Self-Portrait with Dancing Death, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Self-Portrait with Dancing Death
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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Self-Portrait with Dancing Death, 1917 – 1918

578 x 410 mm
503 x 340 mm
Physical Description
Woodcut on blotting paper 2nd state (of 2)
Inventory Number
Object Number
65615 D
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate
Not on display


About the Work

As in a metamorphosis, the figure of a dancing Death seems to rise up out of the portrait of the artist with a hunchback. During the phase when Kirchner suffered from paralysis of the hands, he was unable to break areas of any appreciable size out of wooden blocks. The resistance offered by the material, however, enabled him to cut lines into the surface with a V-parting tool as steadily as with a drawing utensil. This print is accordingly defined for the most part by white (non-printing) lines.

About the Acquisition

From 1900 onwards, the Frankfurt chemist and industrialist Carl Hagemann (1867‒1940) assembled one of the most important private collections of modern art. It included numerous paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints, especially by members of the artist group “Die Brücke”. After Carl Hagemann died in an accident during the Second World War, the then Städel director Ernst Holzinger arranged for Hagemann’s heirs to evacuate his collection with the museum’s collection. In gratitude, the family donated almost all of the works on paper to the Städel Museum in 1948. Further donations and permanent loans as well as purchases of paintings and watercolours from the Hagemann estate helped to compensate for the losses the museum had suffered in 1937 as part of the Nazi’s “Degenerate Art” campaign. Today, the Hagemann Collection forms the core of the Städel museum’s Expressionist collection.

Work Data

Basic Information

Self-Portrait with Dancing Death
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Woodcut on blotting paper 2nd state (of 2)
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unterhalb der Darstellung rechts (mit Bleistift): E L Kirchner; bezeichnet unterhalb der Darstellung links: Eigendruck
Captions Added Later
Bezeichnet unten links (mit Bleistift): Kopf mit tanzendem Tod
Verso bezeichnet links unten: 460.
Verso Stempel des Städelschen Kunstinstituts, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2356), mit zugehöriger Inventarnummer
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • Schiefler H. 308
  • Dube H. 333 II (von III)
  • Gercken 886 II (von II)

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate

Work Content

Motifs and References


  • 25G1 plants (in general)
  • 49D32 line (~ planimetry, geometry)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Davos
verkauft über die Galerie Schames, Frankfurt am Main an Carl Hagemann (1867-1940), Frankfurt am Main, 1928
Nachlass Carl Hagemann, Frankfurt am Main,1940
Schenkung der Erben an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1948.


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.

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  • the date on which it changed hands

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