Ludwig Fordermeier’s sculpture «Elk»
The Berlin sculptor Ludwig Fordermeier decided to create a sculpture of an elk and started outlining it in the nature in 1910. He worked at the Northern sleeve of the mouth of Neman. During a high water on one of islands, an elk the forest giant posed there by receiving heads of cabbage from the artist. Fordermeier was actively assisted by the well-known animalist and Gumbinnen’s native, Professor Richard Friese. Founders of a workshop of Noak in Berlin cast the bronze sculpture of the Elk.
On February 4, 1912, the State Art Commission purchased the Elk sculpture from Fordermeier for exhibiting in one of the cities in East Prussia. With assistance of Richard Friese, they selected the center of the Gumbinnen governmental district, the city of Gumbinnen. The Elk sculpture that was established in Gumbinnen in 1912 was erected on the left bank of Pissa River, near Kaiserhof Hotel, which nowadays is a monument to S.I. Gusev in its place.)
During a battle for the city, which was in 1945, the Elk received some bullet damage. After the war, the Elk was taken out of the city and brought to the Kaliningrad Zoo in 1956. In 1991, the symbol of the city managed to be returned in Gusev where it was solemnly established on a pedestal in the central square of the city. The image of an elk has decorated the municipal coat of arms since 2006. The Elk by Ludwig Fordermeier has become a historical link between Gumbinnen and Gusev and is a symbol of love to the town.