Ernst Barlach: The Goodbye (Christ and Thomas)

Ernst Barlach (1870–1938), The Goodbye (Christ and Thomas), 1926, stucco with tinted wood coating (for archive purposes formed from wood in 1939), height: 90.0 cm

Barlach‘s works often contain references to the Old and New Testament, whereby the artist stated that he “did not feel the compulsory sensibility for church and community for religious reasons, but rather from nature“ (1932). The starting point for the scene was the point in the Gospel of John 20, 24-29, where Thomas meets the risen Christ. Since the Middle Ages there have been countless representations of this moment in Christian iconography. Yet there are also examples in the new-age graphic reproduction style, to which the type Encounter between Maria and Elisabeth belongs, as depicted in Albrecht Dürer’s wood carving The Visitation from 1503/04.

The Schwerin State Museum acquired Barlach‘s wooden sculpture The Goodbye. The work was removed from the exhibition shortly after 1933 and stored. As part of the “depraved art” forfeiture action the National Socialists confiscated the group of figures in 1937 and took them to a central depot in Berlin. Barlach‘s clerk and assistant, Bernhard A. Böhmer (1892-1945), bought the work back as an art dealer and, for security and archive purposes, arranged in 1939 for the stucco cast to be tinted with wood colours. He sold the wooden sculpture to the manufacturer and art collector Hermann F. Reemtsma in Hamburg, where it is today one of Barlach’s main works under the ownership of the Ernst Barlach estate.

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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

office@barlach-stiftung.de

www.ernst-barlach-stiftung.de