Die Geliebte. 1915. Woodcut, hand-colored. Gercken 775 I (of III b). Dube H 264 a (of II). Inscribed by a hand other than that of the artist. Verso with estate stamp of the Kunstmuseum Basel (Lugt 1570b) and with hand-written registration number "H 266 I". Unique. Only known hand-colored trial proof from before the printing block was sawed apart. The copy mentioned in Gercken. On firm copper plate printing paper. 28.2 x 22.2 cm (11.1 x 8.7 in). Sheet: Ca. 44,2 x 29,5 cm (17,4 x 11,4 in). One of just a few single prints aside from the portfolio of 6 sheets plus cover drawing and title leaf for "Bilder zu Peter Schlemihls wundersamer Geschichte von Albert von Chamisso" (1915). The only known hand-colored copy of the 2nd printing state from the sawed-up block is in possession of the Folkwang Museums, Essen. Additionally, only 7 color woodcuts from the third state are known, they are also largely in possession of public collections, such as the Kunstmuseum, Basel, the Brücke-Museum, Berlin and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt a. M. The copy from the Brücke-Museum Berlin is recently shown in the exhibition "Großstadtrausch/Naturidyll. Kirchner - Die Berliner Jahre" on display at Kunsthaus Zürich from 10 February to 7 May, 2017. Remarkable achievement of expressionist graphic art, the only known copy colored by Kirchner's hand. This is the first time in 30 years that a proof of this important woodcut is offered on the international auction market (source: www.artnet.de). We are grateful to Prof. Dr. Günther Gercken, Lütjensee, for his kind expert advice.
PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate. Galerie Roman Norbert Ketterer, Campione d`Italia/Switzerland. Private collection Hesse (acquired from aforementioned).
EXHIBITION: Meisterwerke des deutschen Expressionismus, Kunsthalle Bremen/Kunstverein Hanover/Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Köln/Stedelijk-Museum, The Hague, 1960 and Kunsthaus Zürich 1961, cat. no. 87.
LITERATURE: E.L. Kirchner, Galerie R. N. Ketterer, Campione d'Italia 1963, cat. p. 87 with black and white illu. on p. 86. E.L. Kirchner - Brücke, Galerie R.N. Ketterer, Campione d'Italia 1964, cat. no. 91 with black and white illu. on p. 99. Magdalena M. Moeller and Günther Gercken, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte, Munich/London/New York 2014.
Our woodcut “Die Geliebte“ by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was made in crisis-ridden times that would become the most fruitful era in the oeuvre of the “Brücke“ artist. At the beginning of World War I Kirchner volunteered for service in the military, however, he soon felt that the army deprived him of his individuality and artistic freedom. Physical and mental results from this situation led to a diagnosis of disablement in November 1915. Soon after he was released and still under the influence of his time as a soldier, he began to work on the woodcut series for Albert von Chamisso's novel “Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte“(Peter Schlemihl's Miraculous Story). With the elaborate technique of the multicolor woodcut Kirchner construes a very own pictorial reality in the Schlemihl series. Enobling every motif to an artwork of a highest personal individuality. This also explains the reason why the sheets are so extremely rare, as Kirchner only gave them to very close friends. The work offered here is the only known copy from the first hand-colored printing state aside from the portfolio. The hand-coloring and the following treatment of the printing block make this sheet an exceptional document of the artistic methods of thinking and creation of one of the most acclaimed artist's of Modern Art.