German Modern Sculptor
(April 15, 1877–November 20, 1947)
Kolbe was born in Waldheim, Saxony. Originally trained as a painter in Dresden, Munich, and Paris, he began sculpting during a stay in Rome at the turn of the century under the technical guidance of sculptor Louis Tuaillon.
He was the leading German figure sculptor of his generation, in a vigorous, modern, simplified classical style similar to Aristide Maillol of France.
In 1905, Kolbe joined the 'Berliner Sezession', which he left in 1913, to join the 'Freie Sezession'. His artistic breakthrough came in 1912 with his sculpture masterpiece "Die Tänzerin", his most famous work. As he was very interested in Asian faces, D. N. Mazumdar, father of Indian novelist Anita Desai, sat for him, resulting in a bust and a torso. In 1929, he collaborated with Lilly Reich and Mies van der Rohe for his sculpture in the Barcelona Pavilion where Mies van der Rohe placed Kolbe's Morgen (Morning) in a small water basin. As the last president of the Deutscher Künstlerbund, he devoted himself to the promotion of fellow artists who were classified "degenerate".
Kolbe also made ninety-nine prints, beginning with lithographs around 1900, primarily literary illustrations. In the 1920s, encouraged by philosopher, Ernst Alfred Cassirer (July 28,1874 - April 13, 1945), he made dry-points of dancers and nudes in motion, subjects he favored in his sculpture.