An image of Three bathers

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

(Germany 06 May 1880 – 15 Jun 1938)

Three bathers

Location
Not on display
Further information

As one of the founding artists of 'Die Brücke' group in 1905, Kirchner is essential to the history of German expressionism, a movement he virtually personifies. Trained in Munich and Dresden, he was attracted to neo-impressionism, van Gogh and tribal artefacts, combining influences from all three in his searingly emotional paintings, drawings and prints. His woodcuts and woodcarvings combine traditional German folk forms with more primitive instincts. His oil paintings, ranging from ambitiously large to intimate in scale, equally show the effects of ethnographic research. The nudes in 'Three bathers' resemble the artist's painted carvings, echoing in turn the sculpted Eves of medieval art as well as African and Pacific statuary. Wearing lipstick and a look of enervation, these Berlin day-trippers huddle defensively in the Baltic waves. Uncannily presaging the coming blitzkrieg, the figures also predict the artist's own deteriorating health. Conscripted in 1915, Kirchner was discharged six months later with tuberculosis.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

Year
1913
Media
Painting
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
197.5 x 147.5 cm stretcher; 215.2 x 165.0 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 1984
Accession number
158.1984
Provenance
Kunstsalon Ludwig Schames, 1916, Frankfurt am Main/Germany, Exhibited October 1916
Kunstsammlungen der Stadt Düsseldorf, pre 26 Aug 1937, Dusseldorf/Germany, Confiscated as "Degenerate Art" on 26 August 1937, no. 2046 on the National Socialist inventory, label verso. Not exhibited in the "Degenerate Art" exhibition. Stored at Schönhausen Castle, Berlin from August 1938 until December 1939. Purchased by Karl Buchholz December 1939.
Buchholz Gallery Curt Valentin, Dec 1939-1951, New York/New York/United States of America, German dealer, Karl Buchholz was one of the four main dealers granted permission by the Reich to sell confiscated works of "Degenerate Art". In 1940 the painting was shipped to Buchholz’s New York gallery, run by Curt Valentin, inventory no. NY1957. In 1951 the gallery was renamed the Curt Valentin Gallery. Loaned by Buchholz Gallery to 'Kirchner: first American retrospective exhibition of oils, watercolours, prints' at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 8 December 1950 - 12 January 1951.
Curt Valentin Gallery, 1951-Jun 1955, New York/New York/United States of America, Purchased by Mr and Mrs Zimmermann, June 1955 from the 'Closing exhibition. Sculpture, paintings and drawings'.
Mr & Mrs Frederick Zimmermann, Jun 1955-circa 1969, New York/New York/United States of America, Frederick Zimmermann (USA 1906-67). Loaned by Mrs Zimmermann to 'Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: a retrospective exhibition' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 20 March - 27 April 1969. Touring exhibition, exhibited in Boston only.
Galerie Melki, 1973, Paris/France, Inventory no. 2073
Fischer Fine Art Ltd, pre 28 Sep 1984, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Fischer Fine Art 1984