Art: Captured Vitality

At 45, Bernhard Heiliger is West Germany's foremost sculptor, but until now U.S. gallerygoers have been able to see bits of his work only in large group shows. Last week his first U.S. one-man exhibition opened at Manhattan's Staempfli Gallery. Whether a head, a torso, a bird-like creature, or some abstract shape borrowed from nature, Heiliger sculptures have one common quality: though the artist's hands left them long ago, they still seem to move and change and grow, as if there were something alive inside.

Heiliger began his studies at the Berlin Academy in a bad year for German art: 1933, the...

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