Portrait of the sculptor Bernhard Hoetger

Bernhard Hoetger


Bernhard Hoetger's path to becoming an important sculptor was not exactly preordained. Hoetger was the son of a blacksmith from Hörde, Germany. And the only thing that initially distinguished him from his father's profession was the material he worked on and was forced into shape: before even thinking of an academic career, the son first learned the stonemason's trade. As a mature artist and professor, Hoetger later spoke of his "years of drudgery and slavery", yet it was perhaps precisely this period that enabled Hoetger to master his material to such an extraordinary size and to conquer it in a wide variety of stylistic idioms. Hoetger was stylistically versatile and loved to make use of elements of foreign cultures, even though he shared with Paula Modersohn-Becker, whom he admired, the Expressionist search for a simpler, reduced expression.