Head of Erna, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Head of Erna
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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Head of Erna, 1912

468 x 404 mm
278 x 200 mm
Physical Description
Woodcut in black, hand-coloured with brush in green, pink, and white, on laid paper
Inventory Number
Object Number
68006 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

By way of printmaking, Kirchner found new forms. His pictorial language in the woodcut medium ranged from emphatic simplification to the highest degree of differentiation. Clearly outlined zones as well as precise lines and short parallel hatching form the head of Erna Schilling (1884–1945). The artist executed the woodcut in 1912, the year he met his model, who would be become his lifelong partner. This brush-coloured copy from the Crespo bequest is the only known copy.

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

Head of Erna
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Woodcut in black, hand-coloured with brush in green, pink, and white, on laid paper
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unterhalb der Darstellung rechts (mit Bleistift): E L Kirchner; bezeichnet unterhalb der Darstellung links: Handdruck
Captions Added Later
Nummeriert unten rechts (mit Bleistift): 201
Verso nummeriert unten links (mit Bleistift): 4983; und: K 5360
Verso oben mittig gestempelt: Unverkäuflich / E. L. Kirchner
Verso unten links Basler Nachlassstempel (Lugt 1570b), mit handschriftlichem Vermerk der Werkverzeichnisnummer von Schiefler (in Schwarz): H 201.
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • Gercken 565
  • Dube H 213
  • Schiefler H 201

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References

Persons Shown


  • 61BB2(SCHILLING, Erna)11(+512) historical person (SCHILLING, Erna) - BB - woman - historical person (SCHILLING, Erna) portrayed alone (+ three-quarter view portrait)
  • 31D15 adult woman

Research and Discussion


Object History
Nachlass Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos
Verst. Kunstkabinett R. N. Ketterer, Stuttgart (20. Auktion) an Karl Ströher (1890-1977), Darmstadt, 25. November 1954 (Los 1245)
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.

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