses that were static and deadened.
He was an exceptionally perceptive portrait sculptor though and really excelled there. I think one or two are quite timeless. They are quite the opposite of his figures. They have an easy grace and softly nuanced execution. Thanks for the link.
08-15-2006, 02:39 AM
Thanks for the link, Mountshang. On the main site: I love the stylisation, figures just one or two steps removed from realism. Jason: I'm not sure about your point about stiffness of form. This seems to me to be part of the solidity and substantiality of the figures. They have a physical authority I like. I agree about the Cobbler piece. The first is better for not having been refined and classicised. I also like the bald head, the rough workman's trousers and boots, the austerity of the technique.
08-15-2006, 09:39 AM
Hi, I like the first one the best, but I think it's the photo and not necessarily the piece.
Have a nice day,
08-15-2006, 06:33 PM
I agree that the portraits are the best works, overall. The figures tend to be overstlyised, following a sort of Beaux-arts fashion. However, on the mason, I like the less-clothed second and third version. A tendency to the classical and not especially B-A.
08-15-2006, 11:20 PM
I mainly think it is the articulation of joints and other points where planes break that are unnaturally stiff and somewhat off in Schmid-Ehren's work. He may have been looking to give a stylized solidity to his figures (many from that time did), but he falls short in making them work...in my opinion.
You can see a successful use of this sort of stylization in Gustav Vigeland's later figures at Frogner Park in Oslo. As solid and stout as they are, they still possess an amazing amount of articulation in the subtle way he defines the plane breaks. And even though sometimes his figures have almost no dicernable joints, Vigeland will then use volume and surface contour to show the play of bone and muscle underneath. A small thing perhaps to some, but in my mind the difference between a sculptor who knows the form no matter what style he uses and one who might be out of their depth when straying from reality.
Compare the pictures below and see if you see what I mean. The first three are Schmid-Ehren's and the last two Vigeland's. The last one of Schmid-Ehren's is the best(it is also the one he stays closest to the models), but there are still some areas where it seems he is unsure about how to show the plane changes/articulations.....the popliteal fossa at the back of the man's knees, the man's awkward left arm, the man's abnormally flat hamstring area that has no discernable plane change, the missing band of richer on the woman's weight bearing leg, the articulation of her left forearm/wrist/hand, etc....
08-16-2006, 09:04 AM
Lots of interesting responses -- and lots of opinions that differ from mine !
I'm proud of myself for having started this thread -- but a bit ashamed that I can't add much more to it myself --- other than to suggest that the difference in styles of the pre-war --- war-time --- post-war work of the same sculptor can also be seen in other German sculptors of that era, especially Breker -- and I think that in all of them the war-time work is the worst -- and that bad quality is directly attributable to a very hands-on --- and very demented -- art director.
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