This little boy, out for a ramble, has come upon a surprise visitor! Summertime Surprise was sculpted in 1980 by Gerhard Skrobek, and the 5¾“ size has been waiting in the wings as a PFE (Possible Future Edition) ever since. We’re proud to release it as a special Club Exclusive Figurine in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Skrobek’s passing and to commemorate what would have been his 95th birthday.
Summertime Surprise marks the beginning of a new Club Exclusive Series devoted to Skrobek PFEs. We’ll introduce a new one each year, leading up to the Master Artist’s 100th Birthday. It’s a wonderful tribute to the life and work of Gerhard Skrobek, and a chance to keep his memory and artistry alive.
Hum 428/I „Summertime Surprise“! Limited and numbered Edition of 950 pieces,
with Certificate of Authenticity, Exclusive Edition 2017/18, only for members of the M.I. Hummel Clubs
Suggested Retail Price: 279,00 €
Please visit your authorized retailer. Should there be no retailer in your vicinity, please get in contact with us. We are happy to help you.
MASTER SCULPTOR GERHARD SKROBEK – ARTISTRY REMEMBERED
At the age of five, Gerhard Skrobek received a supply of modeling clay from his mother, who was an accomplished painter and encouraged creativity in her children. The gift was the beginning of Gerhard’s lifelong devotion to sculpture. In his biography he describes the early blossoming of his talent:
“As if awakening from a dream, I leaned back and looked at what my hands had created: an entire play dough menagerie – dogs, birds, an elephant, a rabbit and small, almost human figurines…A happy feeling flowed through me: I had created something that had not existed before.”
Gerhard Skrobek was born in 1922 to an upper class German family. At the age of nine, the Skrobeks moved to Berlin, where Gerhard was enriched by the cultural attractions of the city. His visits to Berlin’s zoo, its museums and its famed observatory all contributed to the development of his art and intellect.
The world took a nasty turn for the Skrobeks in the 1930s. The depression destroyed the family business. Even worse, the Nazis came to power, and the family spent the war years in fear, dodging bombs in Berlin and hiding their mother, who was Jewish.
In the early 1940s as war raged, Gerhard apprenticed at the Kollmorgan Company, an optics factory, working in the experimental unit. Because of his specialized training in work considered vital to the war effort, he was not drafted into the German Wehrmacht. “Papa” Kollmorgan, who ran the optics factory, had connections to high-level staff in the German army, and his protection allowed the Skrobek family to survive the war years. In addition to grueling work at the factory, Gerhard pursued the study of drawing and sculpting at Berlin’s acclaimed Reimann Institute.
For Gerhard, these were intense times. The optics factory was destroyed in an air raid, and the operation moved to Coburg. Gerhard’s father was taken to a labor camp because he refused to renounce his Jewish wife. In January of 1945, Gerhard undertook the daring rescue of his mother and sister from a besieged Berlin after their home was destroyed in a bomb blast. He brought them to Coburg where they waited for the war to end, taking refuge with a group of artists whom Gerhard had befriended.
Finally U.S. troops arrived in Coburg and the war came to a close. Much of Germany was in ruins, people were displaced, but the Skrobek family, finally reunited, could breathe a sigh of relief.
In the late 1940s, Gerhard Skrobek, determined to pursue an artistic career, applied for employment at W. Goebel Prozellanbfabrik in nearby Rödental. Despite being an accomplished artist, Skrobek had a lot to learn when he joined Goebel, especially the process of casting. It took a few years for Skrobek to master the skill of designing models that could be successfully cast into ceramic figurines. In the early years, Franz Goebel, the demanding head of the company who masterminded the development of the M.I. Hummel brand, personally inspected Skrobek’s clay models. It wasn’t until 1954 that Skrobek developed the skill necessary to create his first M.I. Hummel figurine, Birdwatcher (Hum 300).
From those early days, Skrobek’s career at Goebel took off and he would sculpt hundreds of M.I. Hummel figurines, becoming one of most respected interpreters of Sister M.I. Hummel’s artwork in three dimensions. Among other accomplishments, Skrobek developed the first synthetic resin molds which revolutionized casting, sculpted the “Big Boys,” the enormous Merry Wanderer statues for Germany and the U.S., and modeled some of the most impressive M.I. Hummel Limited Edition figurines including Land In Sight, Pleasant Journey, A Story From Grandma, At Grandpa’s, and many more renowned M.I. Hummel figurines. Skrobek traveled extensively on behalf of Goebel, demonstrating ceramic artistry and becoming a tireless and much-loved ambassador for M.I. Hummel.
Skrobek retired in 2002, but he did not relax. He was a devoted sportsman who loved to sail, swim, scuba dive and ski. A fascination with volcanoes drew him to some of the most rugged and remote areas of the world. He lived a full and fascinating life, and in his biography he shared his philosophy of aging:
“The basic requirements for a carefree old age are healthy nutrition, exercise, many hobbies and an open mind, even a certain curiosity, about changes in our world. Most important, however, is a positive attitude towards life and the ability to enjoy every moment.”
Gerhard Skrobek has helped us enjoy our lives with the gifts he’s bestowed upon us – M.I. Hummel treasures, crafted with skilled hands, that make the world a happier place for us all.