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Title

Three bathers

1913

Artist

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Germany

06 May 1880 – 15 Jun 1938

Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Alternate image of Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Details

    Alternative title
    Drei Badende
    Date
    1913
    Media category
    Painting
    Materials used
    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
    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation 1984
    Location
    20th-century galleries (lower level 1)
    Accession number
    158.1984
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

    Works in the collection

    2

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  • About

    As one of the founders of the artists’ group known as Die Brücke (The Bridge) in 1905, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is essential to the history of German expressionism. Favouring jagged outlines over smoothly articulated ones, and employing shrill, often acid colour, expressionist artists sought to transmit an emotional urgency that they believed had been lost in recent art.

    The flat, overlapping forms of the nudes in 'Three bathers' resemble Kirchner’s painted woodcarvings, which in turn echo medieval sculptures of Eve. The influence of African statuary is also visible in the figures’ stiff-armed poses and mask-like faces. The three women are Berlin holidaymakers bathing in the Baltic Sea, but Kirchner depicts them as participants in an ancient encounter with nature. At the same time, the wave rising behind them seems to predict a calamity to come. In July of the following year, war overwhelmed Europe.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 15 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 26 publications

  • Provenance

    Kunstsalon Ludwig Schames, 1916, Frankfurt am Main/Germany, Exhibited October 1916

    Paul Multhaupt, pre 27 Mar 1928, Düsseldorf/Germany, Erkrath, near Düsseldorf

    Kunstsammlungen der Stadt Düsseldorf, 27 Mar 1928-26 Aug 1937, Düsseldorf/Germany, Gift of Paul Multhaupt 27 March 1928. Confiscated by the German Reich as "Degenerate Art" from the Kunstsammlungen der Stadt Düsseldorf on 26 August 1937. Number 2046 on the National Socialist inventory, label verso. Not exhibited in the "Degenerate Art" exhibition. Stored at Schönhausen Palace, Berlin (storage of "useable" works of art) from August 1938 until 8 December 1939. Purchased by Karl Buchholz, 8 December 1939.

    Buchholz Gallery Curt Valentin, 08 Dec 1939-1951, New York/New York/United States of America, Berlin dealer Karl Buchholz, was one of the four main art dealers granted permission by the German Reich to sell confiscated works of "Degenerate Art" on the international art market. 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.

    Curt Valentin Gallery, 1951-Jun 1955, New York/New York/United States of America, Purchased by Mr and Mrs Frederick 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 Dorothy 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 1984, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Fischer Fine Art 1984. Inventory no. F 10.714

Other works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner