* 1886 Berlin
† 1972 Krailling
Rudolf Belling was born in Berlin in 1886. After a commercial training he completed an apprenticeship as modeller for small sculptures and arts and crafts at the Fortbildungs- und Handwerkerschule in Berlin between 1905 and 1907. In 1911 he decided to lend an academic base to his autodidactically continued studies as a sculptor and was accepted by Professor Peter Breuer at the academy of arts in Berlin without preliminary studies. In 1918 Belling founded together with Mies van der Rohe, Max Pechstein and Cesar Klein the artist association ‚Novembergruppe' in Berlin, where he worked in the board of directors until 1932. In 1919 his famous sculpture ‚Dreiklang' was executed, the first nonfigurative-abstract sculpture in the German speaking cultural area. After the abstract and constructivistic works of the early work, a series of plastic pictures came into existence between 1926 and 1932, e.g. the caricature-like portrait of the art dealer Alfred Flechtheim (1927) and the picture of the Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann (1932). In 1931 Belling joined the Preussische Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Invited to New York on the occasion of his first one-man show in 1935, he had the possibility to teach at a private art school. In 1936 he returned to Berlin, put the political situation forced him to leave his home-country. He was defamed ‚degenerate' by the Nazi-regime and forced to resign from the Preussische Akademie der Künste. Numerous works were destroyed, many designs and original models were lost. In 1937, Belling accepted the offer by the Turkish government to be appointed professor for sculpting at the academy of arts in Istanbul. The artist turned to a naturalistic-classic working style, but also still created purely abstract works. Against his hopes, Rudolf Belling was at first not able to return to Berlin after 1945. In 1955 he received the ‚Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz', in 1961 the 'Berliner Kunstpreis'. At the age of 80, in 1966, he returned to Germany and settled in Krailing near Munich. In his last year, he executed the bronze 'Blütenmotiv als Friedenssymbol' for the Olympic grounds in Munich. Even thoughz it was not erected, it became the international landmark of the Olympic Games of 1972.