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Heinrich Heine on the island of Sylt: the most beautiful monument

The year 2005 marks the 150th anniversary of his death


The bronze sculpture Heinrich Heine by Arno Breker in front of the city hall of the island Sylt (a detail). Visitors to the island have put a red flower into the poet's hand.

© Photo Rudolf Uebbing / VG-Marco



Paris / Sylt (bpb) The most beautiful monument created in the 20th century to the poet Heinrich Heine is to be found on the island of Sylt in the North Sea. It is the lifesize bronze sculpture in front of the city hall, which was created by the sculptor Arno Breker (1900-1991). Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) is the most significant Jewish poet of the German language. He was one of the main representatives of the Young Germany. In his late reomantic poems he combines the richness of sentimentality with skepticism and irony (»Book of Songs«, 1827; »Romanzero«, 1851). His spirited and chatty style of writing prose (»Reisebilder«, 1826 bis 1831) made him a founder of the modern newspaper articles.

Arno Breker found his way to the poetry of Heine already as a schoolboy. For Breker, Heine has always remained to be the poet of youth. Until his old age, Breker has been regularly visiting the grave of Heine on the Montmartre cemetery in Paris, where Heine died, after much suffering and pain, on February 17, 1856. Always on those occasions, Breker would place some violets or forget-me-nots on his grave.



Heinrich Heine Monument by Arno Breker in Norderney. Total view of the sculpture as it looks in 2005. Heinrich Heine was a German-born poet and writer of the late 1700's, who was more highly regarded in France, England, and America than in his homeland. His poetry and thinking was deeply influenced by major events of the time, like the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. He died in Paris, where he had lived from 1831 as one of the central figures of the literary scene.

© Photo Rudolf Uebbing/Marco-VG,Bonn


Objects for a Heine Anniversary Exhibition in 2006

This inner attraction of the sculptor to the poet can be also noticed in the artworks that Arno Breker created. On the other hand, the Heine relief in Düsseldorf and the Heine figure in Hamburg by modern artists seem pitiful. The powerfully expressive Heinrich Heine Monument in Norderney came about thanks to the initiative of the "Heinrich Heine Monument Society' under the leadership of Dr. Hermann Lohausen. Arno Breker was present at the unveiling. On the pedestal of the monument is a quotation that Heine uttered in 1826 in Norderney: "I love the sea as my soul".

The European Art foundation in Berlin has the following artworks by Arno Breker available, which honor the memory of Heinrich Heine:

Heine Monument (middle size), Heine Monument (small), Heine portrait-bust (larger-than-life size), Heine portrait (small), two different lithographs 'The young Heine' (Mourlot, Paris), a lithograph for the illustration of the small book 'Heine on the Norderney Island', as well as an etching of Heine.

These works can be made available on loan for a Heine Exhibition in the anniversary year 2006. For more information, please contact the foundation (www.europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org) at this e-mail: sekretariat@europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org



© PROMETHEUS 98/2005


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Copyright 2005 Museum of European Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science.

Nr. 98, AUGUST 2005