Founder of the Ernst Rietschel Award
Until 2001, the first donor for the award was the Wittgensteiner Clinic AG. Following their withdrawal, Baron Wigand Salmuth took over the foundation and prize money, after previously participating as a jury member for the 6th Ernst Rietschel Art Awards. As a direct descendant of the great sculptor, Baron Salmuth wanted to preserve the tradition of the award. He was concerned with promoting the arts and honoring the memory of Ernst Rietschel.
After the death of Baron Salmuth, his sister and children assumed responsibility for the foundation and reestablished it as The Antonius Youth and Cultural Foundation, and respectively, Antonius’s Youth and Culture Registered Association, the foundation of the prize money. Currently, the 5th generation of Rietschel’s descendants carries on the tradition, enabling and supporting artists, and sustaining the name and spirit of Ernst Rietschel.
"Ernst Rietschel has never been forgotten in his hometown. A monument and Sculptor Award was created to commemorate his name - both are beautiful tributes to him and successfully combine tradition with the present day. Though much has changed, also within the arts, it's important for artists to connect to the people of today, without forgetting the voices of the ancestors of the past. Art does not exist in a vacuum. It is tied to the times, the people, the culture, and expression. Likewise, it's connected to an inner truth, belief, and conviction of the artists who advocate and commit to art."
Source: Dr. theol. Christian Rietschel at the first award ceremony in 1991