Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Property From An Important California Collection
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)

Liegende Mädchenakte

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Liegende Mädchenakte
signed 'EL Kirchner' (lower right)
pastel and charcoal on paper
20 1/8 x 26¾ in. (51.1 x 68 cm.)
Drawn circa 1914
Estate of the artist.
Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London.
Kovler Gallery, Chicago (acquired from the above, July 1969).
Private collection, Chicago.
Alice Adam Ltd., Chicago.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, December 1994.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Kirchner, Oils, Watercolours, Drawings and Graphics, June-July 1969, p. 17, no. 47 (illustrated, p. 47).
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Drawing the Figure, Michelangelo to Matisse, November 1999-February 2000, no. 202.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Women and Modernity in and Around German Expressionism, November 2000-April 2001.
Sale room notice
Please note that this work is listed in the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner archives, Wichtrach/Bern.

Lot Essay

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

Liegende Mädchenakte, drawn around 1914, dates to one of the most trying years of the artist's life. Kirchner volunteered for military service at the outset of the First World War; owing to intense mental and physical strain, he was discharged the following November. Writing to friends nearly fifteen years later, Kirchner recalled his time in uniform: "I did not have any 'war sickness,' I was simply struggling to complete the work I had embarked on, which struck me as more worthwhile than falling victim to a capitalist war and dying the death of a 'hero.' Since there was no other way, I fell 'ill,' and as I was too unlike the average man of 1914, I had to make excessive demands of my body, and really did end up seriously ill'" (Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, exh. cat., The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, 2003, p. 27). The present nudes are closely related to the bathing scenes Kirchner painted while at Fehmarn, on the Baltic coast, where he visited with friends and fellow artists such as Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein and Otto Mueller from 1912 until the outbreak of war.

Liegende Mädchenakte passed through Marlborough Fine Arts, featuring in its landmark 1969 retrospective, the catalogue for which was the first British publication dedicated to Kirchner's art. (It was sold to an American collector at the show's close.) Founded shortly after the Second World War by Harry Fischer and Frank Lloyd, the gallery introduced the artist to collectors in the United Kingdom, brokering the first institutional acquisitions of an oil (to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1965) and drawing (the British Museum in 1969).

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