Two Standing Nude Women, before a Fir Tree, Mountainside (Zwei stehende nackte Madchen vor Tanne am Bergabhang)

Ernest Ludwig Kirchner – Two Standing Nude Women

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. (German, 1880–1938), Two Standing Nude Women, before a Fir Tree, Mountainside (Zwei stehende nackte Madchen vor Tanne am Bergabhang), drypoint and aquatint, 1926, signed E.L. Kirchner in pencil lower right and dated ’25; also annotated “Eigendruck” (hand proofed  by the artist) lower left. Reference: Dube R 546 I (of II). On yellow japan paper, with margins, in good condition (slight creasing in margins, upper verso margin skinned in places, slight ink and soil marks in margins as characteristic of an artist-pulled proof), 12 1/4 x 10, the sheet 17 1/4 x 14.

A fine atmospheric first state impression of this rare composition.  In the second state the aquatint areas – the trees, mountains, shadows – were darkened with additional hatching; the figures given a bit more contouring.

Provenance: unidentified collectors stamp lower left recto (circular, with lettering, number in center, not found in Lugt)

Although assigned the title Two Standing Nude Women it appears possible that the figure at the left is indeed a man, and if so, quite possibly a self portrait of the artist himself.  Indeed, this may be an Adam and Eve coupling, although the usual accompaniments (apple, snake, etc.) are not expressly evident. These conjectures must await further exploration.