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Kurt Arentz at the Nörvenich Castle

A sculptor in the tradition of animal sculptors of France


Von Pierre Marceau


OWLS IN LOVE. A symbolistically strong bronze by Kurt Arentz. His works are continuously exhibited in the Museum Europäische Kunst at the Nörvenich Castle near Cologne, Germany. / www.europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org

© Foto Marco Bodenstein



Berlin/London (bpb) The Queen, the Emperial House of Japan, the courts of the nobility of Europe and Monaco all have in their art collections paintings and sculptures depicting the world of animals. The great animal painters and sculptors of France enchanted already Napoleon with their works. It seemed that this era ended with Francois Pompon in 1933. And thus it is so much fortunate that the sculptor Kurt Arentz has created a body of work in this European tradition and in doing so, became a worthy successor of the famous animal artist.

The Museum Europäische Kunst at the Nörvenich Castle near Cologne has on permanent display works of the sculptor: sculptures of animals, portrait-bust of famous contemporaries and paintings. The museum has its own collection of works by Arentz and maintains an archive of the sculptor and painter.

In his artistic work Kurt Arentz stands firmly in the great tradition of animal artists of France. The writer Roger Peyrefitte praised in Paris the mastership of the sculptor in his depiction of animals. "It is a special fortune to meet in our times an artist who ranks among the great animal sculptors, by whom France has been so blessed", said Peyrefitte in 1990. And by looking at a sculpture of a bull, so powerfully and at the same time gracefully depicted by Arentz, the writer said full of enthusiasm: "I have just seen the metamorphosis of Zeus."


The sculptor Kurt Arentz with the painter Markus Lüpertz (right). Both try their hand also in another area. The museum has also paintings, drawings and graphics by Arentz.

© Marco-VG.


The depiction of the animal has fascinated people for thousands of years. In the history, it is thanks to the art-loving rulers, nobility and church that they have supported this subject by commissions to sculptors and painters. Thus the favored animal artists like Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875), Christophe Fratin (1801-1864), Pierre Jules Meune (1810-1877), Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) and finally the great Francois Pompon (1855-1933) were able to take a victory tour through the palaces and castles of the state, nobility and cultured townspeople.

Also for the art lovers of the 21st century, the sculpture of animals belongs to the select collectors' items. While generations have valued the cool beauty of animal sculptures of Pompon, the collectors of our era are fascinated by the vitality of the animal bronzes and reliefs of Kurt Arentz. Kurt Arentz, as an animal artist, combines in his work the classical tradition of sculpture, the anatomical precision and the modern interpretation of surface. In this way, the works of Kurt Arentz contain in them--similarly as the work of Auguste Rodin--the unmistakeable characteristics. This personal signature makes the bronzes of Kurt Arentz even more desirable.


(Books and information about limited edition of sculptures by Kurt Arentz can be obtained by e-mail from: museum@europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org




© PROMETHEUS 109/2006

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science. Nr. 109, JULY 2006