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

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. (German, 18801938), 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 some have conjectured that the figure at the left may indeed be a man, and if so, quite possibly a self portrait of the artist himself; others have suggested that the composition is an Adam and Eve coupling – but the usual accompaniments (apple, snake, etc.) are not expressly evident. Probably the best interpretation of this rare print: Two Standing Nude Women.