Ernst Ludwig Kirchner



Alternative Title
Artistin - Marcella
Material / Technique
Bildmaß 101 × 76 cm
Rahmenmaß 120 × 95 × 5 cm
Related Digital Projects
Acquisition details
Erworben 1997 aus Privatbesitz
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Artistin, 1910, Öl auf Leinwand, Brücke-Museum, Gemeinfreies Werk


Der Kunstverein Jena erhielt das Gemälde 1917 als Vermächtnis seines Gründers Botho Graef (1857–1917). 1937 wurde es hier im Rahmen der nationalsozialistischen Aktion Entartete Kunst beschlagnahmt. Der Galerist Ferdinand Möller (1882–1956) übernahm das Werk im März 1940, um es im Auftrag des Deutschen Reichs ins Ausland zu veräußern. Stattdessen verblieb es in seinem Besitz. In das Brücke-Museum gelangte die Artistin 1997 durch einen Ankauf aus der Sammlung von Angelika Fessler-Möller (1919–2002), der Tochter des Kunsthändlers.

Exhibitions (selection)

Literature (selection)

  • Magdalena M. Moeller, Das Brücke-Museum Berlin, Prestel, München 1996.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke. La nascita dell´espressionismo, Ausst.-Kat. Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta Milan, Mazzotta, Milano 1999.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Die Brücke. Meisterwerke aus dem Brücke-Museum Berlin, Ausst.-Kat. Brücke-Museum Berlin, Hirmer Verlag, München 2000.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Neuerwerbungen seit 1988, Hirmer Verlag, München 2001.

  • Javier Arnaldo, Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke. Die Geburt des deutschen Expressionismus, Ausst.-Kat. Berlinische Galerie, Hirmer Verlag, München 2005.

  • Javier Arnaldo, Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke. El nacimiento del expresionismo alemán, Ausst.-Kat. Museo Thyssen-Bornesza Madrid/Fundación Caja Madrid, Madrid 2005.

  • Brücke und Berlin. 100 Jahre Expressionismus, Ausst.-Kat. Neue Nationalgalerie, Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz, Nicolai, Berlin 2005.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke-Museum Berlin, Malerei und Plastik. Kommentiertes Verzeichnis der Bestände, Hirmer Verlag, München 2006.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke Highlights, Hirmer Verlag, München 2007.

  • Staatssekretär für kulturelle Angelegenheiten des Landes Berlin, André Schmitz (Hg.), Im Zentrum des Expressionismus. Erwerbungen und Ausstellungen des Brücke-Museums Berlin 1988 - 2013. Ein Jubiläumsband für Magdalena M. Moeller, Hirmer Verlag, München 2013.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Meisterstücke. Die schönsten Neuerwerbungen des Brücke-Museums, Ausst.-Kat. Brücke-Museum, Hirmer Verlag, München 2013.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller und Rainer Stamm (Hg.), ... die Welt in diesen rauschenden Farben. Meisterwerke aus dem Brücke-Museum Berlin, Ausst.-Kat. Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Hirmer Verlag, München 2016.

  • Magdalena M. Moeller (Hg.), Brücke Museum Highlights, Hirmer Verlag, München 2017.

  • Meike Hoffmann, Lisa Marei Schmidt, Aya Soika für das Brücke-Museum (Hg.), Flucht in die Bilder? Die Künstler der Brücke im Nationalsozialismus, Ausst.-Kat. Brücke-Museum , Hirmer Verlag, München 2019.

  • Brücke-Museum, Lisa Marei Schmidt, Isabel Fischer (Hg.), 1910. Brücke. Kunst und Leben, ausstellungsbegleitende Zeitung, Brücke-Museum, Berlin 2022.


Signiert oben rechts: EL Kirchner (Signatur)
Rückseitig auf dem Bildträger: Artistin (Bezeichnung)
Rückseitig auf dem Bildträger: Artistin (Beschriftung)

Inventory Number

Catalog Number
Gordon 125

(Josephine Papke)

Seeing and Being Seen

She woke in a cold sweat. Once again, Amelie had dreamed of the little girl in the striped dress. The motif of her nightmare was one Amelie knew all too well. It was the same one found on a large print that hung on a wall of her parents’ house. The picture was framed in gold every bit as gleaming as Amelie’s own life seemed to the outside world: Growing up in Dahlem in a small villa surrounded by greenery, most of her parents’ friends described her as a bright, lively child.

But Amelie was not as happy as she seemed. She wore brightly colored clothes all the time and laughed a lot, but as soon as no one was looking, her weary eyes would brim with tears. Look closely and you might also see the deep, dark blue circles under her eyes, catch a glimpse of them between sometimes put-on, sometimes genuine smiles.

“Look at this drawing.” “She looks like you.” “She looks like you.”

“She looks like you.”

A short sentence, but Amelie would never forget it. She despised that sentence more than almost anything. And she knew why. Once, as a child, her father had dragged her along to a museum as he did every Saturday. It was there that they had happened on the work of the Artistin. Her father had immediately stopped in front of it, then examined the piece intently before remarking, “She looks like you.”

“She does not look like me!” she had yelled at her father in the dream. The real-life scenario had played out almost exactly like that. Only Amelie hadn’t yelled back then. And she hadn’t said that it bothered her that her father compared her to that girl. At the time she had only felt a terrible twinge in the pit of her stomach. She had been young back then, too young to pinpoint what exactly about his comment had bothered her so much. It wasn’t until years later that she realized the association held more than just the fact that her white father had always compared her to every girl on TV or on a museum canvas who didn’t have snow-white skin anyhow. Not that there were many of those. It had much more to do with the facial expression and posture of the girl in the yellow and black striped dress. She looked so incredibly sad. At the time, Amelie could not understand that it was probably precisely the posture and expression that reminded her father of her: The slumped shoulders that told of a deep insecurity. The girl’s red-rimmed eyes, indicating that she, like Amelie, probably cried herself to sleep every night. The gray cat next to and not quite close to her, who, like Amelie’s gray cat Mimi, could not make up for her sadness and yet was the only one attentive to her sobs. But back then, looking at the painting in the museum, Amelie was still suppressing all of that. For how could she have processed it, known that her sadness owed to a day-to-day environment she could not escape?

As a Black child in Germany, adopted by white parents who in no way considered what it meant to have a Black child in a deeply racist society, “Why are you sleeping again?” or “you have everything you need, you should be happy” were phrases she heard over and over. Both might have implied that her parents saw her deep sadness, that they acknowledged it. But that was not the case. They never mentioned how depleted Amelie felt every day, the constant crying and staring off into the distance, searching for another life that was only possible in her dreams. In those dreams, Spike Lee was her father. He would bring her breakfast in bed every morning and talk to her about the hard day before. They would speak of Amelie’s experiences of racism; Spike would lovingly stroke her back, reassure her. He understood Amelie’s suffering and didn’t ignore it. He didn’t make her feel guilty in ways he shouldn’t, didn’t tell her that the daily racist attacks had nothing to do with her and that she was just being too sensitive. She didn’t have to explain anything to him. He understood her, without words.

“Look at this drawing. She looks like you. She has the same bedroom eyes that you have,” her father had apostrophized at the museum. Amelie had said only, “I don’t like that picture. The stripe pattern reminds me of prison clothes.” Her father had laughed, “The things you see.” She averted her gaze from the work, never wanting to lay eyes on it again. Stupidly, her father bought a poster of it on the subsequent trip to the museum store. Amelie said nothing. But every time the two argued she would take it down, that picture her father had so prominently hung in the long, dark hallway of their house. Each time, she angrily put it down in the basement, prompting her father to declare, “Your misjudgment of the picture only goes to show how much you dislike yourself. You should just love yourself more.”

Twenty years later, Amelie woke again drenched in sweat. Once again, she had dreamed of the little girl in the striped dress. It was a motif she knew all too well. She got out of bed and googled the image she hadn’t seen since moving out of her parents’ house. For the first time, she saw a parallel between herself and the girl. She realized her own pain had nothing to do with the figure. Her hurt had to do with her father, who had associated her with the sad girl without ever recognizing her depression. Amelie wondered if the nightmare would haunt her for the rest of her life. She didn’t know. What she did know was that her father had been wrong. She didn’t despise the girl in the picture or herself. It was her father she despised, because although he was always looking at the girl in the picture, he never really saw her.

(Roy )
(Daniela Bystron )
About the Work
(Fafali Roy Ziga-Abortta )
Shores of Discrimination
(Josephine Papke )
Seeing and Being Seen
(A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez )
Why Won’t Society Let Black Girls Be Children?
(Simbi Schwarz )
Huh? What Does it Mean: Adultism
(Josephine ) Context
(Maria ) Corona situation
(Myriam ) Absent
(Myriam ) Ascribing
(Myriam ) TV
(Roy ) Feeling lonely
(Roy ) Perspective