These fashionable and elaborately made-up ladies exude a metropolitan flair. Kirchner met the sisters Erna and Gerda Schilling in Berlin in 1912. The affectation and chic clothes of the women can also be seen in the cocottes of Kirchner’s street scenes. It is likely that the sisters likewise prostituted themselves occasionally. The overt display of handwashing can be read as a cleansing after a sexual act. That this affected gesture looks as though “they are washing their hands of the matter” lends the scene a certain spiciness.
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 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.
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