Staging Nature and Life

Late Works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Jens Ferdinand Willumsen

10 October 2020 – 31 January 2021

Jens Ferdinand Willumsen_2

Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, 1917

Pressebillede fra udstillingen Iscenesat natur og liv

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1919

During World War I German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) and Danish artist J. F. Willumsen (1863–1958) elected almost simultaneously to pursue their own individualistic projects and disassociate themselves from contemporary art movements. From 1917 the mountains of Switzerland became a refuge for Kirchner after a mental breakdown, whereas Willumsen settled in the South of France in 1916. Neither of them returned to their respective home countries, choosing instead to devote the rest of their lives to the pursuit of a personal, artistic vision in self-imposed exile.

Pressebillede fra udstillingen Iscenesat natur og livErnst Ludwig Kirchner og Willumsen Bjerge

J.F. Willumsen
Bjergtinde, Schweiz, 1926
Olie på lærred, 53,5 × 73,5 cm
Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, København

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Udsnit af Die Brücke bei Wiesen
(Broen ved Wiesen), 1926
Olie på lærred, 120 × 120 cm
Kirchner Museum Davos

The juxtaposition of Kirchner and Willumsen provides a visually persuasive and entirely new perspective on an intense, colorful and individualistic concept of figurative painting from the 1910s–1930s, highlighting the similarities and connections between the two artists in terms of style, their view of art, and their identity as artists.Their late works were created in the wake of the sway of Expressionism, at a juncture when new avant-garde movements dominated the art scene. The artistic quest of Kirchner and Willumsen during this period followed a remarkably similar path. Their paintings of people and mountains reflect the influence of the spread of the contemporary Vitalist movement in Europe, as well as the widespread influence of Friedrich Nietzsche. Both artists staged nature and people in nature in their paintings, but they also staged themselves as artists in an attempt to control the reception of their oeuvre and legacy through shameless self-mythologizing.

Pressebillede fra udstillingen Iscenesat natur og livPressebillede fra udstillingen Iscenesat natur og liv

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Akt in Orange und Gelb
(Nøgenmodel i orange og gul),
Olie på lærred, 91 × 71 cm
Kirchner Museum Davos

J.F. Willumsen
Lola danser, 1921
Olie på lærred, 155 × 135 cm
Willumsens Museum,

The exhibition Staging Nature and Life. The Late Works of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and J. F. Willumsen is the first time an exhibition and accompanying catalogue relate Willumsen’s oeuvre to contemporary developments on the German art scene—more specifically to one of the most significant representatives of German Expressionism, the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938). The exhibition is also the first major presentation of Kirchner at a Danish museum.

The Late Works of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Jens Ferdinand Willumsen. Staging Nature and Life

Edited by Anne Gregersen, contributions by Anders Ehlers Dam, Uwe Fleckner, Anne Gregersen, Jill Lloyd, Lisbeth Lund, Carsten Thau, published  by Hatje Cantz>>

Publishing date: Oct. 9, 2020

Price: 44 € / 350 DKK

Graphic design: Carl-H.K. Zakrisson, Polytype

English, German and Danish editions

208 pp, ca. 130 ills


24.00 x 27.0 cm

English: ISBN 978-3-7757-4673-1

Udstilling og bogudgivelse er støttet af:
15. Juni Fonden, Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond, Augustinus Fonden, Beckett-Fonden,
Goethe-Institut Dänemark, Knud Højgaards Fond og Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond

”Iscenesat natur og liv. Ernst Ludvig Kirchner og J.F. Willumsen – de sene værker” er en del af det dansk-tyske venskabsår 2020. 

15. juni fonden logo
Louis-Hansens Fond logo
Knud Højgaards Fond Logo

Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond

Goethe Instituttet logo