(b Wedel, nr Hamburg, Jan 2, 1870; d Rostock, Oct 24, 1938).
German sculptor and printmaker. He experimented with several media because he believed that conventional forms of communication were too formulaic and often failed to make tangible the essence of artistic vision. In his plastic and literary oeuvres Barlach sought to define and externalize the inner processes of humanity and nature through depriving his subject of its superficial mask and extraneous detail.
Barlach studied sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg (1888–9) and at the Dresden Akademie (1891–5), where he became the chief pupil of the sculptor Robert Diez (b 1844). After two brief visits to the Académie Julian in Paris, he returned to Germany and collaborated with his friend Karl Garbers (b 1864) on a commission for architectural sculptures for the city halls of Hamburg and Altona. Barlach’s early work was influenced by the sinuous, wavy line of Jugendstil. In 1899 he moved to Berlin, where he lived for two years, but he later returned to Wedel, hoping to find inspiration in a familial environment. In the winter of ...