A House for Goethe

Object: A House for Goethe
Location: Taunusanlage
District: City centre
Artist: Chillida, Eduardo
Technique: Concrete (with added colour pigment and copper shavings)
Date: 1982/86
Occasion: The sculpture was donated to Frankfurt city council on 17th September 1986.
On Taunusanlage, just below the Beethoven monument by Georg Kolbe, has stood this concrete walk-in sculpture since 1986. It was originally supposed to be made from iron, but Chilida switched to a relatively unusual material for sculptors, concrete. He used concrete for the first time in 1974, in his sculpture in front of the ancient 11th-century portal of Visagra in Toledo. In the sculpture "A House for Goethe", pigment and fine copper shavings were added to the concrete to lend it a greyish-brown colour. Its coarse surface results from the use of roughly assembled, highly textured planking. The sculpture is open at the front and the top. On a monumental scale it combines straight surfaces and geometric openings, thus creating a semi-enclosed space. Two surfaces are linked by an arch forming a symbolic bridge between space and time. The whole structure is reminiscent of the burst open apse of a Romanesque church in whose middle one might find the final resting place of Goethe. As Chillida commented on this work, "The house of a man like Goethe couldn't have a roof. The light he was seeking would have been hidden by one".