ROBERT SCHUMANN Monument

Since 1901 the Robert Schumann City of Zwickau has been in possession of a monument to its famous son. Preparations for this work of art had begun 16 years earlier, and it has not always been located in its present position in the main market square in the heart of the city.

 

As early as 1885 a committee had been formed to erect a worthy monument to the city's »greatest son«. Its chairman, a professor Schnorr, wrote to Clara Schumann to inform her of this intention and mentioned 1910, the 100th birthday of the master, as a possible date for the monument's unveiling. In a letter that is today housed in the archive of the Schumann House, Clara expressed her joy at the announcement and went on to say the following: »Perhaps you could let me know of the form in which this monument is to be fashioned? Whether as a bust, relief or a complete figure? With regard to the first-mentioned, I should inform you that not one has thus far been a success, and of the reliefs, only those by Rietschel and Donndorf are satisfactory. Unfortunately, all others were complete failures, even unrecognizable in some cases.« The relief by Adolf Donndorf, which Clara Schumann had also critically objected to at the time, was located at the funerary monument in Bonn.

Ceremonial unveiling of the monument at its current location on the Main Market in Zwickau.

With regard to the Rietschel Relief (originally a double portrait of the artistic couple from the year 1846 for which they sat), Clara had evidently forgotten that an enlarged replica of Schumann's head had been taken from it and put on the House of Schumann's birth in Zwickau.

 

It was not after the turn of the century but as early as the close of the 1890s that the money - 35,000 Marks - had been collected and a competition was held which was eventually won in the second round by Rietschel's indirect student Johannes Hartmann (1869-1952). His design stood out from the other romanticizing or in some cases downright kitschy models by presenting Schumann sitting on his work chair in an almost realistic fashion, but with a somewhat dreamy gaze (directed toward the Gewandhaus/Cloth Hall). If not as programmed on Schumann's 90th birthday, then at least in 1901 (Clara had died five years previously, however) the unveiling was held during a larger Schumann festival featuring various concerts. Schumann's daughters Marie, Elise (Sommerhoff) and Eugenie, several grandchildren as well as a few of the composer's oldest friends such as Joseph Joachim and Carl Reinicke participated in the celebrations. The latter, for many years the musical director in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and himself a noted and prodigious composer, contributed a festive hymn whose performance he conducted.

Wreath laying ceremony in commemoration of the great composer

In addition, Schumann's Festival Overture on the Rheinweinlied op. 123 was performed.

Subsequently, the monument experienced several »moves«. In 1938, it was removed to the Regierungsplatz behind the Corn Market and in 1947 it was moved to the grounds of the Swan Lake (Schwanenteichanlagen). At the suggestion of the Robert Schumann Society and after a unanimous vote in the city council, in June 1993 the monument returned to its original location, which it was able to defend during the renovations to the main market in 2000.