Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Inclined Head of a Woman


Not on display
Wilhelm Lehmbruck 1881–1919
Original title
Gesenkter Frauenkopf
Cast stone on wooden base
Object: 425 x 419 x 248 mm
Bequeathed by the Earl of Sandwich 1962

Display caption

The sculpture was based on an earlier full-length standing figure made by Lehmbruck in Paris in 1910. The large sculpture, which is generaly regarded as Lehmbruck's first mature work, represented a woman, naked except for a cloth wrapped around her legs. The model for the piece was the artist's wife Anita. It was Lehmbruck's practice to base new sculptures on parts of larger works. Here he has re-used the head and shoulders of original figure to create a smaller work of a more intimate scale.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Wilhelm Lehmbruck 1881-1919

T00543 Inclined Head of a Woman 1910

Inscribed 'LEHMBRUCK' on sitter's l. shoulder
Cast stone, 16 3/4 x 16 1/2 x 9 3/4 (42.5 x 42 x 25) excluding wooden base
Bequeathed by the Earl of Sandwich 1962
Prov: With or through Buchholz Gallery, New York; the Earl of Sandwich, Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon, 1937
Exh: Lehmbruck-Modigliani, Buchholz Gallery, New York, November 1937 (4) as 'Woman's Head' 1910; 20th Century German Art, New Burlington Galleries, London, July 1938 (138)
Lit: Paul Westheim, Wilhelm Lehmbruck (Potsdam 1922), p.63, bronze cast repr. p.40; August Hoff, Wilhelm Lehmbruck (Berlin 1936), pp.36, 115 and cast-stone version from the Museum Folkwang, Essen, repr. p.21; Catalogue of the Paintings, Sculpture, Pottery, Porcelain, Glass and Objets d'Art in the Collection of the Earl of Sandwich, Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon (privately duplicated 1957), p.31; August Hoff, Wilhelm Lehmbruck: Leben und Werk (Berlin 1961), p.160

This is part of a full-length standing figure, naked except for a cloth wrapped round the legs, from the thighs downwards, which Lehmbruck made in Paris in 1910 and which is usually regarded as his first mature major work. The model was his wife Anita. It was his usual practice to take sections such as heads or torsos from his larger works, and there is also another version of this 'Standing Female Figure' in the form of a torso extending down to just above the knees, but with the arms cut off.

According to the artist's son Guido Lehmbruck (letter of 2 July 1975), the works exhibited at the Buchholz Gallery in 1937 did not come direct from the estate but consisted mainly of pieces which had been confiscated from German museums as 'degenerate art'. Lord Sandwich himself noted in the catalogue of his collection that this head was formerly in the museum at Essen. However the only reference to Essen amongst the documents relating to its purchase is a letter from the agent who bought the work on his behalf in New York, pointing out that it is reproduced in August Hoff's monograph, in which the reproduction is of the Essen version; and the Director of the Museum Folkwang at Essen says that for some reason their head was never confiscated and is still in the Museum. August Hoff listed in 1936 two cast-stone versions in German museums, one in the Museum Folkwang at Essen and the other in the Kunsthalle at Bremen, but the Bremen version also survived the Nazi period and is still there. In the 1961 edition of his book he lists these two works at Essen and Bremen and also two further cast-stone versions at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, and the Stadt. Kunstsammlung, Duisburg, as well as bronzes at Wuppertal and Wiesbaden.

According to Reinhold Heller (in the catalogue of the Lehmbruck exhibition at the National Gallery, Washington, in 1972, p.36), most of Lehmbruck's works created prior to 1918 were cast under the supervision of the artist or his wife in stone, plaster or terracotta; because of the expense, they were cast in bronze usually only after a commission had been received. After his suicide, a few further stone casts and a number of bronzes were made by his widow, mostly as early as 1919 or 1920.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.421-2, reproduced p.421


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