It was in 1908 that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner first traveled from Dresden to Fehmarn Island on a summer holiday. In 1912, he returned to Fehmarn in late July, this time from Berlin, accompanied by Erna Schilling, his close companion since the Berlin period. They stayed in Staberhuk on the most southeastern tip of the island, with a lighthouse keeper named Lüthmann, who resided at the lighthouse with his wife and eight children. Kirchner spoke of producing paintings “of absolute maturity”—depicting bathing scenes, coastal landscapes, and the surrounding areas—such as Leuchtturm auf Fehmarn (Lighthouse on Fehmarn). Here, Kirchner portrayed the lighthouse, built in 1903 with an extension of 1912, from an elevated perspective. The bordering water of the Baltic Sea with its small sailboats almost melts into the middle and background of the island landscape painted in ocher and green. The arched line of the horizon transfers the perspective from the depths into the surface of the pictorial carrier. A woman clad in dark clothing, perhaps Erna, is walking along a path toward the beholder, grasping the hand of a child. In contrast to the Berlin scenes from this period, Kirchner takes a serene stance in painting his holiday home, which he was soon to leave behind that August in favor of city life.


  • Title: Lighthouse on Fehmarn
  • Creator: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Date: 1912
  • Provenance: Bequest of RWE, Essn, in 1959
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © Museum Folkwang
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Höhe: 90 cm
  • Collection: Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Breite: 120 cm

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