Galerie Thomas

Tuerkenstrasse 16
80333 Munich

+49 89 290008-0
+49 89 290008-88

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Saturday: 10am – 6pm

Stephan Balkenhol

Stephan Balkenhol - Mann mit Giraffe

Stephan Balkenhol has been making bronze editions since 1992, most of which are based on models of larger-than-life sculptures. The artist received numerous commissions to create large sculptures for public spaces. Among the best-known works in public space is the 'Man with Giraffe', which stands in an eight-meter high and 2.5 tons heavy colored version at the entrance to the zoo Hagenbeck, Hamburg. Placed in a prominent position in 2001, the work has since become a landmark for Hamburg Zoo and is considered by the public to be the city's best-known and most popular sculpture, and is regarded as a symbol of harmonious coexistence between humans and animals.

Stephan Balkenhol said about the sculpture it deals very generally with the relationship between man and animal. "The ambivalence between affectation and aggression, between cuddling and fighting has occupied me for 30 years" [...] "This leads to the question of how man explores the world - in this case the giraffe: is it a wild animal or a cuddly animal?"

In the catalog raisonné of bronze editions from 1992-2014 it is noted that 'Man with Giraffe', from 2000, is the fourth edition of Stephan Balkenhol’s bronzes, the edition is limited to 25 works.


"If something irritates me, makes me wonder. There is, after all, the saying: 'One sees only what one knows.' Or (by Goethe): 'What is the hardest thing? That which seems to you to be the easiest: to see with your eyes what is before your eyes. In this sense, I think it's a good tactic to lure the viewer with something seemingly familiar, and then unsettle him with a break, a new strangeness, and thus simultaneously challenge his cognitive work."

-Stephan Balkenhol