Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Michael Werner | New York

Perhaps erroneously and unfairly, one expects to find signs of Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s suicide in his sculptures. His figures, their eyes closed in introspection, seem depressed. In the early female figures (ca. 1910–12) this depressiveness “compromises” the fullness, indeed plenitude, of their bodies, producing a subliminally unbearable contrast. By 1913 the introspection had attenuated the female body, as though melancholy were slowly consuming it, transforming it into pure spirit.

In three sculptures each entitled Head of Pensive Large Female Figure (all 1913–14), meditation and pain seem to converge at an ineffable depth. In some cases the eyes are hollowed, as though the figure had completely withdrawn into itself. The neck becomes an abstract pedestal for the head, which in turn has been elongated into an abstract oval with a pointed chin; the features stand in ritual relationship to one

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