Der Rächer. 1914. Bronze with golden brown patina. Laur 229. Schult 167. With name on base. Verso with the foundry mark: "H. Noack Berlin". From a complete edition of 30 casts. 44 x 58.3 x 21 cm (17.3 x 22.9 x 8.2 in). Cast by art foundry Noack, Berlin, presumably in the 1960/70s. Other copies are in possession of the following museums: Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge/Mass. Kunsthaus, Zurich. Folkwang Museum, Essen. Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Very fine cast of the early dynamic sculpture.
PROVENANCE: Private collection Brandenburg.
LITERATURE: (each presumably different copy) Bronzen von Ernst Barlach, Galerie Flechtheim, Berlin 1930, cat. no. 10. Ernst Barlach, ex. cat. Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen 1959, cat. no. 498. Ernst Barlach. Denkzeichen, ex. cat. Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum, Schloß Gottorf, Schleswig 1989, no. 17. Heinz Spielmann, Stiftung und Sammlung Rolf Horn, Schleswig 1995, no. 115. Anita Beloubek-Hammer, Ernst Barlach. Plastische Meisterwerke, Leipzig 1996, pp. 14, 66f. Elisabeth Laur, Der Bildhauer als Buchkünstler, in: Ernst Barlach. Kaviar statt Brot. Kurt Reutti. Sammler und Stifter, ex. cat. Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen 2001, pp. 29f. Ernst Barlach, Mystiker der Moderne, ex. cat. Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft, Hamburg 2003, p. 240. Ernst Barlach Retrospektive, The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto; The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kofu, Kyoto 2006, no. 85.
In a sketch from 1911/12 Ernst Barlach developed the basic conception of this sculpture, which he executed in gypsum in 1914 and in bronze in 1930. The motif of the 'Rächer' can also be found in the lithograph "Der heilige Krieg" from 1914 for the magazine "Kriegszeit". Different from the sculpture, the figure is shown here in frontal perspective. The menacing element of the hit is emphasized. The sculpture, however, unfolds an independent dynamic in its horizontal movement. Ernst Barlach develops the moment of the attack through an unusul posture of the leg and the cloak's pleats closing in on the sculpture's apex. The frontward inclined plinth adds additional impulse to the sculpture. The grim decisiveness on the face of the 'Rächer' and the sword in his hands leave no room for doubt regarding the statement of this unusual composition. All details about this plastic illustrate the willingness to fight for a just cause. This is both at the core of the expression and Ernst Barlach's heart matter.