The Berlin Bear (1932)

RENÉE SINTENIS (1888-1965)

Rare drypoint on wove; signed bottom right
In period black forest frame

44cm x 38cm in the frame


Renée Sintenis was Berlin’s original hipster artist, a bold and fashionable Weimar Frau who never shied away from using her image to sell her art. Once known worldwide as simply “The Sintenis”, sculptor Renée Sintenis is today chiefly remembered as the creator of the Berlinale’s Golden Bear.

The concept of the “it girl” was invented just in time for Renée Sintenis to epitomise it. The sculptor, born Renate Alice Sintenis in Glatz, Silesia in 1888, is said to have been the most photographed woman in the Weimar Republic. Standing 1.8 metres tall, with her men’s jackets and pageboy cut, she embodied the 1920s neue Frau just as we imagine her: advertising cigarettes, partying all night in the lesbian bars of Schöneberg, riding her horse Horaz through Tiergarten and meeting poets and painters at Ku’damm’s Romanisches Café.

Sintenis’ fame found an ambassador in the shape of one of her beloved small animals, that little standing bear she sculpted in 1932. In 1953, the first replicas of this Bär were awarded as trophies at the third Berlin International Film Festival; they’ve been handed out to Berlinale winners ever since. In 1963, two years before Sintenis’ death, one was Germany’s gift to a visiting John F. Kennedy.

Renee Sintenis’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price being 560,186 USD for Grose Daphne sold at Ketterer Kunst Munich in 2020.

The last Berlin Bear drypoint like this one to come up for sale was sold at auction unframed for $6,000 at Grisebach in January 2022.

If you would like to buy this picture (or see some more photographs), arrange a viewing or if you would just like to get in touch, then please call 01608-658003 or email [email protected]