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The present cast of Torso der Schreitenden, one of the most important sculptures executed by Lehmbruck, was the only work of art chosen by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the interior of his famous Tugendhat House in Brno (fig. 1), now in the Czech Republic. Along with the Barcelona Pavilion it is considered van der Rohe's most important work of Modernist architecture (fig. 3).  Although conceived circa 1914, nearly 15 years before the design of the Tugendhat House in 1928, Lehmbruck's torso made a perfect complement to the Modernist style. The gracefulness created by the elongation of the figure and the sinuous curves of the nude female form coincide perfectly with the curves of the chairs and the rising and falling patterns of the onyx wall where the sculpture was placed in the house (figs. 2 & 4).\nMies van der Rohe believed strongly in the necessity of incorperating works of sculpture creatively into the interior setting of the house.  He believed that 'artistic expression is a manifestation of the unity of design and material... In the great epochs of cultural history this was done by architects as a matter of course and, no doubt, without conscious reflection' (van der Rohe, Less is more, Zurich, 1986, p.146).  Thus, when he sent the Tugendhats his designs for the furniture to be used in the house, he also included a drawing of the large room featuring only one decorative element - a sculpture to be placed in front of the onyx wall.  Initially planned to be a Maillol, similar to the sculpture placed in Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion designed also in 1928, the Tugendhats and Mies van der Rohe eventually settled on the present torso by Wilhelm Lehmbruck.\nFritz und Grete Tugendhat, owners of a Brno textile factory, stood firmly by their Modernist aesthetic ideals, asserting that their house was not only practically designed, but also true art.  In a response to Justus Bier, a major contemporary critic, Tugendhat cites the Lehmbruck piece, explaining that the sculpture is highlighted by its space in an unusual way, 'as is the case with the personal lives of the inhabitants, who can feel free to an extent never experienced before... Whenever I let these rooms and all they contain take their effect, I am overcome by the feeling that this is beauty, this is truth' (Tegethoff, Hammer-Tugendhat (eds.), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe- The Tugendhat House, New York, 2000, p. 37).\nTorso der Schreitenden is one of the most important sculptures in Lehmbruck's oeuvre.  Wilhelm Lehmbruck became one of the most prominent German Expressionist sculptors until his untimely death in 1919.  His works were extensively exhibited, including the Cologne Sonderbund and the Berliner Sezession (1912), and finally, his Grosse Kniende and Grosse Stehende were exhibited in 1913 in New York, making him the only German sculptor represented at the Armory Show.\nThe present work is the embodiment of Lehmbruck's mature style.  His use of a nude figure with a graceful, light body and an elegantly elongated neck supporting a head turned to the side, conveys a sense of innocence and pensiveness while simultaneously emanating a smooth sexual tension and sensuality.  The medium of the cast stone encapsulates many of the traits that became Lehmbruck's defining sculptural style and captures his unique approach to the female body.\n\nDue to Nazi occupation, the Tugendhats were forced to leave their house only eight years after it was completed.  Fritz Tugendhat stayed in Brno to settle business matters, which helped him save some of the  house's original furnishings, including the famous Tugendhat and Brno chairs.  These were eventually given to the Tugendhat children and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Torso der Schreitenden was returned to the Tugendhat family in 2006.\nInscribed W.LEHMBRUCK


Cast stone


Wilhelm Lehmbruck


Height: 95.5cm., 37 5/8 in.


Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, Wolf Tugendhat and Wolf Tegethoff, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Das Haus Tugendhat, Berlin, 1998, illustrated pp. 47-48 Dietrich Schubert, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Catalogue Raisonné der Skulpturen, 1898-1919, Worms, 2001, no. 75 A 3 


Estate of the artist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Berlin (most probably commissioned from the above by 1929) Fritz and Grete Tugendhat, Brno (acquired from the above circa 1930; until 1939) Confiscated by the Nazis in 1939 Stored at Moravska Galerie, Brno (until 2006) Restituted to the heirs of Fritz and Grete Tugendhat in 2006




Conceived circa 1914 and cast in the 1920s.


Property from the Collection of the late Fritz and Grete Tugendhat, Brno


1881 - 1919

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