Oswald Wenckebach

Ludwig Oswald Wenckebach was born in 1895 in Heerlen. Around 1910 he began studying with his uncle, the painter Willem Wenckebach. He then received a classical art education at the Kunstnijverheidsschool in Haarlem and from 1914 to 1919 in Vienna. He painted and also made woodcuts, etching and lithographs. Upon his return to the Netherlands he settled in Schagen. There he became acquainted with the sculptor John Rädecker who encouraged him to take up sculpture. However, he did not entirely abandon the graphic art: in 1928 he designed a three-cent postage stamp to commemorate the Amsterdam Olympics.

Wenckebach was self-taught in sculpture. Initially he worked in the classical Greek tradition; he had been impressed by classical sculpture during a stay in Greece. He made sculptures for (the restoration of) buildings and statues and busts in stone and bronze. In 1935 he was appointed extraordinary professor in modelling and sculpture in the Department of Architecture at the Technische Hogeschool in Delft. After the Second World War Wenckebach made several war monuments (e.g. Alphen 1949, Haarlem 1949, Middelburg 1950). He also designed medals and coins such as the guilder minted in 1950 bearing the image of Queen Juliana.

It was not until the 1950s that Wenckebach gradually developed his own figurative style, abandoning the classical tradition with its heroic, athletic and therefore archaic figures. Gradually his figures took on their own character with a stylised design and a milder, more everyday, sometimes ironic personality. Wenckebach died in Noordwijkerhout in 1962.