Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is the most active of the group. Residing in Berlin since 1911 he cannot adapt to the conditions of life in the big city. With his friends and their female companions, they spend much of summer in tents or huts and practice an integral nudity in daily occupations, recreational bathing, play and art, in accordance with the Freikörperkultur theories.
On March 1 in London, Sotheby's sells Vier Akte unter Bäumen, oil on canvas 120 x 90 cm painted in 1913, lot 14 estimated £ 3.5M.
The scene stages four nudes in the woods, three of them in full frontal position not hiding the sex. The man is a self-portrait. The three women around him display a varied maturity that unquestionably evokes the Judgment of Paris. In the freedom of the life that he desires, Ernst Ludwig will invite whoever woman he prefers. The youngest is nicely approaching from behind.
This painting is executed with thick lines and a wild color of the naked skins attesting to the influence of Matisse whose artistic advances were much appreciated by these young people. The simplified style of bodies and heads also evokes the stylization of tribal art six years after the breakthrough of Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon.
SOLD for £ 5.5M including premium