1923–1925 Bauhaus student
Löber heeded Gropius words in the Bauhaus Manifesto: “There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an enhancement of the craftsman.” This is how Löber continued the Bauhaus tradition.
Ernst Ferdinand Wilhelm Löber was born on 26th February 1903 in Neidhardtshausen (Thuringia) as the son of the teacher Helene Reisner and her husband, the clergyman Ernst Löber. His parents recognised his artistic talent early on and thus promoted him. Following his schooling at the Realgymnasium (secondary school) in Ilmenau, he first trained as an art teacher for a semester at the Staatliche Kunstschule Berlin-Schöneberg in 1921/22. But he felt an urge to work more freely as an artist / to express himself more freely as an artist / But he was more interested in free art. (freien Kunst)
He thus applied at the Weimar State Bauhaus. Wilhelm Löber studied at the Bauhaus from 1923 until 1926. He did László Moholy-Nagy’s and Josef Albers’ preliminary courses. The latter had advised Löber to go to Dornburg. During the winter semester 1923 Wilhelm Löber attended the training course ‘Basic Teachings and Pottery’. Dornburg’s pottery workshop was a branch of Weimar Bauhaus. Here students were taught the basics of turning, glazing and burning by Max Krehan and Gerhard Marcks. Löber passed his journeyman exam in 1926.
While an apprentice at the ceramics workshop, Wilhelm Löber made the woodblock series ‘Dornburger Straßen- und Familienbilder’ (Dornburg Street and Family Pictures) in the expressionistic style. He used the Bauhauslers, different scenes from the making of ceramics or situations from everyday life as motives.
Löber at the same time trained as wood and stone sculptor in the Bauhaus’ sculpting workshop under the sculptor Josef Hartwig. Subsequently he exhibited larger wooden sculptures at the ‘Juryfreie Kunstausstellung’ and in the ‘Akademieausstellung Berlin’ in 1925/26.
From 1926 he trained as modeller, plaster and porcelain designer in the ceramics class of the Staatlichen Porzellanmanufaktur Berlin (State Porcelain Manufactory). In 1927 Löber designed the festive bowl (‘Löberschale’ – Löber Bowl), which the Königlichen Porzellanmanufaktur Berlin has been producing since 1929. In addition he produced several partially large sculptures, which a.o. show the production stages of porcelain production. In 1929 he participated in porcelain exhibitions in Monza and Barcelona. The collaboration with KPM ended in 1934.
To Löber his former university – the “brilliant attempt to leave the social and artistic dilemma” – was a central pillar of his artistic conviction throughout his period of working. “The Bauhaus fundamentally shaped me […]. Met Gropius and highly appreciated him […]. In addition to […] classes with Moholy, Kandinsky and Klee, the teaching and example of Marck’s influenced me. Everything that I could pass on to my students Jochen Jastram and Wolfgang Eckardt was taught to me by Marcks.”
From 1929 to 1932 Löber was a master student of Gerhard Marcks in the class for sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of applied arts) Burg Giebichenstein, Halle. Here he met Frida Lüttich, who would later become his wife. Study trips took him to Italy already in 1923, to Iceland in 1926, to Paris in 1927, to Lapland and Leningrad in 1929 and finally in 1939 to Greece and Albania.
From 1929 to 1936 he undertook further training: as a stone sculptor with Master Gobes (1878–1966) in Berlin and 1930 as metal chaser in the workshop in Burg Giebichenstein. In 1930 he created the Vogelweide memorial in Halle, which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1937, and the Goethe fountain in Ilmenau in 1932, which the Nazis panelled. From 1932 Wilhelm Löber worked independently as a sculptor and ceramist in Althagen und Berlin. In 1933 he participated in the Gurlitt exhibition in Berlin together with his wife Frida. In 1939/40 he carried out metal works at the aircraft factory Bachmann in Ribnitz. From 1940 to 1945 he was a soldier and was wounded twice.
After the War and still before the founding of the GDR Wilhelm Löber was appointed as dozent, teacher, professor at the Schnitzschule Empfertshausen. Until 1950 he headed their wood carving class Holzbildhauerfachklasse and until 1951 the master course. He was, however, fired, when he supported his politically persecuted student politisch verfolgten Klaus Beck. Following a short teaching engagement during the summer of 1952 in the Fachabteilung Stein (department for stone) of the der Fachschule Wismar, he started working independently again from January 1953.
In the subsequent years several objects were created for the public space, such as multiple columns in the Lange Straße in Rostock in 1953, a fountain on the market square in Barth in 1959, the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt memorial in Löbnitz in 1960, from 1961 to 1964 almost life-sized musk oxen for the zoo in Rostock and Berlin as well as the memorial for the victims of national socialism in Ribnitz-Damgarten in 1965.
Wilhelm Löber founded the highly successful ‘Fischlandkeramik’ (Fischland ceramics) together with the painter Arnold Klünder and their wives in 1956. He left his family and moved to the island of Rügen in 1966. Here he founded the equally sought-after Rügenkeramik together with his new partner and future wife Margarethe Markgraf one year later. He consigned the workshop to the Staatlicher Kunsthandel der DDR (GDR State Art Trade) in 1976, as he primarily wanted to work as sculptor. In 1969 he created the ‘große Seeadler mit Beute’ (large sea eagle with prey) and in 1976 a fish fountain for Juliusruh as well as expressive bronze miniatures.
Wilhelm Löber, one of the most diverse Bauhaus students, passed away on 28th July 1981 in Juliusruh. [HG 2019]
· Hartmut Gill (2015): Wilhelm Löber. Vom Bauhaus zur Fischland- und Rügenkeramik; Rostock.
· Hartmut Gill (2018): Der vergessene Bauhausschüler und Rügenkeramiker Wilhelm Löber inklusive „6. Bauhaus-Album“, Gransee.
· Förderkreis Keramik-Museum Bürgel und Dornburger Keramik-Werkstatt e. V. (Hg.), Konrad Kessler (2018): Wilhelm Löber Bauhaus-Schüler — Keramiker — Bildhauer; Bürgel.
· GoetheStadtMuseum (Hg.), Kathrin Kunze ( 2019): Der Bauhausschüler Wilhelm Löber und der Goethebrunnen auf dem Ilmenauer Friedhof, Gransee.
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