At the very beginning of the 20th century Rudolf Belling’s name was something like a battlecry. The composer of the "Dreiklang" (triad) evoked frequent and hefty discussions. He was the first, who took up again thoughts of the famous Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1570), who, at his time, stated, that a sculpture should show several good views.
These were the current assumptions at the turn of the century.
However they foreshadow an indication of sculpture being three-dimensional. Rudolf Belling amplified: a sculpture should show only good views.
And so he became an opponent to one of the German head scientists of art in Berlin, Adolf von Hildebrandt, who, in his book, The problem of Form in Sculpture (1903) said: "Sculpture should be comprehensible – and should never force the observer to go round it". His theories of space and form convinced even critics like Carl Einstein and Paul Westheim, and influenced generations of sculptors after him.
lieutenant is just this point which isn’t evident enough today.
From 1933 on, Belling had no chance to work in his home country. As his political opinions were also not in conformity with the Nazi regime, he was banned from working as well as from his membership of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. The president of the Academy of Arts in Berlin advised him in the name of the Minister of Education and Arts to hand in his resignation from the Academy.
In 1935 Rudolf Belling stayed for eight months in New York, where he had an exhibition in the Weyhe Gallery with his most important works from the Modern Classic Period.
He also gave courses of lectures on modern sculpture and his own theories. America offered him a marvellous possibility at that time to live his life there.
He returned to Germany because his nine-year-old son Thomas was in danger there since his mother, Rudolf Belling’s first wife, had been Jewish. He lived and worked there for thirty years.
From 1937 on he was professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, re-organizing the department of sculpture and mediating introductions towards modern art, basing his work on traditional studies.
From 1951 to 1966, he was professor at the Istanbul Technical University, at the department of architecture. He was called back to the Academy in Berlin West only in 1956, the same year the works which stayed in New York could be received back with the help of the Foreign Office. At the age of eighty, he decided to return to Germany again, where he lived in Krailling, near Munich.