Sunday, 20 March 2016

Martin van Waning and Philipp Modrow

In a limited edition booklet (reprint of 1959) which accompanied an exhibition on Martin van Waning in 1978, his friendship with and the influence on his sculptural work by Philipp Modrow in Wiesbaden is mentioned. Here’s what I was able to find on this short lived German forgotten sculptor.

Modrow, Philipp
(Frankfurt - Oberursel 08-05-1882 – 06-12-1928 Davos)
German sculptor working in Wiesbaden around 1910. 

He had been a student of sculptor Emil Cauer (1867-1946) and had moved with his family (his wife's name is Elfriede) to Davos in Switzerland, probably after WWI because of his lung disease (probably Tuberculosis, consumption) living and working in a small house behind Hotel Buol. 

Here he created sculptures like: “die Qual” (the Ailment), memorial sculptures (“der Atmer”, the Breather) and  portrait bustes (of friends and other tuberculosis patients in Davos).

He had great thoughts of founding an international “Frauen-Hochschule” (University for women) in Davos with Esperanto as the official language in 1921. The idea was dismissed by the city council. However, the university actually was established and opening in the year of his death, the inaugural speaker was: Albert Einstein (1879-1955).
I found this possible biographical clue to a Frankfurt/Oberursel  Modrow family. In 1876-77 in the former “Wiemersmüle” in Oberursel (near Frankfurt) a chicken farm was started by a Philipp Modrow, possibly his father. Later “Moterenwerke Oberursel” later was established here.

- “Der Kunstwanderer” 1922, “Mitteilungnen von Frau Elfriede Modrow Berlin”. 
- Reinhardt Michel (b.1917): Philipp Kurt Modrow in “Heft 50 (2011) der Oberurseler Mitteilungen des Geschichtsvereins”. I wonder if a reader will be able to obtain copies of this article for me. 


"Das Wissen” placed on the façade  of Pressehaus des Wiesbadener Kuriers”, Langgasse 21 in Wiesbaden build in 1904 in the “Jugenstil”.

“Salomé” with the head of John the Baptist (beheaded by King Herod II after he had condemned the marriage with his brothers widow, and Salomé’s mother).

”der Dornauszieher” (Boy with thorn, the Thorn picker/puller, "Spinaro") in Palmenhaus (Stadtpark Mainz)  Marmor, 0,84 cm.
Schenkung aus den Familienbesitz von Louisa von Rautenkranz und Konsul Ernesto Schneider. Ursprunglicher Standort im Grüngürtlel am St.-Vincenz – Krankenhaus 1974 und 1975 mutwillig beschädigt.
The Thorn-picker is a classic Hellinistic sculpture motif. I could not find a picture of Modrows statue but it will look like these examples above by: classic Hellinistic artist and Gustav Eberlein (1879-1926). 

Portrait buste of author and poet "Klabund", alias of Alfred Georg Hermann Henschke (Crossen/Oder 1890 -1928 Davos). The statue later was placed in the aula of Klabunds school in his birthplace Crossen. He had been married to Charlotte Neher (Munich 1990 – 1942 Sol-llezk Soviet-Union) actrice in Berthold Brechts Drie grosschen Oper” and convinced communist later "sentenced 10 years imprisonment in Siberia. She died in miserable conditions. Emil Orlik drew his portrait, Rudolf Schlichter (1890-1955) her painting. I could not find Modrows buste.  

“Der Atmer”, 1923 memorial in Davos for Dr. Alexander Spengler (1827-1901), pioneer tuberculosis specialist who discovered the beneficial properties of height and clean air in patients with lung disease and established a sanatorium (health spa, “Kurort”) for patients in Davos.


Cauer, Emil 
(Bad Kreuznach 06-08-1867 – 13-02-1946 Gersfeld/Hessen)
 sculptor and Philipp Modrows teacher. 

Son of sculptor Karl Cauer (1828-1885 and Elisabeth Magdalena Smidt. Grandson of sculptor Emil Cauer (1800-1867). Student of his father and his uncle Robert Cauer (1831-1893) in Rome and from 1888 student of Otto Lessing (1846-1912) in Berlins Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums”. His marble “Wasserschöpferin” was exhibited in the 1903 “Großen Berliner Kunstausstellung” and was personally bought by Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II (1859-1941): a classic case of good taste. It is now in Berlins National Gallery. The sculpture is created/inspired by the classic Hellinistic "Venus Crouching" a very popular and much copied and imitated classic Greeck marble statue. 

This one probably the most famous, the Lely Venus (see the link) in the British Museum.


All pictures borrowed freely from the Interenet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

All pictures mouse-clickable to embiggen. 

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