Sale: 550 / Evening Sale, June 07. 2024 in Munich Lot 123001982

 

123001982
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Nacktes Mädchen auf Diwan, Ca. 1923.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 400,000 - 600,000

 
$ 428,000 - 642,000

Information on buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation will be available four weeks before the auction.
Nacktes Mädchen auf Diwan. Ca. 1923.
Oil on canvas.
Upper left signed. Signed and titled, as well as with the stamp of the Kunstmuseum Basel (Lugt 1570 b) and the handwritten registration number "Da/Bg 7" on the reverse. Stretcher with the exhibition label inscribed by the artist. 90.5 x 120 cm (35.6 x 47.2 in).
The work is shown in the artist's photo album III (photo 269, there dated "1924"). [CH].

• Exhibited on several occasions during the artist's lifetime (Galerie Ludwig Schames, 1925 and Munich Neue Secession, 1928).
• Part of the highly acclaimed Kirchner exhibition "Die Deutschlandreise 1925/26" at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in 2007.
• The female nude as a form of expression is a recurrent theme in Kirchner's entire artistic oeuvre.
• The motif is closely related to Kirchner's painting "Bohème Moderne" (1924, Minneapolis Institute of Arts).
• Gesamtkunstwerk: Kirchner combines his paintings and carvings, his nudes and interiors as well as his simple, rural life in Davos with the modern Bohème of his interdisciplinary art.
• The intensive study of this motif in the form of drawings, watercolors, prints and paintings demonstrates the great significance of the present work within his oeuvre
.

The work is documented in the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Archive, Wichtrach/Bern.

We are grateful to Franz Dinda, Berlin, for the kind support in cataloging this lot.

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate (Davos 1938, Kunstmuseum Basel 1946, with the estate stamp on the reverse).
Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Munich (1954).
Galerie Paffrath, Düsseldorf.
Galerie Thomas, Munich.
Private collection Germany (acquired from the above).

EXHIBITION: Kirchner, Galerie Ludwig Schames, Frankfurt am Main, Nov. to Dec. 1925, cat. no. 40 (dat. "1923").
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Museum Folkwang, Essen, March 1927.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner und andere, Nassauischer Kunstverein, Städtische Gemäldegalerie, Wiesbaden, May 1927.
XIV. Ausstellung, Münchener Neue Secession, Glaspalast, Munich, summer of 1928, p. 20, cat. no. 123 (with full-page illu in black and white., p. 54, titled "Liegende nackte Frau", with the exhibition label on the stretcher, inscribed by the artist).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Aquarelle, Zeichnung und Druckgraphik aus dem Besitz des Städel, Frankfurt am Main, Wissenschaftszentrum, Bonn (Bad Godesberg), April 18 - June 1, 1980, p. 89 (illu.).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Die Deutschlandreise 1925/26, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, May 13 - August 5, 2007, p. 66, cat. no. 9 (full-page illu.).
Expressionismus aus den Bergen. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Philipp Bauknecht, Jan Wiegers und die Gruppe Rot-Blau, Kunstmuseum Bern, April 27 - August 19, 2007, Groninger Museum, Groningen, September 22, 2007 - January 13, 2008, Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, February 16 - May 25, 2008, p. 306, cat. no. 34 (illu., p. 183).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Retrospektive, Städel-Museum, Frankfurt am Main, April 23 - July 25, 2010, p. 278, cat. no. 121 (full-page illu., p. 189).

LITERATURE: Donald E. Gordon, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Mit einem kritischen Katalog sämtlicher Gemälde, Munich/Cambridge (Mass.) 1968, pp. 137 and 386, no. 768 (illu. in black and white).
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Wolfgang Henze, Die Plastik Ernst Ludwig Kirchners. Monographie mit Werkverzeichnis, Wichtrach/Bern 2002, p. 230 (illu. in color, no. 224).
Hanna Strzoda, Die Ateliers Ernst Ludwig Kirchners. Eine Studie zur Rezeption "primitiver" europäischer und außereuropäischer Kulturen, Petersberg 2006, p. 400 (footnote 2433).
Hans Delfs (ed.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Der Gesamte Briefwechsel ("Die absolute Wahrheit, so wie ich sie fühle"), Zürich 2010, no. 1559 and no. 1849.
Thorsten Sadowsky (ed.), ex. cat. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Der Künstler als Fotograf, Kirchner Museum Davos, November 22, 2015 - May 1, 2016, p. 181 (photograph).
Isabel Herda and Christiane Litz, Eine Art Schule? Zur Rezeption des Verhältnisses von Hermann Scherer und Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, in: ex. cat. Expressionist Scherer. Direkter, roher, emotionaler, Museum für Neue Kunst, Städische Museen, Freiburg, 2019/20, pp. 11-27 (illu., no. 7, p. 24).
Martin Schwander, Mit Lena im Wildbodenhaus. Zu Hermann Scherers und Ernst Ludwig Kirchners Aktdarstellungen der Jahre 1923-1925, in: ex. cat. Hermann Scherer. Kerben und Kanten, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kunstmuseum Chur, Bündner Kunstmuseum, Hamburg 2023, pp. 20-31 (illu., no. 17, p. 28).

Being Kirchner's Model
Relocating from the "Haus in den Lärchen" to the "Wildbodenhaus" near the Sertig valley seemed to have rekindled Kirchner's interest in making studio and living space the stage of his painting. Naturally, it usually was Erna Schilling, his most grateful model, either alone or together with people who visited Kirchner in the remote valley more frequently. They often posed for him, the restless artist, all day long over the course of several days. One of the models was Lena Brubacher (1904-1991), Hermann Scherer's girlfriend, whom she followed from Basel to Frauenkirch in early 1924. Scherer had spent time at Kirchners on several occasions since 1922, usually in order to learn from him and to develop his own style, just like other Basel artists such as Paul Camenisch and Albert Müller, together with whom he founded the "Red-Blue" artist group.
The young Lena Brubacher spent several hours posing nude at the 'Wildbodenhaus' almost every day, inspiring her lover Hermann Scherer and Kirchner, who warmly welcomed her youthful body as an artistic stimulus. After two to three weeks, however, she turned her back on the Wildbodenhaus, physically and mentally drained. Etchings, woodcuts, sketches and finally the painting document Lena's visit at Wildbodenhaus; surprisingly, there are no photographs of Kirchner that document the visits, as Kirchner would usually have done. (Cf.: Martin Schwander, Mit Lena im Wildbodenhaus, in: Hermann Scherer, Kerben und Kanten, Zurich 2022, pp. 20f.)

Lena as a Woven Model
So we see Lena with her slightly wavy, reddish-blond hair, seemingly relaxed on a kilim-covered chaise longue in the artist's living room. The left side of her face is partly covered by a lush bouquet of flowers, while the artist enriched the scene, which was painted in January or February, with fruit in a bowl carved by Kirchner. The background is dominated by a large tapestry with the motif "Paar mit Kind", a design from 1923, which the textile artist Lise Gujer, an acquaintance of Kirchner's since 1922, executed as an interlocked warp knitting with linen warp and colored wool weft.
However, Kirchner only sketched half of the 85 x 241 cm tapestry - only the cropped face of the woman behind the child on the left is still visible - and he added a richness of color to the woven fabric that the artist must have missed in the original work. It was only posthumously in the 1950s that Lise Gujer would revisit the theme and use brightly colored wool yarns. (Cf. Eberhard W. Kornfeld, Textilarbeiten nach Entwürfen von E. L. Kirchner, Bern 1999, p. 20)
And in passing, Kirchner mentions an important development of his work, a first document of his collaboration with Lise Gujer, initiated in 1922, who worked as a weaver and, at the artist's suggestion, created interlocked weavings based on his designs. As described, the present work was created in 1923; while Lise Gujer created further versions after the artist's death. Kirchner criticized the insufficient colorfulness of the first three works as a result of the overly intense effect of the linen warp. Of great rarity, only one contemporary copy of each of the three early works from 1922 to 1923 is known.
And on the left in the background, Kirchner also cites one of his many carved seats, here "Stuhl mit großem Akt" on the backrest. Kirchner had made this unusual piece of furniture from Swiss stone pine and painted it with ox blood while he still lived in the Haus in den Lärchen in 1920. Surrounded by the stage-like setting of the living and working space, Kirchner shows Lena Brubacher with a tense aloofness.
The vibrant setting with its still-life-like elements also reveals this nude to be a psychogram of the artist himself and is typical of his painting in the mid-1920s. [MvL]



123001982
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Nacktes Mädchen auf Diwan, Ca. 1923.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 400,000 - 600,000

 
$ 428,000 - 642,000

Information on buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation will be available four weeks before the auction.