Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at Auction

One of the most prolific and creative of the German Expressionist artists, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) was the leader of Die Brücke (The Bridge)—a group of young architecture students turned painters who were drawn together by their opposition to the academic art that surrounded them. This is the first major exhibition of Kirchner's work to be seen in the United States in 30 years and the first ever to be held in England. This selection of 141 of Kirchner's finest paintings, works on paper, and sculpture focuses on the period from 1908 to 1919, arguably Kirchner's most important period of work, and illustrates his stylistic breakthroughs with major masterpieces from these years. To demonstrate the artist's creative process and the fertile dialogue among his various media, paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, and sculpture are shown together throughout the exhibition.

Sotheby's 2017

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Vier Akte unter Bäumen (Four Nudes under Trees)
oil on canvas
Painted in 1913.
Estimate: £3,500,000-5,000,000 
Kirchner’s primary concern was the representation of the human form in its most primitive or uninhibited state, and the spontaneous depictions of the body in Vier Akte unter Bäumen strongly reflects this aesthetic goal. With an autobiographical subject matter, daring imagery and vibrant palette, the work is testament to the painter’s avant-garde vision. Painted in the final year of important artistic collective Die Brücke – whose governing philosophy centred on freedom of expression – the work exemplifies the zest and vigour of the movement. A large-scale, museum-quality painting, Vier Akte unter Bäumen is appearing at auction for the first time. 
Although drawn to dynamic city life in Berlin, Kirchner felt a need to counteract it with painting trips in the countryside – spending several weeks with fellow artists and their female companions and models, bathing and playing nude and living in tents and huts. This experience of Free Body Culture (Freikörperkultur) was coupled with tribal art and the simple yet expressive forms of African sculpture. This work followed a summer spent in Fehrman with Erna Schilling, who would remain his partner for the rest of his life. In an almost Judgement of Paris style scene, Kirchner himself is depicted with a high-hat and a pipe, surrounded by three female figures. 

Christie’s 2016 

Offered from the collection of the industrial chemist Dr Carl Hagemann, Bahnhof Königstein, 1916, is a major painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) deriving from the artist’s very last truly expressionist period shortly before he left Germany for good, in 1917, to convalesce in Switzerland (estimate: £1.5-2 million). This is one of a rare and important group of paintings that Kirchner made in and of the landscape around Königstein in the Taunus region near Frankfurt, where he had been ordered to enter a sanatorium after being discharged from the army in September 1915. Bahnhof Königstein is one of the first of Kirchner’s paintings to have been bought by Carl Hagemann, an important friend, patron and life-long supporter of the artist and his work. Priced originally at 600 marks, this painting was the most highly priced oil that Kirchner sold to his new patron in 1916. A letter from Kirchner to Hagemann written in September 1916 reveals in what high regard Kirchner held this particular painting and how important Hagemann’s patronage was during this critical time of upheaval for the artist.


Christie's 2015

 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Im See badende Mädchen, Moritzburg, oil on canvas, Painted in Moritzburg, 1909 $13,605,000 (£9,021,883)

Sotheby's 2015

 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 16,250 GBP

Sotheby's 2014

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 905,000 USD

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 1,482,500 GBP

Sotheby's 2012

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 926,050 GBP

Sotheby's 2010

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 2,953,250 GBP

Sotheby's 2009

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 5,417,250 GBP

Sotheby's 2008

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
LOT SOLD. 722,500 Swiss Francs

 Christie's  2015

Christie's  2014


Christie's 2013




Christie's 2012

Christie's  2011

Christie's  2010

Christie's 2009

Christie's 2008

Christie's 2006

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Berliner Strassenszene (recto);

National Galleries of Scotland 

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Japanisches Theater [Japanese Theatre]
  • 1909
  • This is one of Kirchner's first paintings to depict a stage scene. It shows actors from a Japanese theatre company performing at Dresden's Albert Theatre. Theatre and cabaret scenes were extremely popular among the Brücke expressionist group. The artist's unusual viewpoint, looking down on the actors from a side angle, suggests that he may have seen the play from a theatre box. Kirchner saw an exhibition of Matisse paintings in December 1908, and this painting shows the influence of Matisse's flat areas of anti-naturalistic colour.

This scene shows a group of men seated at a table in a cabaret club, their hats and coats hung up on the wall. The dancer is so close to them that they seem to have to lean back to avoid her high kick. The angular style of the lithograph is typical of German expressionist works of this period. Kirchner was a prolific printmaker, although he usually made just a few impressions of each piece as he liked to print his work himself. Only one other impression of this rare lithograph is thought to exist.

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Interieur mit nackter Liegender und Mann [Interior with Nude Woman and Man]
  • 1924
  • In about 1924, Kirchner reversed the canvas of his painting 'Japanisches Theatre [Japanese Theatre]' and painted this work. It depicts the interior of the artist’s house in Davos, Switzerland, with a seated nude and a standing man, who is most likely a self-portrait. Called the ‘Wildbodenhaus’, Kirchner’s house was decorated with exotic textiles and carpets which can be seen here, as well as his own carvings. Like many of his contemporaries, Kirchner was interested in primitive sculpture, and he carved his own large sculptures, reliefs and furniture directly from tree trunks. The totemic sculpture on the left is probably by the artist himself. This decorative painting is enlivened by large patterns and intense colours and is structured around horizontal and vertical lines.