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Arthur Volkmann

Arthur Volkmann

*  1851 Leipzig
† 1941 Geislingen an der Steige

On 28 August 1851, Artur (or Arthur) Joseph Wilhelm Volkmann was born in Leipzig. Even as a young boy Volkmann discovered his love for art, so that his parents supported his talent for drawing and creating plastics. From 1868 to 1973, he was taught sculpture by Ernst Julius Hähnel at the Dresden Art Academy. After temporarily serving in the military, he became a student of Albert Wolff in Berlin and was awarded a scholarship in Rome. Yet before leaving Dresden, he met the esthetician and patron Konrad Fiedler whose papers reflected Volksmann's undefined criticism of the German academical system. After arriving in Rome, he was introduced by Fiedler to the painter and mystic Hans von Marées who worked in complete isolation from any cultural activities. Artur Volkmann should be fascinated and influenced by Hans von Marées throughout the rest of his life. The years 1863-1873 were characterized by close cooperation between the two artists. During this time Volkmann was mainly occupied with translating the pictorial expression von Marées had found for his paintings to sculpture. This expression followed the harmonizing ideas of the ancient world and panentheism. In addition, Volkmann endeavored to learn the marble technique of freely quarrying out of the stone that was based on the ancient embossing idea. Until 1885 he created only a few busts and smaller reliefs which led to financial problems. As a result, Volkmann had to move to Germany for three years. However, his clients were not satisfied with his decision from 1882 to make marble sculptures in colors. So he returned to Rome in 1885 and another close cooperation with von Marées followed. The next two years they worked on realizing von Marées's idea of a complete artwork comprising architecture, painting and sculpture. Shortly before the death of his mentor Marées, Volkmann successfully finished two figures that lived up to Marées's creative principles of a sculpture "illusioning life". These figures are thought to be the prototypes of all of Volkmann's later figures. After von Marées's death in 1910, Artur Volkmann left Rome and was appointed professor at the Städelsche Kulturinstitut in Frankfurt. He surrounded himself with a number of students to pass on von Marées's artistic views and his ideology. However, the group did not last very long, so he additionally focused on painting. In 1920 he was offered to design drafts for Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (WMF), a tableware manufacturer, that should be used in mass production. However, Volkmann was absolutely dissatisfied with this cooperation and ended it in 1923. Despite all warnings Volkmann then left Frankfurt - accompanied by his student Karl Fetzer - to make a new start. They went to Basel where Volkmann hoped for some support by his old friend and patron Heinrich Wölfflin. Between 1923 and 1926 he predominantly created painti

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