August Gaul’s 150th Birthday

„Of all the artists, only you were dear to me like a friend” – Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz Museum Berlin

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© Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin, Archiv J. Gabler
10.11.2019 11:00

In celebrating the 150th birthday of the sculptor August Gaul, the Berlin Käthe Kollwitz Museum presents a retrospective on the work of Gaul, drawing exclusively from his old, hitherto unseen former Berlin collection.

The animal sculptor August Gaul (1869-1921) is closely tied to the emergence of the Berlin Secession movement, which celebrates the 120th anniversary this year. His reduced-form art is regarded as a decisive starting point for the renewal of sculpture at the beginning of the classical modernism. His handling of bronze casting and the attempt to limit editions are groundbreaking for the creation of a quality awareness of run-off objects.

No collector of modern art after 1900 could miss the sculptures of August Gaul. All the great collectors, such as Eduard Arnhold, Franz Oppenheim, Leo Lewin, Oskar Schmitz and Rudolf Mosse, (whose Ruhender Löwe [Resting Lion] was recently featured in the James Simon Gallery) owned several works by Gaul. Dr. Hugo Zwillenbergg, lawyer for the department store group Hermann Tietz, pursued the challenge of documenting Gaul’s lifework.

The exhibition in the Kollwitz Museum focuses on this collection, which is currently managed by the Zwillenberg Foundation in Bern and is on permanent loan from the Bern Kunstmuseum [Bern Art Museum]. This selection of almost 40 works illuminates two aspects of Gaul’s oeuvre: his importance for great work collectors at the beginning of the 20th century and his sculptural influence on public space.

The Zwillenberg Collection contains numerous works intended by the artist for public installation. This is a reminder of the ensemble of overlooked figures across Berlin’s urban landscape or those that were at one time commissioned for Berlin’s Gardens but have been lost with the fortunes of their owners.

August Gaul was closely connected with the namesake of our museum, as documented by the title-defining quote left by Käthe Kollwitz upon the occasion of the early death of Gaul. Both artists were founding figures in the Berlin Secession at the turn of the century, both worked together in the Prussian Academy of Arts after 1918, both were represented by the gallery owner Paul Cassirer and both Gaul and Kollwitz were companions of Max Liebermann.

The exhibition opens a window into the period of artistic awakening among esteemed bourgeois patronage – focusing on the figure of August Gaul, one of today’s most underrated artists of the beginning of the modernist movement.

Käthe Kollwitz Museum Berlin
Fasanenstraße 24
10719 Berlin

+49 (30) 882 52 10
+49 (30) 881 19 01
Monday - Sunday
11:00 - 18:00
24. December
31. December
Admission price
7,00 €

Free admission for people under 18

Reduced price
4,00 €

Studenten, Erwerbslose, Schwerbehinderte und Gruppen ab 12 Personen

Group ticket
Groups from 12 persons on


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