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In the 1920s, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted increasing numbers of nudes. In the summers of 1924 and 1925, when the artist’s pupils were up in the mountains with their wives and girlfriends, their nude bathing parties in the mountain streams around Davos (Switzerland) gave rise to uninhibited scenes like those Kirchner had painted beside the Moritzburg lakes and on the Baltic Sea beaches of Fehmarn.

This large painting entitled Bathers is a good example of such a scene above Davos. Three bathers dominate the composition. They are more prominent than the rocks in the mountain cleft from which the stream flows, the various shades of green in the vegetation, and certainly more than the pine trees, above whose tops the mountains glow in the rosy afternoon sun. Painted in the same ochre as Kirchner’s sculptures rather than in natural flesh tones, the nudes are purely and simply an excuse for the ‘figuration’ Kirchner wanted to achieve.

Source: J. Bijlsma (ed.), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Rotterdam 1998

Details

  • Title: Bathers
  • Creator: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Date Created: 1923/1927
  • Location Created: Frauenkirch, Switzerland
  • original title: Badende
  • framing: Wood slat frame
  • Place Part Of: Switzerland
  • Physical Dimensions: w1530 x h1520 cm (framed)
  • Type: paintings
  • Rights: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, purchased 1953
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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