Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Aschaffenburg 1880 - 1938 Frauenkirch near Davos
Fränzi vor Skulptur
Pen and ink drawing on chamois-coloured paper. 21 x 16.5 cm. Framed under glass. Unsigned. Oval-shaped blue stamp "NACHLASS E. L. KIRCHNER" (not recorded by Lugt) verso, therein monogrammed "R N K" in ballpoint pen by Roman Norbert Ketterer. - Defects due to age such as slight folds and brownish traces of moisture to the lower margin.
Estate of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Roman Norbert Ketterer, Campione; Galerie Utermann, Dortmund (label on cardboard backing); Private collection, Rhineland
No other model occupies such a prominent position within Kirchner's oeuvre as the young girl Fränzi, who with her boyish figure, triangular face and long dark hair advanced to something of an icon. She can be found depicted in many of Kirchner's, Heckel's and Pechstein's paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the summer of 1909 to 1911.
Lina Franziska Fehrmann (1900-1950), known as Fränzi, was just short of nine years old when she first became a model for the artists of the Brücke group. Kirchner was likely fascinated by her childlike innocent and uninhibited mannerisms in his studio, which were so different to a model's typical posing. Her boyish body also lent itself well to the rather planar, sharply contoured style of Kircher's art at the time. Her still angular silhouette could be depicted more radically and simplified on a plane than the body of a female adult. Kirchner deliberately and provokingly distanced himself from both the motifs and style dictated by academic rules in order to depict a more intense feeling of life.
Revealing a great immediacy and sketched in a few lines , the present ink drawing of „Fränzi vor Skulptur“ is dated to 1910. Kirchner's wooden sculptures gave his studio an exotic touch, and can be found in many of his drawings and paintings. The work in this drawing could be his coloured wooden sculpture “Hockende” from 1910. However, the slanted eyes and arched back of the figure are more reminiscent of a cat, such as the one seen in the work “Mädchen mit Katze, Fränzi” from 1910 (cf. Gordon 124).