Sale: 525 / Evening Sale, Dec. 10. 2021 in Munich Lot 217

 

217
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Im Bordell, 1913/1920.
Oil on cardboard
Estimate:
€ 400,000 - 600,000

 
$ 464,000 - 696,000

+
Im Bordell. 1913/1920.
Oil on cardboard.
Gordon 287. Upper right signed and dated "1905". 50.1 x 34 cm (19.7 x 13.3 in). [CH].

• Part of a German private collection for more than 60 years.
• Erotic and dynamic Berlin night life scene.
• Scenes from the metropolis Berlin are of utmost rarity on the auction market.
• After 1920 Kirchner eased the hectic line in order to emphasize his consequent stilystic development.
• Postdating the work to 1905, Kirchner manipulated the chronology of his creations
.

PROVENANCE: Collection Walter Kern (1889-1966), St. Gallen (until 1955; the collector was a friend of the artist).
Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern (acquired from the above in 1955)
Private collection Düsseldorf (before 1968).
Ever since famliy-owned.

EXHIBITION: E. L. Kirchner. Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, Plastik, Manuskripte, Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, December 15, 1954 - January 22, 1955, cat. no. 1 (with the title "Im Freudenhaus", with illu.).
Art in Revolt. Germany 1905-1925, Marlborough Fine Art, London, October and November 1959, cat. no. 6 (with the gallery label on the reverse).
Kirchner 1880-1938. Oils, Watercolors, Drawings and Graphics, Marlborough Fine Art, London, June to July 1969, cat. no. 7 (with illu., on p. 31).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner aus Privatbesitz. Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Richard-Kaselowsky-Haus, September 14 - October 26, 1969, cat. no. 2.

LITERATURE: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Photoalbum I.
Thomas Röske, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Tanz zwischen den Frauen, Frankfurt am Main 1993, p. 64 (foot note 80).
Hyang-Sook Kim, Die Frauendarstellungen im Werk von Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Verborgene Selbstbekenntnisse des Malers, Marburg 2002, pp. 117f. (with illu., no. 75).

Called up: December 10, 2021 - ca. 18.04 h +/- 20 min.

The brothel that Kirchner depicted here is quite bustling. Two men, one of them smoking, dressed in black with high hats sit at a table with drinks, their backs towards an arched opening leading into another room. Opposite of them, two women with their hair dyed red and black, rather lightly dressed, openly show their merits and woo their suitors‘ attention. A brightly colored scene that tells of suitors and prostitutes, and dancers who make some extra money. The transitions between the world of pleasure and prostitution is a gray area. The examination of these erotic themes reflects Kirchner's bohemian lifestyle. Even during his time in Dresden, Kirchner rendered encounters in the studio with an increased degree of eroticism; in Berlin, corresponding images came from Kirchner's surroundings, from his contacts and his lifestyle. Kirchner was confronted with bars, dance performances and prostitution; with the so-called cocottes, as the Berlin prostitutes were called, not only in context of the big city night life, but also in circles of poets, which he was associated with. At the end of 1913 Kirchner illustrated Alfred Döblin's drama "Comtesse Mizzi", the moral story of a prostitute. But the cocottes were not only typical representatives of the big city for the poets, especially for Kirchner, who staged them in his street scenes, they represent the actual artistic discovery he made in the metropolis. For the artist, the street scenes were an expression and a natural part of society in the modern metropolis, and this includes Kirchner's encounters in brothels. The cocottes on the streets, or, as it is the case here, in the brothel, are not a motif for decrying social misery, but an everyday aspect of an urban society. Kirchner abstracts what is happening and transforms the prostitute's offerings into a sensual experience, transforming the scene into a vibrant language of its own beauty.
Donald Gordon dates the brothel in the catalog raisonné from 1968 to the end of 1912. In doing so, he rightly ignores the fact that Kirchner predated the work "05". Gordon rightly added a second date, which he assumed to be 1920. The reason for this can be found in Kirchner's approach from his early days in Davos. Because when Kirchner made the decisionto settle at the ‘Haus in den Lerchen‘, he asked Erna Schilling, who was still living in Berlin, to close the studio and to little by little send the works to Frauenkirch. A journal, which he started in July 1919, provides information about his activities: It includes thoughts on art theory, drafts for his essays, opinions on personal encounters, as well as notes about the artist's complex working days: "27. Aug. I'm eagerly waiting for medicine from the doctor [Helene Spengler]. My life is an eternal waiting and mourning, there are no more quiet moments. I have to make 5 pictures [..] and revise some pictures. " A month later he made the following short entry: "27. [Sept.] Catalog and restoration of Erna‘s nude"; two days later: "29 [Sept.] Worked a little on old pictures and arranged a lot of sheets . Sent Schames some graphic works"; and the following week he made an on October 6th: "Got back to a large street picture, thoroughly restored, I am completely satisfied."
(Lothar Grisebach, EL Kirchners Davoser Tagebuch, Cologne 1968, p. 59, 64ff.) In autumn 1919 Kirchner was busy creating a catalog of his paintings, especially those that had been sold by then, and to organize the graphic works for the catalog raisonné, as well as to conceive new subjects for his pictures. Accordingly, Kirchner also 'restored' the brothel scene, in which he carefully changed the expressive, sometimes hectic painting style of the Berlin years by subtly calming the surface. Last but not least, the overpaintings also serve Kirchner to prove style-critical changes after the First World War as a continuum of the early works, in order to document a consistent stylistic development. Under certain circumstances, only few would have noticed this if Kirchner had not reported himself about his activities in the diary or if he had not documented the respective conditions with photos and if none of the photographed first versions of the book about Kirchner's work had been holographed by Will Grohmann, thus a before and after could be proven. With the process of a conservational overpainting, Kirchner proved to be his most radical critic, who not only updated his early work, but also changed the expressive, restless expression of the accidental in his early works into classical compositions removed from their contemporary setting. This approach is now visible as a key moment in Kirchner's biography, his strong understanding of himself as a leading and always innovative artist personality, as a constant innovator of art.
Despite the obvious change of the first state by Kirchner's hand around 1920, Gordon's date to 1912 can be questioned, because the pen and ink drawing “Bordell” from 1913 shows an almost identical scene as in the painting. (See fig.) In addition, this drawing seems to have been extremely important to Kirchner as he had it included into the volume of Kirchner's drawings published by Will Grohmann in 1925. Kirchner's protagonists began to wear the characteristic hats in paintings made at the end of 1913, especially the men looking for the cocottes, who populate the Berlin street scenes in 1914. [MvL]



 

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Ernst Ludwig Kirchner "Im Bordell"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 500,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 500,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 500,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 2,500,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 2,500,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 500,000 €: herefrom 25 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 500,000 € is subject to a premium of 20% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 500,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 2,500,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 2,500,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Resale right apportionment:
In accordance with §26 of German Copyright Act, a droit de suite charge of 2.4% including VAT is levied for original artworks and photographs for the compensation of the statutory right of resale.