Michael Werner Gallery
The first major Wilhelm Lehmbruck exhibition in the U.S. in more than two decades has reconfirmed his importance as one of the most progressive sculptors of the early 20th century. In fact, it leaves one lamenting that there has only been one American museum retrospective to date, at the National Gallery of Art in 1972. Like his contemporaries Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol, Lehmbruck had significant international impact, during his life and beyond. In 1986, for example, almost 70 years after Lehmbruck’s premature death, Joseph Beuys credited him as his main inspiration for taking up sculpture. As a Modernist, Lehmbruck aimed to find a new visual language for expressing human emotions. Though he had a classic sensibility for structural harmony, his figures are far from idealistic. They are symbolic but rooted in life, abstract in that they depict not individuals but aspects of the human soul. Stylistically, Lehmbruck’s works are hybrids. Gothic and Romantic aesthetics can be traced, as well as an affinity for Mannerist forms. …see the entire review in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.