Restoration of »Eva« has now begun

The bronze statue by Rodin, which was severely damaged by vandals in February 2016, has been undergoing extensive restoration since April of this year after being carefully examined by a team of experts. Following a public tender launched by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, a team of restorers was able to restore »Eva« to its original condition using a state-of-the-art 3D procedure. The sculpture is expected to be reinstalled in the foyer of the University’s Main Building on Geschwister-Scholl-Straße in December 2018, just in time for the Bauhaus centenary.

There was widespread shock on 7 February 2016 after a rioter violently pushed one of the most important works of art displayed in one of the most prominent locations on campus off its platform. Rodin’s »Eva« was taken to experts the very next day. They conducted an in-depth examination of the damage to the sculpture’s shoulder, arm and plinth in the months that followed. Unfortunately, the violent attack caused more damage than expected: “Not only did the sculpture suffer severe external damage at the points of impact, the examination revealed that the bronze statue had shifted considerably in several axes,” reports Dr. Christiane Wolf, Director of the Modernist Archive at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, who was tasked with supervising the restoration work.

After the financing for the restoration work was secured at the end of last year thanks to generous donors, a team of restorers was found through a public tender held in April to carry out the restoration and conservation work along with security measures. According to Wolf, the University is confident that the restoration work can be completed by the end of the year, so that »Eva« can be returned to its place in time for the Bauhaus anniversary in 2019. »“I am delighted that there is now an end in sight to the time without ›Eva‹ in our Main Building«, says Prof. Dr. Winfried Speitkamp, President of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. »I am particularly grateful that so many university members and alumni have shown such commitment to the restoration. My sincere thanks go to the generous donors who made it possible to begin the restoration work so quickly.«

Restoration using a state-of-the-art 3D procedure
The restorers plan to use a state-of-the-art 3D procedure that has already proven effective in projects for Weimar’s archive to repair the severely damaged sculpture. The method involves creating digital 3D models of the damaged bronze statue from Weimar and a cast of an undamaged »Eva« from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt for subsequent comparison. The digital visualisation renders even the smallest of deformations and changes due the bronze statue’s fall visible, allowing the restorers to determine the degree of reshaping required. The »Eva« in the Städel Museum was scanned in May. »The two sculptures were visualised using photogrammetry. Unlike other scanning methods, this involves taking photographs of the sculptures from different perspectives, which are then combined in the computer to create three-dimensional models,” says Wolf, explaining the complex procedure. Thanks to the cooperation with their colleagues in Frankfurt, the restorers were able to complete their work on the cast within just a few days. They then used the photographs to prepare models for comparison.

The subsequent mechanical cold extraction of the sculpture will probably take more time and is problematic because the bronze can only be returned to its original shape gradually and very slowly. »We hope that there won’t be any major issues with the reshaping. In order to prevent any new damage, we would have to stop the reshaping if new cracks were to develop in the bronze as a result of the reshaping process«, says Wolf. Following reconstruction of the right upper arm, which was severely damaged in the fall, mainly only minor work would then be required on the surface of the bronze sculpture. This includes cleaning the surface and retouching the colour of the additions and blemishes.

New security concept to protect »Eva« from future vandalism
A new security concept has been developed in cooperation with the restorers to prevent the valuable bronze statue from becoming the victim of wanton violence again after it is returned to its original place. In addition to new cameras and an alarm system, the sculpture will be firmly anchored on its platform using a special (invisible) mechanism so that it cannot be toppled again.

For further questions please contact

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Archiv der Moderne
Dr. Christiane Wolf
Bauhausstraße 7b
99423 Weimar
Phone.: +49(0)3643/583120