Anna von Kahle (right) in the gallery of the Friedrichswerder Church.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Robert Bussler

Ideal and Form

The exhibition “Ideal and Form” in the newly reopened Friedrichswerder Church invites visitors to rediscover the Berlin school of sculpture with works from the time of Schinkel up to the period of German Empire. The exhibition features a self-portrait by the artist Anna von Kahle (1843-1920), on loan from the Stadtmuseum Berlin.

by Melanie Huber

Permanent exhibition in the Friedrichswerder Church

Designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and built between 1824 and 1830, the Friedrichswerder Church has been a museum church and branch of the Alte Nationalgalerie since 1987. The new exhibition goes beyond the period of Schinkel and highlights the international influences that invigorated and helped shape the Berlin school of sculpture.

The artistic movement also featured many prominent women sculptors including Anna von Kahle, who died in Berlin in 1920. Her bust is on display in the exhibition.

Anna von Kahle

Born in 1843 in Bellin near Bärwalde in Brandenburg’s Neumark region, Anna von Kahle was primarily a self-taught sculptor. She began working with clay from the brickyard that her father owned. In 1876, she managed to attract the attention of the sculptor Fritz Schaper, who offered to give her lessons. In 1879, her work was featured for the first time in the exhibition of the Prussian Academy of Arts. The marble self-portrait bust that featured at that exhibition can now be seen in the Friedrichswerder Church. By 1880, Kahle had her own studio in Berlin. In just a short period of time she was able to make a name for herself in Berlinand beyond, and her works were featured in exhibitions in Germany and abroad, including in England and America. In addition to fountain figures, garden sculptures and funerary monuments, she created characteristic portraits, including one of Theodor Fontane.
View of the Friedrichswerder Church
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Robert Bussler
An emancipated woman

Anna von Kahle was actively involved in the advancement of women and founded the “Arbeitshülfe” association in 1886. Throughout her life, she championed women’s social causes and was also a member of the Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen (Association of Berlin Women Artists).

The Märkisches Museum acquired her self-portrait following her death. The marble statue, which depicts the artist at the age of 36, represented her debut in the art world. The lifelike depiction is an inspiring representation of the imperfect, including bags under the eyes and a double chin.


Friedrichswerderschen Kirche
Werderscher Markt
10117 Berlin

030-266 424242