Franz Metzner (sculptor)

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Franz Metzner

Franz Metzner (born November 18, 1870 in Wscherau (today Všeruby ) near Pilsen , † March 24, 1919 in Berlin ) was an Austrian stonemason and sculptor who lived and worked in Berlin for a long time. His art was in the tradition of symbolism and the Vienna Secession . He designed his monumental figures simple, expressive and reduced to the essentials.

Live and act

The “fate masks” with the warrior figures standing in front of them in the crypt of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations

Born in Bohemia , Franz Metzner began an apprenticeship as a stonemason in Pilsen in 1886. After completing his training, he worked in various workshops between 1890 and 1894, in which he autodidactically acquired further knowledge of sculptural design, such as in Christian Behrens' studio in Breslau, in Zwickau, Dresden and Hamburg. Study trips took him to Paris and Italy. Metzner lived in Berlin from 1894 to 1903. In his atelier, which was set up in 1896, he designed craft objects and models for the Royal Porcelain Manufactory . In these works, a harmonious interplay of symbolism and Art Nouveau became apparent early on . He received great recognition for his sculptures at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 .

The more nationalist oriented Metzner joined in 1902 the " New Community ", which was conceived as the "Order of Real Life" and whose members sought free forms of life outside the conventions of Wilhelminism . In collaboration with the painter “ Fidus ” he designed the walls of the apartment at Uhlandstrasse 144 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf , which the community rented for gatherings and activities of like-minded people.

Fourth place in a competition for an Empress Elisabeth monument in Vienna's Volksgarten brought him a professorship for the modeling class at the local arts and crafts school in 1903 . In the Austrian capital he maintained contacts with artists and architects from the Vienna Secession and became a member of the Wiener Werkstätte, founded by the architect Josef Hoffmann , among others . Metzner contributed to the interior design of his Palais Stoclet in Brussels, which was built entirely in the Secession style between 1905 and 1911, in collaboration with other well-known artists such as Gustav Klimt , Berthold Löffler and Richard Luksch .

A design for a “Nibelungen fountain” in front of the Vienna Votive Church , which was made in 1904, was not carried out. It was not until years later, between 1924 and 1945, that the core of the fountain, the crowning bronze figure of Rüdiger von Bechelaren , found its place in Gablonz an der Neisse as the so-called " Rüdiger Fountain ", which was built in 1970 on the grounds in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Church was rebuilt in the displaced community in Neugablonz , Bavaria .

In 1905 the architect Bruno Schmitz was able to win him over for the sculpture work on the Leipzig Völkerschlachtdenkmal . Metzner succeeded Christian Behrens, who died in the same year. In 1906 he left Vienna and returned to Berlin to be closer to his new job. In Zehlendorf he built a house with a workshop according to his own design for himself and his family and made the “fate masks” and monumental figures in the hall of fame, the equestrian frieze in the inner dome and the twelve, almost 13 meter high “Warriors of the Freedom Guard” for the Monument to the Battle of the Nations the outer dome. The grave complex of the Max Krause family, designed according to plans by Bruno Schmitz, was also created in cooperation with the cemetery IV of the Jerusalem and New Church community in Berlin-Kreuzberg . The grave site, completed in 1907 and on which Metzner carried out the sculptural work, is considered to be the main sepulkral work of Symbolist Art Nouveau in Berlin.

At the “First Zurich Indoor Art Exhibition” in the autumn of 1908, the interior of a library room based on a design by the Zurich architects Streiff and Schindler was shown, with Metzner expressive carved masks of the four temperaments of “ sanguine ”, “ melancholic ”, “ phlegmatic ” and “ choleric ” for its permanent fixtures “Created.

In Berlin and Prague he designed numerous facades of commercial buildings with sculptural jewelry, in Berlin including the Rheingold wine house built by Bruno Schmitz in 1905/1907 on Bellevuestraße, the J. Springer publishing house built by William Müller in 1910/1911 in Linkstraße or the According to a design by Oskar Kaufmann in 1912/1913 at Nollendorfplatz , the “Cines-Theater” theater was built. All three buildings were destroyed in World War II. The Volksbühne on what was then Bülowplatz, today Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz , for which Metzner created the sculptures in 1914 , is still preserved . In 1909 he worked on the office building of the Vienna Bank Corporation in Prague and in 1910 on the building for the Czech sugar industry there.

Franz Metzner was a member of the German Association of Artists . In 1919 he was appointed a member of the Prussian Academy of the Arts , Section for the Fine Arts. In the same year, Metzner died of the Spanish flu at the age of 48 . He was buried in the Zehlendorf cemetery . The grave has not been preserved.

In 1920, works by the Secessionists were exhibited at the “Kunstschau 1920” in the Austrian Gallery , including some sculptures created by Metzner. In the same year German artists founded the “Metzner Bund” in memory of him in Bohemia, which existed until 1945.


Web links

Commons : Franz Metzner  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Berlin tombs Retten , accessed on May 21, 2013.
  2. Apartment art ( ZDB -ID 219652-9 ), 1st year 1909, No. 15 (from November 15, 1909), pp. 305–307.
  3. Full members of the Deutscher Künstlerbund since it was founded in 1903 / Metzner, Franz ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on November 16, 2015)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende : Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 , p. 676.