Born in Fürth in 1865, Johannes Götz attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Nuremberg from 1881 to 1884, and went on to study sculpture with Fritz Schaper (1841-1919) at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule in 1884 and 1885. Thereafter, like so many young German sculptors of his generation, he joined the Berlin studio of the imperial sculptor Reinhold Begas (1831-1911), where he was employed from 1885 to 1890. As a Begas pupil Götz created his Boy Balancing on a Ball (Balancierende Knabe), modeled in 1888; a bronze cast was acquired by the Berlin Nationalgalerie in 1889. In 1892-1893 he received a state stipend to study in Rome, where he modeled Girl Drawing Water, another genre bronze, of which the Nationalgalerie acquired an example in 1893 (transferred to Bonn University 1934; another cast, now lost, was at the Düsseldorf Kunstmuseum). Casts of each, and of Götz's Boy Rolling a Hoop (location unknown), were sent as part of the German contemporary sculpture installation to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Götz continued to collaborate with Begas on major projects to adorn Berlin at the behest of Kaiser Wilhelm II, an ambitious patron of monumental sculpture. These included the Neptune Fountain (1886-1891; formerly in front of the Berlin Schloss, now in front of the Roten Rathaus); the Kaiser Wilhelm Nationaldenkmal, for which Götz designed the bronze quadriga for the north portal in 1893 (destroyed); and the Siegesallee (1895-1901), an avenue lined with thirty-two statuary groups commemorating Prussian rulers from the middle ages to the nineteenth century (largely destroyed after World War II, fragments surviving), to which Götz contributed the monument to Prince-Bishop Joachim I Nestor, completed in 1900.
Beginning in 1893, Götz contributed regularly to exhibitions in Berlin with portrait busts, genre groups, and statuettes. In 1901 the town of Magdeburg commissioned him to make monuments to Queen Louise and to Gutenberg. He modeled a bronze bear for the Moabit bridge over the Spree River in Berlin (melted down for the metal during World War II), and executed statues for the Wittenberg Schlosskirche and the Cathedral of Berlin. In 1904 he produced statues of three Roman Emperors for the Saalberg. The Kaiser's satisfaction with these led to a commission for an over- life-sized bronze statue of the Victorious Achilles (completed 1910) for the Achilleion, Kaiser Wilhelm's summer residence on Corfu. Gotz's 1907 marble bust of Kaiser Wilhelm is in the Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal.
The painterly, sensuous, and naturalistic neo-Baroque style of Begas is a clear influence on Götz's early work. After 1900 he turned, as did many of Begas' pupils, to a more severe style reflecting the influence of Adolf von Hildebrand (1847-1921); this is exemplified in Götz's Achilles, a neo-classical superman, which was cast by the Gladenbeck foundry in Berlin-Friedrichshagen. They also issued reductions of Götz's works, from the Boy Balancing on a Ball to Achilles. The sculptor died in Potsdam in 1934. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
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