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Three Bathers on the Beach

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

European Art

Influenced in part by Henri Matisse, whose paintings he saw exhibited in Berlin in 1909, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner developed a radical and forceful pictorial language of flattened space, expressive figural distortion, and vivid color. This composition recalls traditional, idyllic pastorals while also reflecting his own free lifestyle at a lake near Dresden, where he relaxed and bathed nude with friends. Kirchner claimed that “the poet Walt Whitman was responsible for my outlook on life” and that Whitman’s sexually charged 1855 poem Leaves of Grass “was and still is my comfort and encouragement.” These lines from the poem seem to reflect the atmosphere of his print: “I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me.”
MEDIUM Color lithograph in red, yellow, green, blue and violet on wove paper
  • Place Made: Germany
  • DATES 1909
    DIMENSIONS image: 20 x 23 1/2 in. (50.8 x 59.7 cm) sheet: 21 3/4 x 25 13/16 in. (55.2 x 65.6 cm) frame: 27 3/4 × 31 1/4 × 1 3/4 in. (70.5 × 79.4 × 4.4 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Stamped on verso: "Kunstverein / Jena" verso: purple stamp: "Kunstverein Jena" verso: graphite, "NY 2975" verso: purple stamp: "
    SIGNATURE Signed in graphite, lower right: "E.L. Kirchner 09"
    INSCRIPTIONS Lower left in graphite: "Handdruck"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE By exchange
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938). Three Bathers on the Beach, 1909. Color lithograph in red, yellow, green, blue and violet on wove paper, image: 20 x 23 1/2 in. (50.8 x 59.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 43.124 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 43.124_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 43.124_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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