Elisabeth Wolff's Sculpture Girl Walking
From Our Holdings
In 1987, this bronze sculpture of a Girl Walking was presented to the curator of the Jewish Department of the Berlin Museum with the proviso that the sculpture be returned to the owner if she ever came forward.
On Temporary Loan
During the Nazi era, a young woman entrusted the sculpture to a Berlin couple – in the hope of someday retrieving it. But the young woman never returned and the sculpture eventually wound up in the collection that evolved from the Jewish Department of the Berlin Museum.
Rotating Trophy for the Winners of the Girls' Relay Race
The sculpture is a rotating trophy. It was sponsored by the newspaper of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith for the first sporting festival held by the Reich Committee for Jewish Youth Associations. On 19 August 1934, on the playing field in Grunewald, Hilde Finkelstein accepted the trophy as the winner of the girl's relay race on behalf of her team and her club, Ring – Federation of German Jewish Youth. Unfortunately, we don't know whether the young woman who lent the sculpture for safekeeping a few years later was Hilde Finkelstein, for she never returned.
The Artist, Elisabeth Wolff
The sculpture was created by Elisabeth Wolff (1898–probably 1969), who was part of the first generation of female artists to be trained at state art academies in Germany. In the 1920s she became known for her small sculptures and portrait busts. Sometime between 1935 and 1940 she emigrated to England, where she regularly showed her work at the annual exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts in London beginning in 1934. All trace of Wolff was lost after 1947. Today we know about more than twenty of her works from catalogs and magazines, but none have survived except for Girl Walking.