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Reclining Women (Liegender Akt) [Courtesans]

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was one of the founding members of the German Expressionist group of artists known as Die Brücke (The Bridge) in Dresden. He moved to Berlin in 1911, where he encountered other avant-garde styles, such as Cubism and Futurism. However, one his most important influences was the African art that he saw in the city’s museums, particularly the masks and sculptures of the Gabon and Cameroon cultures of West Africa. Although he clearly appreciated the energetic forms and patterns found in African art, Schmidt-Rottluff didn’t necessarily understand or appropriate the works’ cultural meaning. In this print he combines a classic Western motif (a reclining nude or exotic odalisque with her attendant) with a “primitive” stylization of the faces and aggressive hatch lines.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
German, 1884–1976
Reclining Women (Liegender Akt) [Courtesans]
1914
Woodcut on paper
Image: 15 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (39.3 x 49.5 cm); sheet: 17 3/8 x 22 3/8 in. (44.1 x 56.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 72.25.2

Large image not available.