The Avenger, modeled 1914, cast 1923


German Expressionists believed communication of the emotions to be the primary purpose of art and employed distortions of color, shape, surface, and space as the means to accomplish this goal. The angular form, suggested motion, and passionate gesture of The Avenger is exemplary of the Expressionist vision. Dubbed by Barlach as the "crystallized essence of War," the sculpture was in direct response to the vengefulness and devastation of World War I. Based on lithographs of 1914, the image passed through a number of stages before it was realized in bronze. While indebted to medieval wood statuary in mood and texture, Barlach's work was also a significant precursor to the development of kinetic sculpture.



Barlach, The Avenger (sculpture) (#893)
The Avenger
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.