Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Hugo nach dem Bade (Sch. 246; D. 279)

lithograph, 1915, on wove paper, a very fine impression of this very rare print, with subtle contrasts, signed in pencil, inscribed 'Handdruck', with margins, some repaired tears at the sheet edges (three affecting the subject at the upper edge and another at the lower right corner), a central vertical crease, other lesser creasing, and traces of surface dirt in the margins, Chine-backed
L. 510 x 596 mm., S. 552 x 677 mm.

Lot Essay

The subject is Hugo Biallowons, a close friend of Kirchner during 1914-16. Hugo was the younger friend and protegé of Botho Gräf, Professor of Archaeology at Jena with whom Kirchner formed a close liaison from the time of his exhibition at the Kunstverein in 1914. Both Hugo and Gräf are depicted in many photographs and in some of the most significant of Kirchner's works during this period. Kirchner and Hugo Biallowons were both in the military service in the war during 1915, but Kirchner would often travel back to Berlin, after his training during the day in Halle, and would work all through the night before returning to service the following day. Biallowons also either accompanied Kirchner or joined him in his Berlin studios during this period, where he is often depicted in his military uniform.

Hugo was killed in action at Verdun on 9 July 1916. In a letter to Carl Hageman (24 July 1916) Kirchner wrote 'Ich habe einen schweren Verlust erlitten. Biallowons ist gefallen. Eine Blüte unseres jungen Deutschlands, die reiche Frucht tragen sollte.' Kirchner produced a memorial woodcut (Sch. 582; see also Christie's London, 30 June 1988, lot 606) to commemorate the untimely death of his very close friend.

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