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Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Riehen, CH

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Our family is proud to be administrators of the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Estate since the mid-1950ies. Therefore we have the honour and the privilege to contribute to most international museum shows to the theme of “Brücke”, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Expressionism in one way or the other. But we also act intensely and with the same dedication with a strong selection of abstract and contemporary artists.

The Gallery and Art Advisory Henze & Ketterer always shows a good selection of strong works by the artists it represents on Artnet, Artsy, Printed Editions, the IFPDA’s site and on its website (, but we are also active on Instagram.

Furthermore we participate physically in important international art fairs like Tefaf Maastricht, Masterpiece London, Art Cologne and others. In the gallery we show regularly monographic or thematic shows by important modern, post-war or contemporary artists.

The Gallery and Art Advisory Henze & Ketterer is most happy to support and advise passionate young collectors and naturally also already experienced collectors in all questions that might arise in building and curating a collection of modern and/or contemporary art. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have, we will do our best to find the answer you are looking for as we are long-standing and passionate collectors ourselves.


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tanzszene IV, 1910.


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tanzender Dunkelhäutiger, 1910.

"My painting is a painting of movement."
This is how Ernst Ludwig Kirchner writes about his work in one of his many sketchbooks. And if one looks at the statements on his life and work, it can be assumed that his early childhood years at the Aschaffenburg railway station, near which his parental home was located, and the associated observations of the moving trains that the artist captured as a child can certainly be seen as an important impulse for his later work: For movement is considered a popular, if not central motif in Kirchner's entire oeuvre.

In 1935, the artist declares: "It is, after all, the painter's task to create his works from this world, which is building up before his eyes and is in constant movement, so that it exists independently as a new and different thing alongside the visible world".
In the movements, captured in his paintings, drawings and thousands of sketches in his sketchbooks, he notes the first impression of what he sees and experiences; here he perceives the "ecstasy of seeing".

Movement found its way into Kirchner's depictions of dance, and during his Swiss years increasingly into depictions in the world of sport, but also in the realm of interiors, cafés and the circus. His drive for the portrayal of movement even went so far that he "[stood up] in the middle of coitus to note down a movement, an expression".

The depiction of movement had previously been a dogma of the artists' group "Brücke" [Bridge], of which Kirchner was a co-founder. They no longer wanted to pursue the academic study of the nude and work from motionless posing models, but demanded "freedom of life" in order to "unmediatedly and unadulteratedly represent what urges one to create".

The artist's personal life situation always seems to have an impact on his work: His depictions of movement in Germany were always imbued with pulsating, vibrant life, but from 1922/23 at the latest, after his move to the Swiss mountains, they seem increasingly static and calm. This is also due to the change in the application of paint, a rather calmer colour duct and the expansion of coloured areas, which stabilise, solidify the overall impression of the picture. Here he is still seeking the moving motif, but in a new, abstracting style that is characterised by overlapping lines and the simultaneous depiction of sequences of movements.

Movement is depicted in the late work through the optical expansion of the almost monochrome appearing colour surfaces and the organic oscillations of the contour lines; those colour zones that are placed around, over and between the bodies. These contour-like zones of colour, which mostly surround the figures, lend rhythm and movement to the pictures without depicting movement mimetically or even pretending it.
Kirchner described the simultaneous depiction of movement sequences in 1930 as follows: "A body in movement shows me many individual views; these merge together in me to form an overall shape".

Kirchner therefore initially experiences movement in a multitude of individual images. They slide over and into each other until they gain shape as assembled time.

"It is considered an image what can be surveyed from one point with one gaze. That's a big limitation. I do it like this. I move and gather the successive images inside me into an inner image. This I paint."

However, this "collecting" of impressions could not only take place in real life; Kirchner certainly also made recourse to the fund of movement studies in his sketchbooks, drawings and prints in order to arrive at a "new" picture by freely combining individual elements, sometimes from different periods.

Exhibiting Artists

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

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