Following the disolution of the Brcke in May 1913, Kirchner retreated to the island of Fehmarn with his new wife Erna Schilling, and Hans Gewecke and Werner Gothelin, two young artists who had enrolled in M.I.U.M, the new painting academy established by Heckel and Kirchner in 1911/12. In stark contrast to the urban subject matter of his work in Berlin, the paintings, drawings and prints of Fehmarn concentrate on the seashore, frequently populated with nude bathers. Many of these works use, as here, his three companions as primary models.
Quite unlike artists who strove to remove themselves from the process of representation, by picturing reality as 'accurately' as possible, Kirchner emphasises that this is his personal, 'artificial' view. Like other members of the Brcke he subverted the standard working methods of lithographers, who throughout the nineteenth century saw lithography primarily as a means of reproducing drawing and who went to great lengths to disguise the process. By printing to the edge of the stone he alerts us to its presence. By repeatedly biting the stone with acid to achieve a grainy texture he forces the viewer to recognise this image as an entirely human construct.
'How things appear to us is what intrigues us in nature, not the objective form and configuration. And it is around appearances that art revolves, not around the actual objective form.'
(Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 'Die Arbeit EL Kirchners' quoted in Reinhold Heller, German Expressionist Prints from the Granvil and Marion Specks Collection, Northwestern University, 1988.)