Remember Edith Breckwoldt or why you never know when you meet an angel

  • HAMBURG, Germany
  • /
  • December 14, 2022

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Sculpture by Edith Breckwoldt
Text+Photo Dr. Barbara Aust-Wegemund

We have often heard about being kind to everyone because you never know when you might be meeting an angel. This actually may happen to you, when you get in touch with Edith Breckwoldt’s sculptures.


In 2022 we celebrate the 85th birthday of one of the most iconic, controversial, and astonishingly multilevel artists: Edith Breckwoldt (1937-2013).

“When Edith was talking to you she’d always be feeling something,” says Frank Breckwoldt, her strongest fan, husband and muse. “The way she has been touching a stone, a flower, a tree, rubbing it with the palm of her hand, spreading out her fingers. She was intensely tactile, and that fed into her work, her feel for stone, wood, bronze – and to human relations.” In most art exhibitions you read the instruction “Do not touch”. But Edith Breckwoldt labed her works with “Please touch”, to get in touch with the sculpture and surprise the visitors with their own hidden emotions.

Inner Peace, Symbiosis, Vitality

Inner peace, symbiosis and vitality are the words that come to mind with Edith Breckwoldt. Her sculptures embody the great themes that she explored throughout her career; the ambiguities of human relationships. Using semi-abstract forms of human figures, she employed their shapes as vehicles to convey emotions. Edith Breckwoldt continually extended her sculptural ideas using first naturalistic, later abstract imagery, while exploring the possibilities of her chosen medium - plaster cast in bronze. She denied any influence by her teacher, the Edwin Scharff alumnus Fritz  Fleer, but developed her own artistic identity focused on an impulsive creative working process.

Castle Hohenlinden

Edith Breckwoldt’s studio was based in her home in Hamburg, Castle Hohenlinden with its gardens open to the sky and the elements. But it was surrounded by thick granite walls, so she could keep her privacy if she wanted and benefited of a control and concentration about her. Driven by her enthusiasm and love for life, to her family and to nature, the inspiration was all coming from her heart. All her passion, even the world’s pain and frustration were channelled into her work. 


Memorial St. Nikolai Hamburg

In 2004, an immense bronze sculpture of an angel “Erdenengel” was unveiled at the famous memorial St. Nikolai Church, awarded by the Hamburg Gouvernment, Head of Cultural Affairs, Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck. Edith Breckwoldt has created a symbol of world peace, but moreover a piece of contemporary art, that becomes international recognition on the world stage. Just three years later in 2007, the former cancellor and native of Hamburg Helmut Schmidt organized to install Henry Moore’s sculpture  “Large Two Figures” in public park Hamburg Moorweide to remember to war and reconciliation between the European nations.

So what is it? What makes Edith Breckwoldt’s work so unique and unforgetable?


No doubt, it is this hybrid language where Modernism meets the Contemporary through inner and outer journeys, where vibrant visions become reality. It means listening to your innermost self, being quiet, being impulsive, marvelling, hoping – hearing your heartbeat and being overwhelmed. Reflecting the universe of time and space, Edith Breckwoldt’s work combines technical precision with passion and innovation. Her symbolism is manifested in the relationship between the outside world and the microcosm of inner feelings.  A dream came true. Thank you Edith, thanks to the universe for that unforgetable artist.


More about Edith Breckwoldt (1937 Lauenburg/Elbe - 2013 Hamburg, Germany)



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