Unknown artist, German Soldier

Unknown artist, German Soldier Unknown artist, German Soldier Unknown artist, German Soldier

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Price:€ 4200.00


'Deutsche Soldat' ('German Soldier')
Heavy cast of 16.1 kg.
50 cm high (including granit base)

The thickness of the iron, its size, the absence of a signature and the facial expression indicate that this is not a stand-alone cast. Likely it has been part of a larger sculpture, assumable a part of monument or memorial, which were destroyed on a huge scale in Germany, in and after World War II.
The expression on the face of 'German Soldier' -it could have just been an ordinary father- is a superb reflection of the reality and hardness of war.

The Stahlhelm as an icon

'German Soldier' is a relatively large sculpture (36 centimeters high, 26 centimeters wide) of the head of a German front soldier wearing a Stahlhelm. It is a M16, M17 or M18 model, thus a pre-M35 model, which was introduced in 1935. The main difference is that the M35 no longer had the large, prominent lugs projecting from both sides, to which the armor shield (at the forehead) could be attached. As we know, the Stahlhelm was symbolic of strength, bravery, persistence, and heroism. It stood for an almost spiritual idea of responsibility and performance of duty. 
The Bundeswehr, founded in 1955 (preceded by the old German state armies, the Reichswehr from 1921–1935, and the Wehrmacht from 1935–1945) abandoned the Stahlhelm, which had become too much a symbol of German military aggression. A new helmet was chosen, a variant of the more harmless-looking American M1. In the 1970s the Americans developed a new helmet (with Kevlar) with the shape of the old German M35. In the 1990s the German army also introduced new Kevlar helmets, also with the shape of the old Stahlhelm M35.

There were many other Reichswehr and Wehrmacht soldiers sculpted, but few of this size were made; most sculptures were lightweight and no higher than 15 or 20 centimeters. This one weights 16,1 kilogram.
No other casts are known to exist.


- condition : II                    
- size : height 50 cm, including granit base of 12 cm. Weight 16.1 kg
- type : cast iron                                             
- misc. : (new) granit base with stainless steel

There are only three known stand-alone sculptures of a similar structure and size, made by Professor Friedrich Roland Watzka (1906 - ?). 'Feuer Frei' was displayed at the Great German Art Exhibition in 1942. The black iron cast, which is about 48 centimeters high (excluding base), was bought by the city of Würzberg for 1,200 Reichsmark. Today it is displayed in the Museum Kulturspeicher in Würzberg. 'Head of a Warrior', another sculpture by Professor Watzka, was displayed in the GDK in 1944. A third bust of Watzka was held in the U.S. Army Centre of Military History in Washinton DC (iron cast, 23 inches high, 52 pounds heavy, 1943). This cast is now owned by the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Friedrich Watzka, 'Feuer Frei! ('Fire-proof'). Cast iron, height 58 cm (excluding base). GDK 1942, room 9. Bought by the city of Würzberg for 1.200 RM. Nowadays in the possession of 'Museum Kulturspeicher Würzberg'.

Friedrich Roland Watzka, 'Head of a Soldier', 1943. Cast iron, height 58 cm. Previously in the possession of the US Army Centre of Military History; nowadays owned by the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin.