Partner Magdalena Goldmann

Queer Places:
Innsbrucker Str. 23A, 10825 Berlin, Germany
Waldfriedhof Dahlem, Hüttenweg 47, 14195 Berlin, Germany

Renée Sintenis, Fotografie von Hugo Erfurth, 1930Renée Sintenis (born March 20, 1888 in Glatz , Glatz district , † April 22, 1965 in Berlin ; born Renate Alice Sintenis ) was a German sculptor , medalist and graphic artist who worked in Berlin. Above all, she created small-format animal sculptures, female nudes , portraits (drawings and sculptures) and sports statuettes .

The first of three children of the married couple Elisabeth Margarethe Friedländer, and Franz Bernhard Sintenis, a lawyer, Renate Alice grew up in Neuruppin until 1905. The daily closeness to nature influenced her later artistic work.

Her family name is of Huguenot origin (Sintenis [1] is derived from Saint-Denis ). She spent her childhood and youth in Neuruppin, where the family moved in 1888. After a short stay in Stuttgart , the family moved to Berlin in 1905, where his father had been employed by the Chamber Court .

Renate Sintenis received drawing lessons while still at school, followed in 1907 by studies in decorative plastics at the school of the Berlin Museum of Applied Arts with Wilhelm Haverkamp and Leo von König. In the fifth semester, she dropped out of studies to work as secretary on instructions from her father. She avoided this unwanted activity by breaking with the family, which for a long time caused her severe problems.

When Renée Sintenis (as she called herself from then on) met Georg Kolbe in 1910, she became his model. A life-size statue of a woman, no longer preserved, was created.

Inspired by this activity, she began to create female nudes, expressive heads such as those of André Gide and Joachim Ringelnatz , athletes such as the Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and self-portraits in drawings, sculptures (in terracotta ) and etchings.

Renée Sintenis, portrayed by Emil Rudolf Weiß , 1915

Renée Sintenis_Foto Jaro von Tucholka.jpg
Photo by Jaro von Tucholka, Archiv Georg Kolbe Museum

After 1915, the striking animal figures emerged, which became her artistic life theme. Since she rejected the monumentality in sculpture, she primarily created small-sized sculptures. These narrow works of art such as horses, deer, donkeys and dogs were very popular with the public because they fit in every handbag, were suitable as gifts and found space in small rooms.

Years of visits to Kolbe's studio developed into a friendship that lasted for years and was artistically accompanied by him. At the Berlin Autumn Exhibition in 1913, the first major exhibition of the Free Secession , Renée Sintenis took part (as in the years that followed) with small-format plaster sculptures. From 1913 she had her works cast in the Hermann Noack foundry, from which she was accompanied artistically for decades.

The immediate vicinity of the Berlin Secession to the Romanesque café and the studio of society photographer Frieda Riess gave Renée Sintenis access to well-known personalities. The writers Rainer Maria Rilke and Joachim Ringelnatz belonged to their circle of friends. With both friends, the artist often drove through the city in her open car, which contributed to her fame. Ringelnatz wrote a series of loving and tongue-in-cheek poems. For him she designed the grave slab from shell limestone ; the tomb is in the Berlin forest cemetery on Heerstrasse .

In 1917 she married the font artist, book designer, painter and illustrator Emil Rudolf Weiß , whom she had met years earlier as her teacher and then as a fatherly friend. He supported her and introduced her to numerous other artists. Their collaboration was limited to a few joint projects, of which the Edition 22 Songs of Sappho's Poems, for which Sintenis created the etchings and White produced the drafts, became particularly well-known.

Before Sintenis's works were exhibited by the gallery owner Alfred Flechtheim in Düsseldorf in 1920, the gallery owner Wolfgang Gurlitt represented them in his gallery Fritz Gurlitt . She had exhibited her sculptures regularly since 1913 and was highly valued by her colleagues from the Freie Secession, the most important Berlin artist association, Max Beckmann , Max Liebermann and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff . The opening of a gallery in Berlin in 1922 made her the most important protagonist of the well-known Flechtheim art circle in those years. The public interested in art was infatuated with their sports figures, the portraits of friends and the small-format self-portraits.

During the Weimar Republic , Renée Sintenis became an internationally recognized artist with exhibitions in the Berlin National Gallery in Berlin , Paris , the Tate Gallery London , the Museum of Modern Art in New York , Glasgow and Rotterdam , whose creations from small-format bronzes to young animals , representations of athletes (boxers, soccer players, runners) and portrait busts of their circle of friends were found worldwide in public and private collections.

Sintenis was awarded the third prize in the plastic section of the art competition for the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928. With five small-sized animal sculptures, Renée Sintenis participated in the exhibition of the German Association of Artists in 1929 in the Cologne State House . In 1930 she met the sculptor Aristide Maillol in Berlin. In 1931 she was appointed as the first sculptor (and second woman after Käthe Kollwitz ) together with 13 other artists in the Berlin Academy of the Arts - Section for Fine Arts - but the National Socialists forced her resignation in 1934. [3]

Due to her height, slim shape, androgynous charisma, confident, fashionable appearance and her beauty, she was often asked to be depicted, so that she was often portrayed by Emil Rudolf Weiß and Georg Kolbe , photographs Fritz Eschen and Frieda Riess and others. She embodied the type of 'new woman' in an excellent way, even if she was rather reserved.

Emil Rudolf Weiß was discharged from his university office on April 1, 1933, because of a rage against the Nazi regime and the law to reintroduce civil servants. Sintenis herself was excluded from the Academy of Arts in 1934 due to her Jewish origin - her maternal grandmother was Jewish before her conversion ; nevertheless, she was able to remain in the Reich Chamber of Culture , even if the National Socialists removed works from her from public collections.

During the dictatorship of the National Socialists , Renée Sintenis and her husband Emil Rudolf Weiß lived with considerable restrictions and retired. She continued to exhibit, although one of her self-portraits was shown in the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich in 1934. Since she was not banned from exhibiting, she was represented in Düsseldorf by the art dealer Alex Vömel , the successor to Flechtheim. In contrast to her time in the 1920s, she was not financially well, which was reinforced by the bronze casting ban of 1941.

Until the forced dissolution of the DKB in 1936, Renée Sintenis remained a member of the German Association of Artists. [4] It was not proven and was highly unlikely that it was sponsored by the NSDAP propagandist Hans Hinkel , as was later claimed. [6]

"Every power corrupts. The spiritual man must therefore always live in the opposition. [7] "

On November 7, 1942, Emil Rudolf Weiß died unexpectedly in Meersburg on Lake Constance . His death plunged Renée Sintenis into a deep crisis. Subsequently, she took over his studio in the Künstlerhaus on Kurfürstenstrasse . Max Pechstein also worked there, whose family temporarily took in the artist when her studio house was destroyed in 1945 by arson and several Allied bombings . Renée Sintenis lost almost all of her possessions; all papers and parts of her work were lost. While the majority of the cast models were preserved, the plaster frames of most portrait heads were also destroyed. In a self-portrait mask from 1944, the hardships of the war years can be seen in her features.

After the war, Renée Sintenis moved to an apartment on Innsbrucker Strasse with her life partner Magdalena Goldmann in 1945, where both lived until her death. In 1948, Renée Sintenis received the City of Berlin's Art Prize and was appointed by Karl Hofer to the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts , where she was appointed full professor in 1955, but she gave up teaching in the same year. In the same year she was appointed to the newly founded Akademie der Künste Berlin (West).

In the 1950s it became very successful again. She remained true to her artistic focus and motifs, which she called "making animals". A number of young statuettes were added. In 1957, Sintenis' statue of the Berlin Bear was erected as a life-size bronze sculpture on the median of today's federal highway 115 between Dreilinden and the Zehlendorf interchange . The then governing mayor of Berlin , Willy Brandt , inaugurated another copy on September 23, 1960 on Berliner Allee in Düsseldorf. On June 6, 1962, a bronze monument to the Berlin Bear was unveiled in the median of Federal Highway 9 at the level of today's Munich- Fröttmaning- Süd junction. A small sculpture of this work is awarded annually as a silver bear or golden bear to the winners of the International Film Festival (Berlinale).

For her 70th birthday in 1958, the Haus am Waldsee in Berlin dedicated a retrospective to the impressive artist.

Renée Sintenis died on April 22, 1965. Her grave is in the forest cemetery in Berlin-Dahlem , Dept. 24B-12. The tomb is one of the honorary graves of the State of Berlin.

The house of her last apartment in Berlin-Schöneberg , Innsbrucker Straße 23a, has a plaque.

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