Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)

Sitzende und Liegende (recto); Sam der Neger (verso)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Sitzende und Liegende (recto); Sam der Neger (verso)
inscribed 'Sitzende und Liegende' (lower right)
watercolour (recto); pencil (verso) on paper
19¼ x 23 5/8 in. (49 x 60 cm.)
Executed circa 1905
The artist's estate.
Special notice
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Sale room notice
Please note that this work is stamped with the Nachlass stamp and numbered 'ADre/B914' (on the reverse).

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This work is listed in the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Archives, Wichtrach/Bern.

While studying architecture in Dresden in 1905, Kirchner formed the group Die Brücke with fellow students Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Beyl. They made their studio in a cobbler's shop in the poor section of Dresden where models were inexpensive and easy to find. They decorated this space with murals, painted textiles, and home-made furniture. Die Brücke's decision to depict nude women informally in interiors, and later in the countryside at Moritzburg where the group summered from 1907-10, was in deliberate contravention of academic strictures and the prohibitions of contemporary morality.

'The nudes in sunlight (either inside or outside a room) now an intensity of personal experience unheard of in the former generation. The shimmering colours around them form an overpowering frame for the vibrating mass of body. As always in Kirchner's compositions, the figures, although quite near to the spectator, are most naturally integrated in the surrounding space. We remember another of his marginal notes on a somewhat later drawing (not dated) of the sketchbook, representing bathing girls on the beach: Figures and nature must become one in the picture, all forms are subordinated to this law' (W. R. Valentiner, E.L. Kirchner, German Expressionist, Raleigh, 1958, pp. 15-16).

Sitzende und Liegende displays the freshness and purity of colour characteristic of Kirchner's early Brücke period. This can also be seen in the related, slightly later Zwei Akte auf Teppich, now in the Art Institute of Chicago. In both, the subjects are as deliberately arranged as an Academy drawing, yet these were not professional models striking a pose on the podium in the life room, but girlfriends reclining or sitting on the carpet in the cobbler's shop.

Kirchner, along with many other artists of the period, was fascinated by the expressiveness of primitive art. He spent many hours in the Ethnographical Museum in Dresden, where he was particularly taken by the simplistic woodcarvings of the Palau islanders. The man depicted in the charcoal sketch on the reverse of the present work may well be a model called Sam, who along with his companion Milli, appears in several works by Kirchner inspired by African art and culture. An extant photograph shows the couple posing nude in the artist's studio in 1911 (see J. Lloyd, German Expressionism Primitivism and Modernity, New Haven, 1991, p. 48).

More from Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

View All
View All