From figure to bodyscape 1947 to 1988
March 5, 2017 – June 11, 2017
Introduction: Dr. Uwe Rüth, formerly Wilhelm-Loth-Stiftung
Wilhelm Loth (1920 – 1993), born in Darmstadt, is one of the most important German sculptors and college professors of the second half of the 20th century.
More than most other sculptors, he reflects upon his activities as an artist and remoulds the human image as perceived by his contemporaries. Step by step he thus finds his way to his central theme, the female body.
At the age of 17, Loth, who is deeply impressed by Käthe Kollwitz´s graphic works, contacts the 53 year-old sculptor and is strengthened in his resolve to become an artist.
In 1940 he attends Toni Stadler´s sculpting class at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, where he gets some inspiration from sculpting in terracotta. By the end of the Nazi period he has developed his own style of figuration, which he refines in a very sensitive manner after 1945.
In 1958 Loth is offered a professorship at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste (State Academy of Fine Art) Karlsruhe, where he teaches until 1986. In 1959 he gains a Villa Massimo scholarship and goes to Rome for a year, where he gets inspiration from the Italian baroque. Numerous solo exhibitions in Germany as well as participation in exhibitions throughout Europe, including participation in documenta III, bring success and an international reputation.
Titled "From figure to bodyscape, 1947 to 1988", the present exhibition shows early terracotta pieces, numerous drawings, works in plaster, bronze sculptures and photographs from the 70s and 80s. It depicts Loth´s journey from the figure as an abstract shape to his bodyscapes.
Whereas his early works still show complete figures, his later creations more and more concentrate on selected details of the female body. Throughout his life in his works depicting lips, breasts and womb, the sculptor is feeling his way towards the inherently feminine in these objects. He asks himself: "What is it that I want to show? What humans look like? No. What they are like. Or how they present themselves to me: lush, deformable, flabby." Up to his death in 1993 the female figure remains Loth´s favourite theme. He sees his work as a "homage to women – their cultural image and their emancipation".
With about 50 pieces the present exhibition, which for the first time ever also presents numerous plaster sculptures to the public, is a homage to Loth´s rich and multifaceted work.
Indirectly, at the Museum Lothar Fischer Loth´s work enters into an exciting dialogue with the figurative sculptures of his friend and colleague Fischer, who was a recipient of Darmstadt´s Wilhelm-Loth-Preis.
And last not least, in 2007 and in 2015 the Museum already honoured the work of Franz Bernhard and of Robert Schad, both of them former students of Wilhelm Loth in Karlsruhe.
"To me, beauty is not just an ideal principle outside or above real life. I am looking for beauty in forms that are found in everyday life and which I consider beautiful because they are life-affirming. A beauty all women can share." Wilhelm Loth