ARTISTS / Art after 1945
Hans Steinbrenner

Figure
© Hans Steinbrenner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Hans Steinbrenner

Figur / Figure, 1961

Bronze
206 × 62 × 60 cm

monogrammed and numbered: ST. 4/6 (cast from 2001)
Edition: 6 copies
(STEINH/S 18)

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Literature: Hans Steinbrenner, Skulptur und Plastik 4, Galerie Appel, Frankfurt am Main 1965, fig. 19 (specimen in poplar wood); cf. Ausst.-Kat. Hans Steinbrenner, Galerie Loehr, Frankfurt am Main 1976, no. 6 (copy in poplar wood); Ausst.Kat. Hans Steinbrenner. Parable of Harmony. Sculptures, Institute for Urban History (ed.), Frankfurt am Main 2009, fig. p. 98.

If the encounters with Toni Stadler and Otto Freundlich were elementarily important for the development of Hans Steinbrenner's early sculptural work and painting, the confrontation with De Stijl and Piet Mondrian led to his typical, cubist-like style. The human figure increasingly loses its significance, notwithstanding the continued title ("Figure") and the anthropomorphic impression, which is due solely to the (calculated) viewer's gaze: the abstractly stacked, geometric bodies fit into the expectation of the human physique. Thus, one perceives individual limbs - a head section, the stature, similar to a 'posture'. Nevertheless, it must be noted that Steinbrenner deliberately avoids any pictorial character in order to be free to subvert those imprinted pictorial patterns. If at all, the idea of an archetype plays a role in the formal language of his tectonics. Walking around Steinbrenner's figures, one recognizes the balance, the almost perfect balance of the volumes. From here, the work proves to be not only formally a non-representational response to classical antique figuration, but also an exciting variant of the stele. In his later work, the sculptor increasingly incorporated Zen philosophy into his work.
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