Western Harbour in Frankfurt am Main, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Western Harbour in Frankfurt am Main
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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Western Harbour in Frankfurt am Main, 1916

84.0 x 95.0 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 1122
Acquired in 1950 from Maria Helsig; formerly Carl Hagemann Collection
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 12


About the Work

Labour at the docks was a dirty business – smoke and soot everywhere. In ‘Western Harbour in Frankfurt’, little is to be seen of toil and bustle. On the contrary, the ships moor peacefully at the pier. Two stevedores have turned their backs on the compound and are strolling in the viewer’s direction. They are far too large for their surroundings. Kirchner has depicted the harbour itself with dynamically receding lines in delicate shades of pink. The yellowish green hue of the water and sky adds an unreal atmosphere to the scene.

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.


  • Gastkommentar: Ursachen des Klimawandels mit Klimaforscher Dirk Notz
    Was sieht ein Klimaforscher in den Kunstwerken der Städel Sammlung? In dieser Reihe eröffnet Dirk Notz (Forschungsgruppenleiter am Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg) individuelle Sichtweisen auf die Werke des Städel Museums. Er erinnert mit der Betrachtung von Lucas van Valckenborchs "Winterlandschaften" an Klimaschwankungen in der Vergangenheit und führt am Beispiel von Ernst Ludwig Kirchners "Frankfurter Westhafen" den menschlichen Einfluss am Klimawandel vor Augen. Mehr Infos unter: https://www.staedelmuseum.de/de/angebote/gastkommentar Die Werke in unserer Digitalen Sammlung Lucas van Valckenborch, Winterlandschaft bei Antwerpen mit Schneefall (1575): https://sammlung.staedelmuseum.de/de/werk/winterlandschaft-bei-antwerpen-mit-schneefall Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Frankfurter Westhafen (1916): https://sammlung.staedelmuseum.de/de/werk/frankfurter-westhafen

Work Data

Basic Information

Western Harbour in Frankfurt am Main
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert verso: E L Kirchner
Work Catalogues
  • Gordon 1968, Nr. 472

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1950 from Maria Helsig; formerly Carl Hagemann Collection

Work Content



Research and Discussion


Object History
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Carl Hagemann (1906-1940), Essen/Frankfurt, 1916
Nachlass Carl Hagemann, 1940
Depositum im Städel Museum, Frankfurt, 1941
verkauft an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, 1950.


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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Conservation and Restoration

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