1920 – 1921
Design: Hans Walther
Main Cemetery, Binderslebener Landstraße 75, Erfurt, Germany
Haage & Schmidt
The Erfurt commercial horticultural firm Haage & Schmidt was already one of the largest nurseries in Europe in the 19th century.
In 1898 Carl Schmidt (1848–1919), who came from Schleusingen, Thuringia, had taken over the business as sole owner and managed and expanded the company with great success until the outbreak of the First World War.
He died on February 26, 1919, shortly after his seventieth birthday. Two years later, his son Curt (1882–1921) also died at the age of only thirty-eight.
The tomb for father and son consists of seven branching pillars of basalt lava facing each other.
Beneath this implied dome, a stylized figure made of stone lies inside, on diagonally stacked slabs.
The sculptor Hans Walther was the son of the stonemason Carl Walther from Apolda, who produced funerary monuments. After the family moved to Erfurt in 1896, his father set up a new workshop there, which flourished and soon enabled him to build his own house.
In Berlin, Walther came into contact with leading Expressionist painters such as Christian Rohlfs, Max Pechstein, Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger, as well as the architects Hans Scharoun and the Taut brothers.
His traumatic experiences as a soldier in World War I shaped his world view and his conception of art.
In contrast, stones in crystalline, expressionist forms were spared – including five monuments in the New Jewish Cemetery alone, as well as the tombstone shown here.