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“Breakout,” a New Sculpture of Friedrich von Schiller Memorialized at Carleton College

April 2014

Northfield, Minnesota, USA – February 19, 2014

“Breakout,” a new wall sculpture of Friedrich von Schiller now hangs in the Gould Library at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.  This work honors the class of 1958, which originated the “Schiller” tradition at Carleton, but also venerates Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), a German playwright and philosopher whose writings advocated freedom, equality, and appreciation of the arts.

As the College tradition goes, a bust of the bard, purloined from the library 1956, now known simply as “Schiller,” makes surprise appearances at large campus events. Between these brief appearances, Schiller (the bust) resumes his monastic place in the hands of anonymous Carleton students.

Over the decades, Schiller’s public visits have assumed theatrical proportions.  In turn, student competition to possess, retain, and display the bust has become an elaborate game that involves secrecy and clever strategy.

“Breakout” asks us to imagine Carleton’s iconic bust of Schiller in human form poised to escape through a dorm window. Intent on eluding his student captors, he is determined to be “free.” This whimsical depiction of a youthful Schiller, graced with a laurel branch, exemplifies the intellectual “breaking out” that “Carls” experience during their time on campus. It also honors the “breakout” of the real Friedrich von Schiller who was an early champion of the philosophy and values we now associate with the liberal arts.    

Mixed media: Resin figure cast from water clay in frame of basswood salvaged from the College Arboretum. Hand-carved foliage and inscription. Dimensions: 29” x 42” (737 mm x 1015 mm).

William Solberg, an alum of Carleton College, is an artisan living in Los Angeles, California. He works freelance on commission. “Breakout” is available in resin or bronze from the artist. Price on request.

Contact William Solberg, 310 709 3453 or email