Königsberg Photos

An owl, the first wood sculpture done in 1920 in Königsberg after return from WW1 where he served on the western front. This owl resembles the fieldstones he carved decades later, which were among his signature pieces.
In 1410, Poland and Lithuania defeated the Teutonic Order at Tannenberg (Grunwald), which lead to the eventual decline of the Order. In 1914, however, von Hindenburg annihilated Russia's Second Army at nearly the same place. In honor of this victory, the Germans, beginning in 1924, constructed an enormous monument which held four tablets designed by Ehrich. The monument was partly destroyed by the German army in 1945 to prevent it from falling into Russian hands at the end of WW2. Only a few artifacts of the Tannenberg monument remain today.
In 1923 Ehrich carved a cherub riding on a duck from muschelkalkstein (shell limestone). The fountain was completed by classmate Paul Kimritz in 1926 and placed in the garden of the art school in front of the director's residence. In 1936 he carved a second one in Buffalo, New York from Medina sandstone. The fountain was completed by his son in 1999 in Blacksburg, Virgina according to his sketch. Note the finer detail in the second sculpture. The Kunst- und Gewerkschule and hence probably also the original fountain were destroyed.
Kunst- und Gewerkschule
The Hauptbahnhof or main train station was completed in 1929, and William Ehrich collaborated with his professor, Erich Schmidt-Kestner, to carve the reliefs around the doors. The door posts were carved by Schmidt-Kestner, while Ehrich executed the reliefs above the doors. These were in travertine and represented travel by water, land, and air and arrival and departure. The train station survived, but the Brachert sculpture and door reliefs were removed.
Kunst- und Gewerkschule
The Kunst Akademie was located on the Königstraße until 1916 in a building shared with the Kunst- und Gewerkschule. Unable to expand at that location, construction at a new site on the west side of Königsberg was begun in 1910, a move that saved it from destruction. After the move, the Kunst- und Gewerkschule took over the vacated space but was destroyed by the Allied bombing of August 29-30, 1944. For details, see Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung 40 (1) pp. 2-6, January, 1920.

Professional Photos

Wood Carving
In Rochester, Ehrich's studio was for many years located at the Woman's College of the University of Rochester until his move to Fauver Stadium at the U of R's River campus. He taught classes in sculpture and ceramics both at the Memorial Art Gallery and at the U of R.
William Ehrich participated in many exhibitions, including 1-man exhibitions, primarily at galleries in western New York. These included the Metropolitan, Riverside, and Clay Club in New York City, the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Albright (later Albright-Knox) in Buffalo, and the Memorial Art Gallery, Arena Group, Woodside Gallery, and Rundel Gallery in Rochester. Albright-Knox and the Memorial Art Gallery have his works in their collections.
Ehrich enjoyed his work, which could often be done in a garden as well as in the studio. There were also lighter moments that brightened the day's activities.

Personal Photos

In 1916 he was inducted into the German army. Sent to Galicia, he was lightly wounded, captured by the Russians, and sent to a POW camp in Ukraine. After his release and a short period in Königsberg, he was sent to the western front around the time of its collapse.
Family photos from Königsberg before emmigration to the US. These photos show some of the significant people in William's early life and the activities they enjoyed with friends and family.
Upon arrival in the US, William and Ruth lived with their sponsors, Uncle Karl and Augusta Ehrich, in Buffalo, NY. After that they moved three times to apartments in Buffalo before buying a house in Rochester in 1939. They made friends quickly and spent many weekends with them in the parks and on the beaches of western New York.