Barlach used dramatic gesture as a means of expressing a wide range of human emotions. “The Avenger’s” strong silhouette and fanlike robe suggest a powerful kinetic thrust and unrestrained aggression. The relatively inexpressive face of the figure is subordinated to the dynamic use of the entire figure as projectile. This work testifies to the enthusiasm with which Barlach, like other German artists and intellectuals, welcomed the outbreak of World War I, although their patriotism was, in Barlach’s case, short lived.
Artist Ernst Barlach, German, 1870-1938
  • The Avenger
  • Der Racher (alternate title)
Date 1914, cast 1930
Medium bronze
Dimensions Overall: 17 1/2 × 8 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (44.5 × 21.6 × 59.7 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Mrs. George Kamperman in memory of her husband Dr. George Kamperman
Accession Number 64.260
Department European Modern Art to 1950
On View Modern N230, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, on left side above base: E Barlach 1/10
Inscriptions Inscribed: 1/10.
by 1946, Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman (Detroit, Michigan, USA);
1964-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. Detroit, 1989, no.115 (ill.).

Uhr, Horst. "Masterpieces of German Expressionism at the Detroit Institute of Arts." New York, 1982, p. 32 (ill.).

"Arts and Crafts in Detroit." 1976, no. 247, p.188 (ill.).

Bulletin of the DIA 44, no. 1 (1964-65): p. 10, p.14 (ill.).

Origins of Modern Sculpture. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts and St. Louis City Art Museum. Detroit and St. Louis, 1946, cat. no. 74. [as "Revenge"]