Materials and Works
of the Sculptor Kurt Kroner
Portrait of Kurt Kroner, Berlin 1920
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Marion and Dodo Kroner
The Jewish Museum art collection has acquired works by the Berlin sculptor Kurt Kroner (1885-1929) and documentary materials on his family.
Kroner was descended from a Silesian family of rabbis and doctors. In 1909, shortly before the birth of their son Thomas, Kurt Kroner and his wife Ella were baptized. However, they later acknowledged their belief in a "religion of humanity" which transcends confessions. Kroner's children, Thomas and Dodo, both managed to leave the country to flee Nazi persecution. Their mother, the painter Ella Behrend (1885-1942) stayed in Berlin and was deported to Auschwitz in 1942.
Kurt Kroner studied medicine before he began to sculpt, inspired by August Rodin and encouraged by Adolf Hildebrand. Throughout his career, his work was characterized by a close connection to philosophy. Kurt Kroner's political and artistic self-conception were shaped by the ideas of the reform movement and the cultural breakdown after the First World War. Among his close friends were Karl Liebknecht, Erich Mühsam, and Ernst Toller whose busts he sculpted, as he also did for Albert Einstein, Werner Sombart, Ferdinand Tönnies, and Gerhart Hauptmann.
The bronze miniatures "Schwebender" ("floating man") and "Der Einsame" ("lonely man") were donated to the Jewish Museum Berlin by the daughter and granddaughter of the artist (Dodo and Marion Kroner). They are expressive representations of ecstasy in the shaping of the antithetic conscious and the unconscious.
Other works by Kurt Kroner are on show in various museums in Germany and Israel. One of his few surviving life-size sculptures can be found on his grave in the Südwestkirchhof in Stahnsdorf, and the bust of Gerhart Hauptmann in the entrance hall of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.
18 cm x 14 cm x 9 cm
13,8 x 8,5 x 12 cm
Kurt Kroner Portrait
Silver gelatine print on baryt paper