INTERVENTION in the permanent exhibition:
The sculptor Wilhelm Loth

Before the museum can move into its final, larger exhibition space on the first floor of the Theaterbau and thus have space for temporary exhibitions in addition to the exhibition of works by Käthe Kollwitz, small, temporary special exhibitions in the “Intervention” format will simply be integrated into the collection presentation to bridge the gap. Last year, the museum was able to show rare prints and unique drawings by Käthe Kollwitz from two private collections in three thematically different “Interventions”. This year, the museum is devoting itself to Käthe Kollwitz’ artist colleagues and is showing works by the sculptor Wilhelm Loth (1920-1993) in a first INTERVENTION.

As a 17-year-old in the 1930s, Wilhelm Loth, an important sculptors of the last century, sought contact with the then ostracised Käthe Kollwitz, who became an artistic role model and mentor for him. An intensive correspondence developed between the two, which was intensified by two personal encounters and only ended shortly before the Kollwitz’s death.

From the very beginning of their acquaintance, Kollwitz encouraged the young artist to become artistically active. As early as 1938, she praised a work on paper sent to her: “I like it as a drawing and I also like the head. It speaks of a firm will.” (Letter dated January 25, 1938). In the summer of 1940, she reinforced her approval in another letter, which is on loan to the exhibition.
During the Third Reich, when National Socialist propaganda dominated artistic creation, Kollwitz’ works expanded Loth’s understanding of contemporary art: “Her drawings shook my ideas to the core and opened up a new perspective on life for me,” he wrote in an obituary for the artist in 1947.

In 1939, Loth began studying at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, but continued his studies with Fritz Schwarzbeck in Darmstadt after the end of the war in 1947. The following year, he was already teaching as an assistant to Hermann Geibel at Darmstadt Technical University. From 1953 to 1955, he was director of the Neue Darmstädter Sezession. From 1954 to 1958, he held the Chair of Free Drawing and Applied Sculpture at Darmstadt Technical University. This was followed by an appointment at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, where he taught until 1986. In 1959, he received a scholarship for the Villa Massimo in Rome and took part in documenta III in Kassel in 1964. Numerous trips abroad, exhibitions and awards followed.

Wilhelm Loth died in Darmstadt on February 17, 1993.

Wilhelm Loth dedicated three sculptures to Käthe Kollwitz. The “Relief 20/84 – Remembrance of the Women of Kollwitz” from 1984 has been in the possession of the Kollwitz Museum since 2019. This donation was followed in 2022 by watercolour preliminary studies by Loth, which place the existing large-format bronze relief in a work development. They illustrate the sculptor’s artistic process from the idea to the studies to the finished sculpture. Loth not only signed these watercolours, but also dated the majority of them, so that a precise sequence can be reconstructed.

INTERVENTION is also showing the “Relief 50/76” from 1976 from this donation, together with a preliminary study. What is special about the relief: It is made of plastic, an innovative material at the time, which was used experimentally in sculpture in the 1970s. The relief refers to an early etching by Käthe Kollwitz and illustrates Loth’s intensive engagement with Kollwitz’s work.

The INTERVENTION WILHELM LOTH runs from 23 March to 23 June 2024.