Ernst Barlach: The Flutist

Ernst Barlach (1870-1938), The Flutist, 1936, zinc, height: 59.2 cm

The Fries der Lauschenden (completed in 1936) is Ernst Barlach’s main work and developed his involvement with music. It was developed from a draft for a monument for Beethoven from 1926 that was not built and shows standing figures, lost in thought, who seem to be listening to a distant melody. From as early as his time in Paris from 1895/96 Barlach repeatedly depicted people making music and singing in both sculptures and sketches. Music was often a source of inspiration for Barlach, and is expressed both directly and indirectly in his works.

In The Flutist, from his later creative period, Barlach shows us a young man playing music on a type of shawm. We are reminded of a bucolic scene with shepherds and transported into an Arcadian mood. Barlach developed the motif of the man playing the flute before 1920 for the hallway of the villa belonging to the manufacturer Leo Lewin in Breslau. The Flutist was intended to flank the staircase. Yet the project, for which Barlach envisaged several sculptures, did not come to fruition. It was not until decades later that he initially realised the planned being as an individual figure in connection with this concrete architectonic situation.


Text: V. P.

The exhibit refers to:

Mecklenburg until 1945

Look here for the original exhibit:

Ernst Barlach Stiftung Güstrow

Ernst Barlach Stiftung Güstrow

Heidberg 15
18273 Barlachstadt Güstrow