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Art (1900-1945) > Expressionism Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Biography

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Lithograph

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5,000 EUR

5,000 EUR

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Munich, Germany

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Nackttänzerin. 1921.
Gercken 1258 I (of II). Dube L 413 I (of II). Signed, dated "20" [sic] and inscribed "Handdruck " and "1.Druck ". Only known copy of the first printing state with the still black railing in right of the left sculpture in the back. On light, off-white Japon. 60 x 51 cm (23.6 x 20 in). Sheet: 65,3 x 54,7 cm (25,7 x 21,5 in).
The depicted dancer is Nina Hard. The lithograph shows a scene at Kirchner's domicile "Haus in den Lärchen" in Frauenkirch near Davos. Two Kirchner works can be seen in the back, the wooden relief "Tanz zwischen den Frauen" (Henze WVZ 1919/02a) and the wooden sculpture "Bube mit Beil. Junger Stafler mit Beil. Luzi Kindschi" (Henze WVZ 1919/05) on the railing. [JS].
• Hand-made printed, inscribed by Kirchner as "1. Druck", of this rare large-size lithograph, also the only known copy from the first printing state.
• Additionally, four copies from the later II. state are known, two of them are museum-owned (Kirchner Museum, Davos; Städel Museum, Frankfurt a. Main).
• Remarkable document of Kirchner's fascination for modern dance.
• The dancer Nina Hard spent the summer 1921 together with Kirchner at the "Haus in den Lärchen".
• Very rare. To date no other copy of this lithograph was offered on the international auction market (source:

PROVENANCE: Private collection Southern Germany (since 2001: Lempertz, December 4, 2001, until 2014: Ketterer Kunst, June 6, 2014).
Hermann Gerlinger Collection, Würzburg (acquired from the above, with the collector's stamp on the reverse, Lugt 6032).

EXHIBITION: Buchheim Museum, Bernried (permanent loan from the Hermann Gerlinger Collection, 2017-2022).

LITERATURE: Lempertz, Cologne, auction 815, Modern Art, December 4, 2001, lot 252 (with illu.) (there erroneously described as a prinmt from the second state).
Ketterer Kunst, Munich, auction 415, Modern Art I, June 6, 2014, lot 333 (with illu.).
Cf. Brigitte Schad (ed.), Kirchners Kosmos. Der Tanz, ex. cat. KirchnerHAUS, Aschaffenburg 2018.

"She was dancing naked through his studio only one summer, in the forest on Sutzibachtobel, across the terrace and balcony of the house. In 1921 the dancer Nina Hard added an erotic notion to the artist's life and inspired him to 'thousand ideas and new pictures'."
Gerd Presler, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Seine Frauen, seine Modelle, seinen Bilder, Munich/New York 1998, p. 81.

Like in a frenzy, Kirchner was repeatedly occupied with dance motifs in his drawings and prints. In 1909, for example, he created the expressionist woodcut "Tänzerin mit gehobenem Rock" and in 1911 the color lithograph "Cake-Walk" (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main). Initially, Kirchner was fascinated by the figures’ free movement and by the costumes’ shapes and colors. With particular graphic sophistication, he initially devoted himself to the vaudeville dancers and dance hall visitors he saw in Berlin's nightlife. In the following years, he put increasing focus on the erotic moment. When Kirchner finally saw Nina Hard perform at a Zurich nightclub in May 1921, he was fascinated by her informality, nonconformity, intense eroticism and the self-confidence the young dancer, who was born in Brazil in 1899, emanated. The modern expressive dance of the 1920s that she embodied took the subject of physical freedom and sexual freedom to another level for Kirchner. The bathers at the Moritzburg lakes, in contrast, were "only" plein-air nudes, the Can-Can dancers from the Berlin years were "only" wild dancers whose movements still followed a predetermined choreography. Hard's expressive dance, on the other hand, was pure sensation, emotions turned into movement and thus an expression of absolute unconventionality and freedom. Kirchner then invited the well-known dancer to Davos. She spent several months in Kirchner's "Haus in den Lärchen" until the end of the summer of 1921. In the course of this stay, portraits and nude photographs, sketches and the famous painting "Tänzerin Nina Hard" (Horst and Gabriele Seidle Art Foundation, Furtwangen/Black Forest), as well as our lithograph, in which Kirchner captured the free movement of Hard's naked body with particular expressiveness, came into existence. This historical moment is also documented in a glass negative from the artist's estate, which is part of the collection of the Kirchner Museum in Davos today. According to Kirchner's descriptions in the lower margin, the present print is not only the first print that the artist made by hand ("hand print") on site from the drawing applied with a vigorous stroke to the lithographic stone, but also, according to Gercken, the only known copy from the first printing stat, before Kirchner lightened the still partially black stair railing in the background for the production of the other four known prints from the second state. Today one of them is in the collection of the Brücke Museum, Berlin, and another one in the collection of the Städel Museum, Frankfurt a. Main. [JS]

In good condition. Minimally discolored. Margins minimally rubbed and with a few tiny brownish spots. With faint isolated creasemarks in the margins and with a very faint horizontal kink in upper part of the image. Margins and edges minimally soiled and with isolated, partly skillfully mended paper skinnings and skillfully closed splits.
For information concerning the condition, please view the high resolution image / backside image.

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