Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

The unknown collection
29 June – 21 October 2018

Our graphic collection houses the great treasure of 82 illustrations as well as 84 prints and several illustrated books by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 - 1938), the co-founder of the artist community "Brücke". All of his creative periods and important themes such as the big city and dance, landscapes on Fehmarn as well as the Alps and others are represented in this remarkable collection. Kirchner's prints in particular are exceptional, as the individual sheets are rarely available in editions, but often only in a few hand-printed copies.

In 2018, the 80th year of the artist's death, we will present the works last exhibited as a complete complex in 1980 in an exhibition accompanied by a catalog of the holdings.

All of Kirchner's prints acquired for our museum as early as the 1920s were confiscated in 1937 as "degenerate," so that the development of our Kirchner collection could not begin until after the Second World War: In addition to various purchases and gifts from 1947 onward until the 1970s, it was primarily the bundle of 143 illustration and prints that came into the collection in 1957 and whose provenance was given as "Sammlung Dr. Gervais, Zürich/Lyon." This provenance remained a mystery for a long time. Our research project, which has now been completed, has shown that all the prints came from the estate of the artist or his widow Erna Kirchner (1884 - 1945) and that the "Gervais Collection" was apparently an invention of Kirchner's student Christian Laely (1913 - 1992) in order to be able to sell works to Germany despite a ban on assets.

Accompanying the exhibition, we are presenting illustrations, woodcuts, etchings and lithographs by Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Fritz Bleyl, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein and Otto Mueller from our holdings in the graphics cabinet (until 16.9.) under the title "Kirchner and the 'Künstlergemeinschaft Brücke'".


Exhibition film