Dancer is one of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s earliest sculptures made during his activity with the German Expressionist group Die Brücke. Kirchner made this lively wooden sculpture of a dancing woman from a tree trunk, which he first hacked with an axe. He then refined the piece with a knife, although the overall surface is left rough. Because of his choice of material and his working method the shape of the tree trunk greatly determined the form of the sculpture. Kirchner painted the piece, which adds to the expressive appearance. All together, the colour, shape and gesture greatly resemble the violent brushstrokes and lines in Kirchner’s paintings. The artist’s wooden sculptures and hand carved furniture decorated his studio. Kirchner looked to African art while working on this primitivist piece. Dancer is closely related to a Bangwa Queen sculpture that was acquired by the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin shortly before the turn of the century.


Translated title

Dancing Woman



Production date



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87 x 35.5 x 27.5cm.


painted alder-wood

Object number

BA 305