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Boats on the Elbe near Dresden

Artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938)
Title Boats on the Elbe near Dresden (Boote auf der Elbe bei Dresden)
Date 1910 (reworked 1920)
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions Overall: 24 3/8 x 34 3/4 in. (61.9 x 88.3 cm)
Framed: 31 1/2 x 42 x 1 3/4 in. (80 x 106.7 x 4.4 cm)
Credit Line Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 75.34

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About this Work

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was the leading member of the Expressionist group Brücke (Bridge), which was active in Dresden from 1905 to 1911, and then in Berlin until 1913. The Expressionists developed a style characterized by spontaneous brushwork, vivid colors, and direct observation of their surroundings. Work by Brücke artists often addressed a perceived dichotomy between (stressful) urban and (peaceful) rural life in the early twentieth century. By contrast, this composition depicts the River Elbe—in a threatening acid green—as mightier than the diminutive Dresden cityscape beyond. Kirchner extensively reworked this painting after World War I, adding the figure of the boatman and making several changes to the background.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Boats on the Elbe near Dresden | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.