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Heinz Warneke Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: unknown

Biographical History

Heinz Warneke was born in Germany in 1895 and studied at the Berlin Kunstgewerbeschule. During World War I, he was a member of the German Monuments Commission before emigrating to New York in 1923. He spent five years (1927-1932) in Paris, creating a sculptural style that combined social realism, art-deco wit and primitivism, and upon his return to the United States undertook a number of commissions for the WPA. He became known for his animal figures, receiving steady commissions on into the 1940s and 1950s including an elephant group for the Philadelphia Zoo and the Nittany Lion (1942) for the campus of Pennsylvania State University. In the 1960s he carved a granite sculpture, Prodigal Son, for the National Cathedral in addition to doing the tympanum (a representation of the Last Supper) and clerestory decoration.

For nearly thirty years, Warneke shared his knowledge and skill with aspiring young sculptors and art students. From 1940 to 1942, he taught sculpture at the Warneke School of Art; and from 1943 to 1968 he was head of the sculpture department at the Corcoran School of Art while also serving as professor of sculpture at George Washington University.

Warneke received a number of awards and recognitions over the course of his career, including the Logan Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1930; Widener Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1935; First Prize, St. Louis Artists' Guild, 1925; First Prize and Bronze Medal of the Society of Washington Artists, 1943. His work is in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Department of the Interior, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State College, Addison Gallery of American Art, the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC. He was a member of the National Sculpture Society, the National Academy of Design, and the Salon des Tuileries.

Warneke died in Connecticut in 1983. In 1994 the University of Delaware Press published a biography of Warneke by Mary Mullen Cunningham, entitled Heinz Warneke (189551983): A Sculptor First and Last.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection consists of Subject files, Exhibition materials, Photographs of Mr. Warneke's works, and one item of Published material. Subject files comprises some biographical information and correspondence concerned with The Elephant, newspaper of the Fairmount Park Art Association. Exhibition materials contains exhibit catalogs, clippings, a few photographs and some material concerned with the Section of Fine Arts, Federal Works Agency. Photographs consists of photographs of Warneke's work, while Published material contains a single item, "Chil Aronson," published in 1932.

Arrangement of the Collection

All items are arranged alphabetically within the four series.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Warneke, Heinz (Heinrich), 1895-1983.


Animal sculptors -- United States -- 20th century.
Animals in art.
Art, American -- 20th century.
German Americans.
Sculptors -- United States.
Sculpture, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Heinz Warneke Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Subject files



Published materials