Straight Canal, Erich Heckel
Erich Heckel
Straight Canal
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Erich Heckel

Straight Canal, 1915

668 x 504 mm
368 x 268 mm
Physical Description
Woodcut on laid paper 1st state (of 3)
Inventory Number
Object Number
65885 D
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate
Not on display


About the Work

In 1915, Heckel was stationed in Ostende as a medical orderly. The perspective of the first woodcut he made there, “Straight Canal”, is so bold as to exert a strong pull on the viewer. The sky over the landscape fairly explodes with glaring light. This depiction presumably reflects the artist’s war experiences. At the same time, it manifests his concern with light and atmosphere, and with translating a perception of landscape into the woodcut medium.

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

Straight Canal
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Woodcut on laid paper 1st state (of 3)
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unterhalb der Darstellung rechts (mit Bleistift): Erich Heckel; bezeichnet und datiert unterhalb der Darstellung links: Ostende / 1915
Captions Added Later
Verso bezeichnet unten links (mit Kopierstift): DrHagemann Nr. 2; darüber (mit Bleistift): 102
Verso Stempel des Städelschen Kunstinstituts, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2356), mit zugehöriger Inventarnummer
  • oben und unten mittig: S L G
Work Catalogues
  • Dube H. 287 I (von III)

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Nachlass Erich Heckel, Hemmenhofen; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate

Work Content

Motifs and References



  • 25H landscapes
  • 25H2 landscapes with waters, waterscapes, seascapes (in the temperate zone)
  • 61D(FLANDERN) geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (FLANDERN) (FLANDERN)
  • 25H22 canal

Research and Discussion


Object History
Erich Heckel
verkauft über Siddi Heckel an Carl Hagemann (1867-1940), Leverkusen, 1916
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.

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

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