Georg Wrba

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Georg Wrba (1917). Photo by Hugo Erfurth
Otto Gussmann : Portrait of Georg Wrba
Georg Wrba in his studio with Hugo Licht , sitting model

Georg Wrba (born January 3, 1872 in Munich , † January 9, 1939 in Dresden ) was a German sculptor , medalist and graphic artist . He was one of the most important German sculptors of the 20th century and created well over 3,000 sculptural works on 322 objects in a good 45 cities and towns, including as an employee of the Zwingerbauhütte .


Georg Wrba was born in Munich in 1872, the son of a blacksmith. His brother Max Wrba , 16 years his junior, worked as an architect in Dresden until he was killed in a car accident in 1924.

Wrba began his training with Jakob Bradl the elder and his son Jakob Bradl the younger . From 1891 to 1896 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich . After a stay in Italy (with Egon Rheinberger ), made possible by a travel grant from Prince Regent Luitpold , he settled as a freelance sculptor in Munich in 1897 and became the head of the municipal school for sculptors. As a 29-year-old, Wrba was commissioned with the structural design of the New City Hall in Leipzig . Georg Wrba was a member of the German Association of Artists . In 1904 he took part in the first DKB exhibition in the Munich Kgl. Art exhibition building on Königplatz , which was organized with the help of the secessionists . In 1905 Wrba was appointed professor in Munich. In 1906 and 1907 he worked in Berlin , where he created architectural sculptures for the architects Ludwig Hoffmann and Alfred Messel . Subsequently, Wrba taught from 1907 to 1930 as professor and successor to Johannes Schilling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden . The first wells were built in Hans Erlwein buildings: in 1908 in the Hosterwitz waterworks, in 1909 on the outside of the school grounds on Gustav-Freytag-Straße and in 1910 the bull fountain at the slaughterhouse. He combined the Dresden sculpture school with the reform ideas of the German Werkbund . He was a founding member of the Dresden artists' association “ Die Zunft ”. These strived for a combination of different art forms. They rejected ornamentation as an end in itself, painting and sculpture should be combined with architecture. In 1909 he was a founding member and first chairman of the Dresden Artists' Association . In Dresden he built, among other things, the Marie Gey fountain near the main train station in Dresden's southern suburb , which the doctor Dr. Heinze had donated for his wife, a student at the art academy, who died early. In 1910, Wrba made a report for the restoration and completion of the missing parts of the kennel . He directed the work of 53 stone sculptors between 1911 and 1933 and created numerous groups of figures based on living models for the Zwinger.

1926 awarded him the Technical University of Dresden , the honorary doctorate (as Dr.-Ing. E. h.).

Georg Wrba died on January 9, 1939 in his villa in Dresden-Blasewitz. A street in Dresden-Südvorstadt is named after him. His grave is in the forest cemetery in Munich.

Europe fountain

Many of Wrba's bronze works fell victim to the need for metal during the Second World War, such as the “girl with a gazelle” in the rose garden. The Europa-Brunnen on Königsheimplatz, Wrba's largest fountain, was dismantled in 1944 and not fully reconstructed until 1995.

Works (selection)

Georg Wrba's works primarily include building, fountain and small sculptures.

Activity as judge (selection)

  • 1925: Specialist judge in the high-rise competition for the office building of the Dresdner Anzeiger in Dresden on Johannesring (now at the corner of Dr.-Külz-Ring / Marienstraße / Dippoldiswalder Platz)


  • The sculptor Georg Wrba 1872–1939 - The cathedral furnishings in Wurzen and his work in Saxony . Special exhibition in the Cathedral of St. Mary in Wurzen , in the Städtische Galerie am Markt and in the Museum Wurzen, November 4, 2006 to March 18, 2007


On May 20, 2015, the art expert Claudia Klugmann, head of the sculpture collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, and the theologian Wolfgang Ratzmann, professor emeritus for practical theology, presented the topic “Highly appreciated and highly controversial: Georg Wrba's art in the Wurzen Cathedral” of the University of Leipzig, invited to Wurzen Cathedral. The lecture is part of the "Image and Message" series of events organized by the Johanniter relief community in Leipzig.


Himels as Matthias

Georg Hitl, managing director of the Carl Poellath coin and minting factory in Schrobenhausen , asked German artists in 1903 to make their medal models available. 13 artists such as Friedrich Wilhelm Hörnlein and Georg Wrba followed the call . In 1906 Wrba created a bronze medal by Alfred Messel in a series of artist portraits.

Hermann Ilgen was the main sponsor of the renovation of the Wurzen Cathedral at the beginning of the 1930s . At that time Georg Wrba was won over for the extensive redesign of the cathedral interior in 1931/1932. He created a cycle of late Expressionist sculptures made of cast bronze , which still dominate the interior of the cathedral today, including the bronze pulpit : the heads of the apostles at the base of the pulpit bear the facial features of the canons of the time - and also those of Georg Wrba and his son Hans Wrba. - Significantly, the head of the apostle with the face of Georg Wrba is in the "dead corner" of the pulpit (seen from the front: left behind) directly on the cathedral wall and is therefore almost completely hidden (only the side profile can be seen), while the face of son Hans is attached to the front left of the pulpit.


  • Ingrid Leps: Wurzen Cathedral scores with unique furnishings. Expressive bronze treasure of the first order is the focus of a lecture evening on Wednesday. In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , Muldental edition, May 18, 2015, p. 28 (extensive, four-column article)
  • Ingrid Leps: Highly valued and highly controversial - Lecture on Georg Wrba in Wurzen Cathedral. In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , Muldental edition, May 23, 2015, p. 30.
  • Drago Bock: It is unparalleled. In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , Wurzen edition, 10 May 2010.
  • Günter Kloss: Georg Wrba (1872–1939). A sculptor between historicism and modernity. (= Studies on the international history of architecture and art , Volume 2.) Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 1998, ISBN 3-932526-20-1 .
  • Patricia Zschuckelt: The sculptures by Prof. Georg Wrba in the Wurzen Cathedral and its redesign in the years 1931–1932. unpublished Master's thesis, University of Leipzig, 1998. (in the library of the Institute for Art History and can be viewed there)
  • Thomas Pöpper (Ed.): Georg Wrba (1872–1939). In the shadow of modernity. Plöttner Verlag , Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-938442-67-8 .
  • Rolf Günther: The symbolism in Saxony 1870-1920. Sandstein, Dresden 2005, ISBN 3-937602-36-4 .
  • Wrba, Georg . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 36 : Wilhelmy-Zyzywi . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1947, p. 272-273 .
  • Wrba, Georg . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists of the XX. Century. tape 6 , supplements H-Z . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1962, p. 485 .

Web links

Commons : Georg Wrba  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leonard Forrer : Biographical Dictionary of Medallists . Wrba, Prof. Georg. Volume VI. Spink & Son Ltd, London 1916, p. 555 f .  ; Artist. Georg Wrba. German Society for Medal Art, accessed on November 29, 2014 .
  2. a b c d Ralf Hübner: A great sculptor - almost forgotten . In: Saxon newspaper . January 20, 2018 ( paid online [accessed January 21, 2018]).
  3. Ingrid Leps: Highly appreciated and highly controversial - Lecture on Georg Wrba in Wurzen Cathedral. Detailed report in the Leipziger Volkszeitung, Muldental edition, May 23, 2015, p. 30
  4. s. List of members in the catalog of the 3rd German Artist Association Exhibition , Weimar 1906. P. 59 online (accessed on June 22, 2016)
  5. ^ Exhibition catalog X. Exhibition of the Munich Secession: The German Association of Artists (in connection with an exhibition of exquisite products of the arts in the craft) , Verlaganstalt F. Bruckmann, Munich 1904 (p. 20: Wrba, Georg, Munich. Catalog No. 212a: Female marble bust , 212b: Male marble bust .)
  6. Honorary doctoral students of the TH / TU Dresden. Technical University of Dresden, accessed on January 27, 2015 .
  7. ^ Bismarck tower on Lake Starnberg
  8. Figures and stone carvings in the parish church of St. Maximilian in Munich
  9. Return of the bear to the festival hall of the Stadthaus Berlin ( memento from November 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Restoration of the Charlottenburger Tor in Berlin ( Memento from July 23, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  11. ^ Art in public space. (Brochure of the state capital Dresden) 1996.
  12. ^ Gernot Schnellbacher: Nibelung monuments in Worms. (with picture of the Nibelungen relief at the Cornelianum)
  13. architectural decoration on Rappolthaus in Hamburg ( Memento of 26 July 2015, Internet Archive )
  14. Cornelius Gurlitt : Wrba's new fountain in Dresden-Blasewitz . In: Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung , Volume 42, No. 103 (December 23, 1922), pp. 629–630.
  15. Günter Janke: A Wurzen war memorial that is actually not one. In: Der Heimatbote , Oschatz 2001, issue 23, p. 10 f. Quote: “The Muldenstadt can probably refer to one of the most worth seeing war memorials of the 1st World War in Saxony. It is neither drunk with patriotism, nor is it designed in a courageous and heroic manner, but its timeless design reminds us to think about the futility of any war. "
  16. Wurzener Denkmal turns 80 Leipziger Volkszeitung, April 28, 2010.
  17. Kai-Uwe Brandt: “The Angel of Siberia” - Wurzen wants to pay tribute to Elsa Brändström - memorial of the famous nurse Subject in the culture committee / consul: “A huge treasure for Wurzen”. In: Leipziger Volkszeitung, Muldental edition, May 30, 2015, p. 29.
  18. Picture Archive Hamburg, Möckebergbrunnen
  19. Dieter Hübener: Monument topography of the Federal Republic of Germany, monuments in Brandenburg. Volume 16.1: Spree-Neisse district. Part 1: Cities of Forst (Lausitz) and Guben, Peitz Office and Schenkendöbern municipality. 1st edition. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft and Brandenburg State Office for Monument Preservation and State Archaeological Museum, 2012, ISBN 978-3-88462-334-3 , page 156
  20. Page on the high-rise competition at .
  21. ^ Leaflet (A3) / Leporello for the exhibition, Wurzen 2006.
  23. Ingrid Leps: Highly appreciated and highly controversial - Lecture on Georg Wrba in Wurzen Cathedral. Report in the Leipziger Volkszeitung , Muldental edition, May 23, 2015, p. 30.
  24. Yearbook for Numismatics and Monetary History 37/38, 1987/88, p. 150 .
  25. Catalog number: 77.2 - Günter Kloss: Georg Wrba (1872-1939). A sculptor between historicism and modernity . Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 1998, ISBN 3-932526-20-1 . - Illustration on p. 113.
  26. Beginning with the pulpit stairs: Ludwig Ihmels as Matthias, Johannes Wiede as Simon Zelotes, Richard Weidauer as Matthäus, Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen as Thomas, Paul Herfurth as Andreas, Gotthard von Pentz as Jakobus, at the lectern above Friedrich Krug von Nidda and von Falkenstein as Paulus, Hermann Ilgen as Petrus, Hans Wrba (son of the artist Georg Wrba) as Johannes, Alfred Ackermann as Philippus, Friedrich Seetzen as Bartholomäus, Paul Geipel as Thaddäus, Georg Wrba as Jakobus Alphäus