Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Street, Berlin. 1913

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Street, Berlin


Oil on canvas
47 1/2 x 35 7/8" (120.6 x 91.1 cm)
Object number
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner has 176 works online.
There are 2,309 paintings online.

Kirchner created this painting in a period of loneliness and insecurity shortly after the Brücke group disbanded in 1913. It shows two well-dressed prostitutes strolling the streets, surrounded by furtively glancing men. For Kirchner, the prostitute was a symbol of the modern city, where glamour and danger, and intimacy and alienation necessarily coexisted, and everything was for sale. The intense, clashing colors heighten the excitement and anxiety, and the tilted horizon destabilizes the scene.

Gallery label from German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, March 27–July 11, 2011

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist; Galerie Ludwig Schames, Frankfurt [1]; sold to the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1920 [2]; removed as "degenerate art" by the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 1937 [3]; on consignment to Karl Buchholz, Berlin, 1939; to Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York, 1939; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 13, 1939 [4].
[1] Annegret Janda and Jörn Grabowski, eds., Kunst in Deutschland 1905-1937: Die verlorene Sammlung der Nationalgalerie im ehemaligen Kronprinzen-Palais, exh. cat. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 1992, no. 202.
[2] Inventory no. A II 318 (Rosa Strasse mit Auto). On view at the Kronprinzen-Palais of the Nationalgalerie, Berlin until 1933 (ibid.). On loan from the Nationalgalerie, Berlin to the exhibition German Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 12-April 26, 1931 (no. 38).
[3] EK no. 16042: Strasse. Included in the exhibition "Degenerate Art," Hofgarten-Arkaden, Munich, July 19-November 30, 1937 and other venues (Berlin, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Salzburg).
[4] Included in the exhibition Art in Our Time, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 10- September 30, 1939 (no. 126).

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