Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Tanzende Akte - image-1

Lot 38 Dα

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Tanzende Akte

Auction 1200 - overview Cologne
01.06.2022, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 60.000 € - 80.000 €
Result: 88.200 € (incl. premium)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Tanzende Akte

Lithograph on yellow paper. 59.4 x 51 cm (65.9/66.9 x 56.2 cm). Signed 'EL Kirchner' lower left in pencil, inscribed "Handdruck" lower right, most probably by Erna Schilling. One of 7 proofs in this state (this proof mentioned in the catalogue raisonné).

Kirchner's fascinating lithograph “Tanzende Akte”, of 1914, is found here in a handmade proof from the collection of Erich Heckel. This sheet is distinguished by the relative clarity of its large form, the drawing within the contours and the deep tonal contrasts. Individual, handmade artist's proofs often differ with regard to the distribution and density of their ink, and the tone of the plate can also turn out to vary in intensity. In this lithograph printed in black on coloured paper, Kirchner has combined shades that vary in intensity - in the two figures, particularly in their heads, as well as the background, which is undefined in this sketch of the motif and displays a largely painterly effect. Thoroughly expressive, the underlying fields of homogenous black correspond to the synchronous momentum of the two dancers. The formal and thematic concentration creates a charged aspect that is underscored through the rotated alternation of the figural views and the intimacy of the gazes directed entirely towards one another. This underlines the isolated dance movement, which seems to become entirely lost in the beautiful gesture. However, it is not just an end in itself but also a pretext and is directed towards the viewer.
The lithograph resonates with the important thematic complexes of the Berlin period: the studies of nudes in the studio, Gerda and Erna Schilling as the preferred new models, the quick sketching of movement in space thrown down on the page, the experience of urban nightlife. The intense artistic translation of experiences culminated in this period, around 1913/1914, in the famous “Berliner Straßenszenen”. The elongation of the figures, which is also emphasised and amplified here, is in keeping with the new stylisation, just as the striking frontality of the figures also appears compositionally related. As a lithographic masterpiece, “Tanzende Akte” of 1914 highlights the absolute parallelism in the means of expression utilised by Kirchner.

Catalogue Raisonné

Gercken 680 II; Dube L. 252


We would like to thank Günther Gercken, Lütjensee, for scientific advice and additional information.


Erich Heckel, Estate, Hemmenhofen


Cf. Magdalena M. Moeller (ed.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Berlin, exhib. cat. Brücke Museum Berlin, Munich 2008, especially chapters 4 ("Erna und Gerda Schilling"), 5 ("Varieté und Tanz"), 11 ("Modelle, Kokotten, Prostituierte"), 12 ("Ausbruch ins Paradies: Fehmarn") and 13 ("Die Straßenszenen") as well as cat. no. 55 with colour plate ("Tanzende Akte", proof from Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett)