Two Women by a Sink; The Sisters, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Two Women by a Sink; The Sisters
Back to top

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Two Women by a Sink; The Sisters, 1913

121 x 90.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1959, property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.; formerly Carl Hagemann Collection
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 11


About the Work

From 1912 onwards, the sisters Erna and Gerda Schilling appear in many of Kirchner’s Berlin period paintings (1911–1917). Both worked as dancers in nightclubs and as models for various artists. Close together and yet isolated from each other, Kirchner placed Gerda diagonally behind Erna dipping her hands into a sink. The pointy shapes, garish colours and the play on the complementary contrast of pink and green are typical of Kirchner’s Berlin period paintings. It all reflects his experiences in the big city, especially the fast pace of life and the isolation of the individual. As Kirchner’s significant other, Erna (1884–1945) supported him in his artistic work, made embroideries according to his designs and later also took care of his business as well as the administration of his estate.

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

Work Content

Research and Discussion

Similar works

  • All

More to discover



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

Last update