Praying figure, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
Praying figure
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Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Praying figure, 1917 – 1918

37.5 x 18.5 x 10.5 cm
Physical Description
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1988 as Donation in Memory of Hanna Bekker vom Rath
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art


About the Work

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's 'Praying Figure', which he created in 1917/18 when he was a soldier in Russia, is both earthly and supernatural. The gold of the pedestal on which the stylised wooden figure is squatting already suggests the metaphysical level towards which the praying man turns, his head and arms raised. The reduced form typical of Expressionist sculptures and the simple material of wood show Schmidt-Rottluff's fascination for the arts of the 'indigenous peoples', for whom objects of this kind possessed primarily religious functions. The figure can thus be interpreted both as a praying figure and as a figure to be worshipped.

About the Acquisition

Hanna Bekker vom Rath (1893-1983) came from an old Frankfurt family and was an active and committed patron of artists and the arts. With her husband, Paul, she purchased a house in Hofheim in 1920 ('Blue House'), which developed into a meeting place for modernist artists. During the Nazi era in particular, artists were able to find peace and strength here. After the Second World War, Bekker vom Rath took over the direction of the Frankfurt Kunstkabinett. Her heirs donated this sculpture in 1988 in memory of her passionate patronage of art.


  • 01:01
    Basic information
  • 01:48
    Focus on cultural history
  • 01:18
    Focus on religion

Work Data

Basic Information

Praying figure
Sculptor (male)
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Acquired in 1988 as Donation in Memory of Hanna Bekker vom Rath

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif



Research and Discussion


Object History
Karl Schmidt-Rotluff (1884-1976), Berlin, bis mindestens 1950
erworben von Hanna Bekker vom Rath (1893-1983), Hofheim
Nachlass Hanna Bekker vom Rath, Frankfurt, 1983
Stiftung Barbara Bekker-Rawling und Maximiliane Kraft an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1988.


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