Fritz Klimsch German sculptor

Ulstein's owl, 1927.
Ulstein’s owl, 1927.

Fritz Klimsch is a German sculptor who devoted his life to art and had absolutely no interest in politics.

Fritz Klimsch (February 10, 1870 – March 30, 1960) – the famous German sculptor of the first half of the twentieth century, an outstanding representative of modern and classicism. He is rightfully considered one of the greatest German artists of the times of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. The greatest fame to the master was brought by sculptural works depicting a naked female nature.

Fritz Klimsch was the most prominent, but by no means the only representative of the family dynasty of German artists.

Fritz Klimsch. Tombstone on the grave of Alois Alzheimer, 1915.
Tombstone on the grave of Alois Alzheimer, 1915.


Fritz Klimsch was born on February 10, 1870 in Frankfurt am Main. He was the third child in the family and since childhood he was very fond of drawing.

After receiving a certificate of secondary education, Klimsch entered the Berlin Institute of Fine Arts, from which he graduated with honors in 1894. He received a grant for the right to travel to Italy to continue his studies. On the Apennine peninsula, the Berlin Academy rented small studios for its fellows in the Villa Stroll-Fern.

Fritz Klimsch. War memorial Steel Helmet, 1920.
War memorial Steel Helmet, 1920.

The young sculptor married Irma Lauter, with whom he had been happily married for over 50 years. His wife gave him four children, but none of them followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1892, Klimsch took part in an art exhibition in the German capital for the first time. And in 1898, Fritz became one of the founders of the Berlin Secession.

The artist gained fame after winning the competition for the best design of a monument to the doctor Rudolf Virchow. And six years later, Klimsch was elected a full member of the Prussian Academy of Arts.

Julius Friedrich Meissner's grave with sculptures by Fritz Klimsch, 1903.
Julius Friedrich Meissner’s grave with sculptures by Fritz Klimsch, 1903.

The heyday of creativity

The sculptor and his family spent the years of the First World War in Berlin. He was mainly engaged in the manufacture of antique-style sculptures and tombstones. Fritz Klimsch was never interested in politics and devoted all his time to art. He calmly survived the collapse of the German Empire. The sculptor had many influential patrons who supplied him with orders.

Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 further strengthened Klimsch’s authority in the artistic environment. His works, executed in a naturalistic style, fit perfectly into the cultural policy of National Socialism. The works of the master were admired by Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and many other figures of the criminal regime.

Monument to Rudolf Virchow, 1906-1910.
Monument to Rudolf Virchow, 1906-1910.
Until the end of World War II, the sculptor was provided with numerous government orders.

Franz constantly took part in art exhibitions. He also received several prestigious awards for services to German art. He was even included by Hitler in the list of “the greatest artists of the Reich, especially gifted by God.” Nevertheless, Franz Klimsch was never a member of the Nazi Party and was not a supporter of its ideology. Therefore, he subsequently avoided accusations of collaboration with the criminal regime.

Shortly before the end of the war, the 75-year-old sculptor and his family moved to the Austrian city of Salzburg. But in 1946, as part of the German repatriation program, he was forced to return to Germany. As a result, he settled in Freiburg, where he lived the rest of his life. After the war, the master completely retired and did not create a single work of art. Fritz Klimsch died on March 30, 1960 in a hospital room at the age of 90 and was buried in the local cemetery.

Sculptor at work
Sculptor at work/
Grave, sculpture by Fritz Klimsch (1904)
Grave, sculpture by Fritz Klimsch (1904)