Go Back Blog: Man and his Soul and The Unknown Miner featured in WitsReview
Louis Wald
Man and his Soul on the Cover

Man and his Soul on the Cover


Man and his Soul and The Unknown Miner are featured in the April edition of WitsReview the University of the Witwatersrand quarterly magazine. The authors are Kathy Munro, Honorary Associate Professor, Wits School of Architecture and Planning and Natalie Knight, Art Curator, FCLM West Campus art collection.

View the article

Other Links

Article Extracts

"The University recently received a major donation of two large bronze sculptures created by the late Herman Wald - the Unknown Miner and Man and His Soul.

The donation was made by the artist’s son Louis Wald, a Wits alumnus, and throws the spotlight on the public sculptures in the Wits collection. .

The two bronze works by Herman Wald are situated in different areas of the West Campus. Wald, an immigrant to South Africa, was well known in Johannesburg between the 1940s and his early death in 1970. In his day he was a popular and celebrated sculptor. His best-known work was the “Stampede of Impalas”, now located in 44 Main Street, commissioned by Harry Oppenheimer in honour of his late father, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer.

The Unknown Miner

The Unknown Miner

Wald was also commissioned by the Oppenheimers to create a work to mark Ernest Oppenheimer’s life and work in Kimberley. He produced a plaster cast of a miner three metres high. The Oppenheimers selected the work in a smaller dimension and a group of five figures became part of the Diamond Digger’s fountain in Kimberley. The original 3-metre figure was donated by Louis Wald, and funds were raised to cover the cost of casting by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. Titled “Unknown Miner”, the work was installed at the east entrance of the Chamber of Mines building.

The striking, detailed figure recalls the mining roots of the University, noting that the South African School of Mines established in Kimberley in 1896 was a forerunner of Wits.

Mining engineering, metallurgy, geology and geosciences were key disciplines from the earliest days of Wits. Human endeavour of both mental and physical varieties and representing miners of diverse backgrounds is personified in the male form, exhibiting energy, muscle and brain power.

The second work by Wald is “Man and His Soul”, a sensuous semi-abstract work in circular form, showing interlinked male and female figures. It is cast in gilded bronze and rises above a plinth. It was acquired by the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management (CLM), and complements the West Campus art collection built up over the last four years under the curatorship of Natalie Knight. It is located at the main crossroads below the sculpture Concatenation by Paul Stein."