* 22 October 1869 in Großauheim near Hanau; † 18 October 1921 in Berlin
German sculptor and medal coiner
Georg August Gaul is a master of animal sculptures. He presents animals in calm, typical postures, focussed on the essential, as free as possible from material structures. With this objective approach he anticipates characteristic features of Modern Art.
In his father’s stonemason workshop Gaul obtains first stimuli for his future profession. After an apprenticeship as modeller and chaser he is, from 1884 on, a student of the academy of drawing in Hanau.. In 1888 he goes to Berlin. where he attends evening classes at the arts- and-crafts museum and works in Alexander Calandrelli’s sculptor studio. When he wins a complimentary permanent ticket for the Berlin Zoo he, from 1890 on, is a frequent visitor on the Zoo, where he intensely studies and draws. In 1894 Gaul starts his studies at the Berlin Academy of Arts, in the class of the painter Paul Meyerheim, whose strong point is the portrayal of animals. In the following year, Gaul is a master student at the studio of Reinhold Begas, the prominent representative of Neobaroque in the Berlin school of sculptors. By the sculpture ‘Roman goats’, which is also shown at the Paris World Exposition in 1900, Gaul obtains greater renown. In 1898 the artist is among the founding members of the Berlin Secession; from 1902 on, he is active in their managing committee. Apart from private acquisitions of the artist’s sculptures, the Hamburg art gallery purchases nine of the artist’s animal sculptures in 1906. Among the closer friends of the artist there are the sculptors Bernhard Heising and Ernst Barlach, the draughtsman Heinrich Zille, and the gallerist Paul Cassirer. In 1908, Gaul is appointed professor at the Academy of Arts, and in 1919 he is included in the commission responsible for acquisitions of the Berlin Nationalgalerie. The city of Berlin honours Gaul with a tomb on the Dahlem cemetery. Works by Gaul, in solo and group exhibitions, are exhibited at the Berlin Georg-Kolbe Museum in 2009, at the Historischen Museum Hanau in 2011, and at the Kunstmuseum Bern in 2015.