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.
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.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .