Ball Players, Erich Heckel
Erich Heckel
Ball Players
Back to top

Erich Heckel

Ball Players, 1911

295 x 342 mm
193 x 273 mm
Physical Description
Woodcut in black on handmade laid paper
Inventory Number
Object Number
67998 D
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

Between 1909 and 1911, Heckel and the other Brücke artists went on summer outings to the Moritzburg Ponds near Dresden. Inspired by the nudism widely propagated at the time by the life reform movement, the artists experienced their own nakedness in nature as liberating. The nudes Heckel depicted in 'Ball Players' with sparse, angular contours moreover mirror his strong interest in natural, undistorted movement.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

Work Data

Basic Information

Ball Players
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Woodcut in black on handmade laid paper
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unterhalb der Darstellung rechts (mit Bleistift): Erich Heckel 11
Bezeichnet unten links (von fremder Hand, Siddi Heckel?, mit Kopierstift): Handdruck.
Captions Added Later
Nummeriert unten rechts (mit Bleistift): 10
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • Dube H 214

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Nachlass Erich Heckel, Hemmenhofen; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References


  • 25G11 groups of trees
  • 25H114 low hill country
  • 25H2 landscapes with waters, waterscapes, seascapes (in the temperate zone)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Karl Ströher (1890-1977), Darmstadt
Nachlass Karl Ströher, 1977
an seine Enkelin Ulrike Crespo (1950-2019), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2019.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update