Adolph Carl Johannes Brütt

Adolph Carl Johannes Brütt, “Schwertmann (Swordsman)”, 1912, Bronze, circa 300 cm, Rathausmarkt, Kiel, Germany

Born the coastal North Sea town of Husum in May of 1855, Adolph Carl Johannes Brütt was a German sculptor and the founder of the Weimar Sculpture School and its bronze foundry. Originally trained as a stonemason in the city of Kiel, he worked on several projects, including the Linderhof Palace, the smallest of three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. A stipend from the Sparkasse Kiel enabled Brütt to study at the Prussian Academy of Art in Berlin. After graduating in 1878, he became a student of German sculptor Leopold Rau and worked in the studio of Karl Begas the Younger.

Brütt married in 1883 and opened his own studio. In 1893, he broke away from the mainstream Munich Artists’ Association and joined the newly formed Munich Secession, a cooperative to promote and defend their art against official paternalism and conservative policies. Brütt and his close friend Felix Koenigs, a banker and art collector, promoted the Secession through exhibitions at the National Gallery, shows which included works by sculptor Auguste Rodin and the French Impressionists. 

In 1900, Adolph Carl Brütt traveled with his close friends Koenigs and printmaker Max Klinger to the Paris Exposition Universelle where he entered his bronze “Sword Dancer”. This female nude wielding two swords won a gold medal and secured Brütt’s international reputation. Unfortunately, Felix Koenigs became ill at the exposition and died in Paris. Brütt later helped convey Koenigs’s estate to the National Gallery where it is now housed in the “Foundation of Modernism” collection.

Brütt became a Professor at the Prussian Academy and also taught at Berlin’s private Fehr Academy which, devoted to the ideals of the Munich Secession, was founded by Danish painter and sculptor Conrad Fehr in 1892. Other artists who taught at Fehr Academy included German landscape painter and designer Walter Leistikow and copper artist Gustav Ellers. In 1905, Brütt was appointed a Professor at the Weimar Grand Ducal Saxon School of Art where he created its division for sculpture and bronze casting.Working with his students, he created the marble reliefs which decorate the lobby of the new Weimar Court Theater. 

Adolph Carl Brütt returned to Berlin in 1910 when German sculptor Gottlieb Elster, a studio co-worker, succeeded him at the Weimar Art School. For the 1916 Summer Olympics in Germany, his “Sword Dancer” was moved from its location in Kiel to Berlin. In 1928, Brütt was awarded with a honorary citizenship to the German spa town of Bad Berka, the second biggest city in the Weimarer Land district. Adolph Carl Johannes Brütt passed away in Bad Berka in November of 1939. His sculpture school became part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. 

Among Adolph Brütt’s bronze and stone sculptures are the 1887 “Der Fischer (The Fisherman)”, a bonze sculpture in front of Berlin’s Old National Gallery; the 206 cm bronze “Schwerttänzerin (Sword Dancer)” in Kiel; the 1902  granite fountain “Asmussen-Woldsen-Brunnen” in the Husum Marketplace; the 1907 “Nacht (Night)”, an openly erotic marble statute at the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Art in Weimar; the 1909 marble statue of a seated Theodor Mommsen at the Court of Honor in Humboldt University; and the 1912 bronze “Schwertmann (Swordsman)” at the Rathausmarkt in Kiel.

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Second Insert Image: Adolph Carl Johannes Brütt, “Schwertmann (Swordsman)”, 1912, Bronze, circa 300 cm, Rathausmarkt, Kiel, Germany

Bottom Insert Image: Louis Held, “Adolph Brütt in Front of His Marble Theodor Mommsen”, circa 1903

The Long and Deep Tunnel

Photographer Unknown, (A Long and Deep Tunnel)

“The world of the warrior is like a long and deep tunnel. Wherever you turn, all you find is the threat of death in the darkness. And while there is light at the end of even the longest and darkest of tunnels,  whether that light represents hope or menace, one can never know.”

–Cempake, The Golden Crane Warrior