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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Dancing Group of the Mary Wigman School in Dresden

charcoal and blue chalk on paper
34,2 x 48,1 cm / 13 1/2 x 19 7/8 in.
verso with estate stamp and no. 'Fs Da/Bc 45'

Already in Dresden the young artists of the „Brücke“ (Bridge) group were fascinated by dance – and by dancers. The artists honed the skills required to depict moving bodies in the „quarter-hour-nudes“, initiated by Kirchner. They learned to capture a pose in quick pencil strokes. In 1926 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner travelled to Dresden, where he was working with the young art historian Will Grohmann on a monography. Grohmann introduced the artist to Mary Wigman, the most famous proponent – and creator - of free dance. He was permitted to watch rehearsals and to draw. One of the performances they rehearsed was „Totentanz“ (Dance of Death) to the music of Will Goetze. Wigman noted in her journal: “Since the annexe of my school had not been finished in time, the city of Dresden had granted me the use of a large hall in the old residence, the former royal palace, for the rehearsals of our new group program. We met there every morning. The painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner also came there every day, drawing or painting in watercolour, as a silent partner in the background. During work we hardly spoke to each other. But his presence was always noticeable and always inspiring“. Kirchner created a large number of drawings, among them "Dancing Group of the Mary Wigman School in Dresden", and prints, and the painting „Totentanz der Mary Wigman“ (Mary Wigman’s Dance of Death).

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