- Gallery Text
In this, one of his many self-portraits, Kirchner, with his beloved cat Boby, eyes the viewer warily. An avid commentator on his own work after World War I — in diaries, correspondence, and even publicly under a pseudonym — Kirchner contributed to the legend of his wartime experience as a soldier. He had suffered a breakdown during the war, and is now known to have partially feigned illness to avoid returning to the front. To recuperate, he eventually left Germany permanently for rural Frauenkirch, near Davos, Switzerland, in 1917. Despite his self-imposed isolation in the mountains, Kirchner kept abreast of developments in Germany, debating details of the history of Brücke and consistently emphasizing his own artistic leadership and autonomy. Thickly painted on a red-and-white checkered cloth — a rare example of a work by Kirchner on an unconventional support — Self-Portrait with Cat retains the more vigorous paint application of the artist’s prewar years, a style he soon abandoned for large, flat planes of color.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German (Aschaffenburg am Main, Germany 1880 - 1938 Davos, Switzerland)
- Self-Portrait with Cat
- Other Titles
- Original Language Title: Selbstporträt mit Katze
- Work Type
- Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1500, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on commercially woven cotton fabric
- 120.6 x 80 cm (47 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.)
framed: 140.5 x 101 x 9 cm (55 5/16 x 39 3/4 x 3 9/16 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: in oil at l.l.: E L Kirchner
- Folkwang Museum, Essen, by 1929, removed from the collection by the National Socialist (Nazi) authorities, 1937 (EK 3689), sold; [Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin], sold; to Kurt Feldhäusser, Berlin,by inheritance; Marie Feldhäusser, Brooklyn (1945-c. 1949) sold; [E. Weyhe Gallery, New York], sold; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, February 1950.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Museum purchase
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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- Publication History
Perry T. Rathbone, European Masters of Our Time, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1957), p. 19, fig. 78, ill. (b/w)
Edward B. Henning, Fifty Years of Modern Art 1916-1966, exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH, 1966), unpaginated, cat. 11, ill. (b/w)
Charles Werner Haxthausen, "The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard: the Germanic Tradition", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 403-413, p. 410
Expressionism: A German Intuition 1905-1920, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (New York, 1980), p. 140, cat. 143, ill. (b/w)
Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), pp. 11, 31, repr. p. 31
Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 375, p. 314, repr.
Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 62, ill.
Harvard University Art Museums, Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997
Klee, Winter, Kirchner 1927-1934, exh. cat., Cantz'sche Druckerei (Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany, 2001), p. 93, fig. no. 6
Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, ed., Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Mountain Life: The Early Years in Davos 1917-1926, exh. cat., Hatje Cantz Verlag (Ostfildern-Ruit, 2003), cat. no. 26, color ill.
Jill Lloyd, ed., Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1880-1938, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, 2003), cat. no. 179
Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 170
"Das schoenste Museum der Welt" Museum Folkwang bis 1933, exh. cat., Steidl and Edition Folkwang (Essen, 2010), pp. 214-216
Ich bin den friedlichen Burgern zu modern: Aus Eberhard Grisebachs Briefwechsel mit seinen Malerfreunden, Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess (Zurich, 2010), p. 204, p. 240, fig. 29, ill.
- Exhibition History
European Masters of Our Time, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 10/10/1957 - 11/17/1957
Fifty Years of Modern Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 06/06/1966 - 07/31/1966
Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
Expressionism: A German Intuition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 11/14/1980 - 01/18/1981; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 02/19/1981 - 04/26/1981
Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 03/02/2003 - 06/01/2003
32Q: 1500 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Expressionism-Interwar), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
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