Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)

Akt mit schwarzem Hut

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Akt mit schwarzem Hut
woodcut, 1911/12, on laid paper, watermark initials SUG, signed in pencil, inscribed Eigendruck, the only known impression of the first state (of three, according to Gercken), a very fine, atmospheric impression, printing with much shading and subtle tone in places within the body and before further changes to the block, the vertical crack in the block partially re-touched with grey wash by the artist, further touches of wash in the upper left corner, with margins, slightly irregularly trimmed, pale light-staining, some minor nicks, creases and surface dirt in the margins, generally in good condition
B. 658 x 215 mm., S. 733 x 340 mm.
A private American Collection; Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 17 June 1988, lot 17 (CHF 410,000).
Schiefler H 182; Dube H 207.

Magdalena M. Moeller, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik, Stuttgart, 1990, no. 58, p. 130-31 (another impression illustrated).

Jutta Hülsewig-Johnen (ed.), Expressionistische Bilder – Sammlung Firmengruppe Ahlers, Käthe Kollwitz-Museum (exh. cat.), Berlin (et al.), Stuttgart, 1993, no. 24, p. 114 (the present impression illustrated).

Magdalena M. Moeller, Kirchner as a German Artist, in: Jill Lloyd, Magdalena M. Moeller (eds.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: the Dresden and Berlin Years, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2003, p. 23-25 (another impression illustrated).

Ina Conzen, Katja Nellman (et al.), Brücke, Bauhaus, Blauer Reiter – Schätze der Sammlung Max Fischer, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (exh. cat.), Stuttgart, 2010, no. 81, p. 98-100 (another impression illustrated).

Felix Krämer (ed.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Retrospective, Städel Museum (exh. cat.), Frankfurt am Main, 2010, no. 26, p. 86 and 254 (another impression illustrated).
Expressionistische Bilder - Sammlung Firmengruppe Ahlers, Lenbachhaus, Munich; Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg; Kunsthalle Emden; Kunsthalle Bielefeld; Rupertinum, Salzburg; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 1993-1997.

Brought to you by

Charlie Scott
Charlie Scott

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

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

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Kirchner’s Akt mit schwarzem Hut is one of Kirchner’s boldest, most confrontational depictions of the female nude and an icon of German Expressionism. This image of a standing woman, dressed only in slippers, black hat and choker, was inspired by a reproduction of Lucas Cranach’s Venus (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main), which Kirchner had seen in the studio of his fellow artist Otto Mueller. Whilst this was certainly the first inspiration, he presumably also knew Cranach’s Cupid complaining to Venus, possibly the version in London (National Gallery), in which Venus wears an equally incongruous wide-brimmed hat. This large woodcut portrait of Dodo Große, the artist’s girlfriend during his Dresden years, was created in 1912, following his move to Berlin and the break-up with Dodo. It is a highly ambiguous image, poised between seduction and confrontation, and one of the most haunting Expressionist works in any medium. For Kirchner, Dodo remained the ideal model, muse and lover: even many years later, in a diary entry of 1919, he praised her beauty as superior to a Cranach Venus.

The woodcut, which was probably begun in Dresden and completed in Berlin, is closely related to Kirchner’s painting Stehender Akt mit Hut of 1910 (Gordon 163; Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main). In the woodcut however, Kirchner intensified the mannerist tendencies - already present in Cranach’s Venus – by distorting the proportions and elongating the figure even further. It is in woodcuts such as the present Akt mit schwarzem Hut that Kirchner, as Magdalena Moeller wrote, ‘produced his finest pictorial solutions’ (Moeller, Kirchner as a German Artist, p. 25).

We are grateful to Professor Dr. Günther Gercken, Lütjensee, Germany, for his assistance in cataloguing this lot. Professor Gerken is currently preparing the catalogue raisonné of prints by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the first two volumes of which (1904-1911) have been published last year (Galerie Kornfeld Verlag, Bern, 2013). Gercken records the present, probably unique impression of the first state, and 11 impressions of the second or third states, two of which are in public collections (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main; Graphische Sammlung, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart).

More from Prints & Multiples

View All
View All