Sale: 535 / Evening Sale with Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Dec. 09. 2022 in Munich Lot 6

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Hockende, 1910.
Wood, painted in colors
€ 700,000 / $ 756,000
€ 4,290,000 / $ 4,633,200

(incl. surcharge)
Hockende. 1910.
Wood, painted in colors.
Henze 1910/15. Stand signed and inscribed "Wilmersdorf, Durlacher Strasse 14 II". 37.5 x 18 x 15 cm (14.7 x 7 x 5.9 in).
• Sculptures by Kirchner are extremely rare on the international auction market.
• This is one of just a few preserved Kirchner sculptures, as the majority of them are considered lost today.
• The accomplishments E. L. Kirchner and Erich Heckel made in sculpting were unrivaled in the early 20th century – they challenged contemporary viewing habits even more than in their paintings.
• Within his sculptural creation, this work is characterized by a special liveliness and dynamic.
• The artist's interest in motion and dance is a key theme in his œuvre

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

PROVENANCE: Artist's estate (Davos 1938, Kunstmuseum Basel 1946).
Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart (1954).
Wolfgang and Else Ketterer, Stuttgart (since 1964 the latest).
Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Würzburg (with the collector's stamp Lugt 6032, acquired from the above in 1977).

EXHIBITION: Das Ursprüngliche und die Moderne, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, August 23 - September 27, 1964, cat. no. 96 (with illu.).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A Retrospective Exhibition, Seattle Art Museum / Pasadena Art Museum / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1968/1969, cat. no. 147.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880-1938, Nationalgalerie Berlin, November 29, 1979 - January 20, 1980; Haus der Kunst, Munich, February 9 - April 13, 1980; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, April 26 - June 8, 1980; Kunsthaus Zürich, June 20 - August 10, 1980, cat. no. 63.
Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig (permanent loan from the Collection Hermann Gerlinger, 1995-2001).
Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle an der Saale (permanent loan from the Collection Hermann Gerlinger, 2001-2017).
Die "Brücke" in Dresden 1905-1911, Dresdner Schloss, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2001-2002, cat. no. 230 (with illu.).
Buchheim Museum, Bernried (permanent loan from the Collection Hermann Gerlinger, 2017-2022).

LITERATURE: L. de Marsalle, Über die plastischen Arbeiten von E. L. Kirchner, in: Der Cicerone, no. 14, Leipzig 1925, p. 695.
Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, 17th auction, 1976, lot 770 (with illu.).
Annemarie Dube-Heynig, Das Ursprüngliche und die Moderne, Akademie der Künste, Berlin 1984, cat. no. 96, p. 285.
Annemarie Dube-Heynig, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Postkarten und Briefe an Erich Heckel im Altonaer Museum in Hamburg, Cologne 1984 (with illu., no. VIII).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gustav Schiefler, Briefwechsel: 1910-1935/1938, mit Briefen von und an Luise Schiefler und Erna Kirchner, sowie weiteren Dokumenten aus Schieflers Korrespondenz-Ablage, edited by Wolfgang Henze, 1990, pp. 30-31.
Stephan von der Wiese, Metaphysisches Beefsteak? Zur Kubismus-Rezeption des Expressionismus, in: ex. cat. 1909-1925 Kubismus in Prag, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf 1991, pp- 38-43.
Heinz Spielmann (ed.), Die Maler der Brücke. Sammlung Hermann Gerlinger, Stuttgart 1995, p. 152, SHG no. 146 (with illu.).
Heinz Spielmann, Begegnung mit afrikanischer Kunst, in: Katja Schneider and Hermann Gerlinger (eds.), Vernissage, Heidelberg 1995, 4, pp. 29-31.
Wolfgang Henze, Die Plastik Ernst Ludwig Kirchners. Monograph with catalogue raisonné, Wichtrach/Bern 2002, cat. no. 1910/15 (with illu.).
Karin v. Maur, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Sein Schaffen als Bildhauer, in: ex. cat. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Der Maler als Bildhauer, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 2003, cat. no. 6, pp. 13-99.
Oliver Kornhoff, Studien zum bildhauerischen Werk der "Brücke". Über den 'zwingenden Rhythmus der im Block geschlossenen Form' bei Erich Heckel und Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (PhD thesis), Freiburg im Br. 2003 (with illu., no. 5).
Hermann Gerlinger, Katja Schneider (eds.), Die Maler der Brücke. Inventory catalog Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Halle (Saale) 2005, p. 315, SHG no. 711 (with illu.).
Meike Hoffmann, Leben und Schaffen der Künstlergruppe "Brücke" 1905-1913 (PhD thesis), Berlin 2005 (with illu. no. 3).
Hanna Strzoda, Die Ateliers Ernst Ludwig Kirchners. Eine Studie zur Rezeption 'primitiver' europäischer und außereuropäischer Kulturen, Petersberg 2006 (with illu., no. 171).
Anita Beloubek-Hammer, Die schönsten Gestalten der besseren Zukunft. Die Bildhauerkunst des Expressionismus und ihr geistiges Umfeld, vols. 1-2, Cologne 2007 (with illu, no. 80, 355).

"Nothing describes the cultural break in European sculptural tradition better than the "Hockende". The liberation from the hitherto repertoire of forms can still be felt today: That is what makes her so modern. The figure unites opposites of raw and fine, static and moving, sculpture and picture."

Günther Gercken.

"Heckel carved wooden figures again; Kirchner enriched this technique by painting his figures, seeking the rhythm of the closed form in stone and pewter casting"
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Brücke chronicle, 1913.

A female nude crouches on a round, slightly tapered plinth. A figure that can be described as a compactly worked out ‘Figura Serpentinata’. The lower body is turned to the left, the upper body to the right, the head again to the left. The figure is characterized by strongly bent legs and arms pressed against the body: "Hockende" (Squatting Woman) sits on the plinth, both legs bent left and right in front of her so that her feet touch the base. The body is upright, her arms wrapped around it and the head slightly tilted to the side nestled against the raised left arm and the bent right forearm. Her right hand covers her right breast, the left arm embraces the head of hair, so that both arms embrace it parallel to the contour of hair and head.

The "Hockende" as a Recurring Motif
The sculpture of this squatting female nude from the unique Gerlinger Collection measures 32.7 centimeters in height and is executed all-around, thus it corresponds to the spatiality and corporality that Rudolf Belling demands of a sculptural work. It was made in Dresden, where it was placed on a high tree-trunk pedestal in the Brücke studio. Kirchner then took it with him to Berlin, where he used it as a staffage figure in many works, among them the drawing "Akt vor Spiegel, in Tub steigend", which is also offered in this auction. The distinctive head of hair identifies the sculpture as a representation of Kirchner's Dresden partner Dodo, who inspired Kirchner to numerous works. The sculpture still shows remains of painting: details such as hair, head contour, as well as eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth, fingers, breasts and pubic area are highlighted in dark colors, and the plinth is also colored. Our figure is particularly distinguished by the fact that the paint is so well preserved. As far as the surface design is concerned, the artist's hand found a direct expression, it shows precise traces from the process of creation, testifying to its creator’s physical power. Each cut is traceable. The figure is roughly carved out of the wood, does not exhibit a "dead form", thus does not include hollow spaces, as Rudolf Belling demanded of a sculpture, but is carved out of the trunk as a compact form. What Kirchner saw in the trunk, what figure he had in mind and cut out of the it, is well documented in a drawing he made n 1913: "Skizze zu Skulptur," pencil and chalks, 48.5 x 38 cm, Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Henze illu. 141.

The Design of Living and Working Space as a Gesamtkunstwerk
In his studio on Berliner Strasse 80 in Dresden, Kirchner created his first living and working space according to the ideas of the Gesamtkunstwerk: the walls adorned with paintings and and textiles made according to his designs, cushions, tablecloths, and the sofa; even carved sculptures, furnishings, and objects of utility were placed on tables and pedestals or were distributed throughout the room. Everything served as staffage in an artwork (Hanna Strzoda provides a detailed description and examination of Kirchner's studios in "Die Ateliers Ernst Ludwig Kirchners – Eine Studie zur Rezeption 'primitiver' europäischer und außerereuropäischer Kulturen," Petersberg 2006). Paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints and photographs by Kirchner show these self-made wooden objects behind, next to, and around the pictures’ protagonists, inspiriting fore- and background. That was where artists of the "Brücke" met and worked on the incunabula of German Expressionism. It was an environment that was considered "natural" and "original," and which also incorporated artifacts of the "primitives." This resulted in an interaction: figure became sculpture and vice versa.

The "Hockende" as an Ideal Expression
The sculpture described here shows the "Hockende" (Squatting). It is not the representation of a female nude in a crouched bearing, but the hieroglyph of "squatting" par excellence, as Kirchner himself described it under his pseudonym "Louis de Marsalle" in his essay on the sculptural works of E. L. Kirchner. It is carved out of a log to which the contours perfectly correspond: In this work Kirchner tried to carve as little as possible out of the cylindrical form. Following the hierarchical perspective, legs and arms are emphasized, defining and shaping the sculpture in a wavy S-shaped line. A figure created from aligned geometric figures, as described by Luis de Marsalle aka Ernst Ludwig Kirchner himself. In our case, it is mainly ovoid shapes that make up the sculpture.

The present figure also meets the postulations of the "Brücke" program. Of the 140 works that Wolfgang Henze identified in the catalog raisonné of Kirchner's sculpture (Wolfgang Henze, Die Plastik Ernst Ludwig Kirchners – Monographie mit Werkverzeichnis, Wichtrach/Bern, 2002), more than half of the works created during the Dresden and Berlin periods depict female nudes. As one of Kirchner’s favorite motifs, the artist found his very own expression in it and it enabled Kirchner to implement the "Brücke" principle of exaggerated form, color and gesture. The earliest works were not directly influenced by Oceanic and African art; it was not until around 1909/10 that their impact on the sculpture of the "Brücke" artists became noticeable. Thus the exaggeration of form and color was already formative for their art before that.

Kirchner's Modification of Sculpture
The so-called “Viertelstundenakt“ (Quarter Hour Nude), which the "Brücke" artists conceived in 1906, would also give distinction to sculptural works, which were peeled and milled out of the wood in rapid movements. The surface remained very rough and edged and still showed the artist’s signature. The work steps remained visible in the sculpture, each change left a trace in the material. Each sculpture shows the profile of the original log it was created from, as well as the individual work processes the artist performed on the wood. The coloring that was applied on it highlights the artist's interaction with the material, reinforces it instead of masking it. Contours were emphasized and surfaces were delineated from one another in strong contrasts. With this sculpture Kirchner created something new that art had never seen before. He as a peintre-sculpteur, as an autodidact, was able to break free from the prevailing academic constraints. Echoes of early Gothic and Renaissance pasts are more apparent than the stylistic dogmas prevalent around him. The compact posture and the painting are more reminiscent of medieval works, while the twisted body hints at the Renaissance Figura Serpentinata.

The Impressive Fusion of Painting and Sculpture
Sculpture took on an important and decisive role in Kirchner's oeuvre, developing beyond a mere concomitant phenomenon to become an independent and influential genre. The interactions between sculpture and the other genres alone show how important the sculptural works were for painting, drawing, and graphic art: The more intensively Kirchner dealt with carving figures and objects, the more sculptural his two-dimensional figures became. The faces in his paintings, drawings, and prints now appear almost mask-like. The bodies appear angular and compact. Exaggerated in their form and movement, with disproportionate features such as head, arms, legs and buttocks, breasts and genitals. In the position they were captured in, with unnaturally twisted joints, they seem so odd that the posture could hardly be a realistic one. We encounter a form of hierarchical proportion common in medieval painting, everything is subordinate to the will of the artist to represent something specific. Thus sculpting is on an equal footing with the other genres in Kirchner's work, which can be seen in the widespread and effective juxtaposition between sculptures and models in his depictions. In Kirchner's works, representations of sculptural figures appear on par with representations of living models; they inspire one another. Particularly noteworthy is the colorful setting that Kirchner gave his sculptures: quite in contrast to the traditional sculpture he knew from past centuries, which mainly showed the surface of the material unpainted, Kirchner painted his plastic works, so that they also appeared expressive in color. Kirchner used the sculpture like an image carrier and colored the surface like a painting.

Alexandra Henze Triebold

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Hockende, 1910.
Wood, painted in colors
€ 700,000 / $ 756,000
€ 4,290,000 / $ 4,633,200

(incl. surcharge)