Discover Germany | Issue 24 | March 2015

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Attraction of the Month Germany

non – Kirchner’s double-sided paintings as an independent artwork category. Explore 17 exemplary canvasses with pictures on both sides.“When we restored Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s painting Gelbes Engelufer, Berlin in 2010, the long-forgotten reverse side reappeared and showed the painting of a Moroccan.That’s how, for the first time, the idea emerged to acknowledge this unusual phenomenon in an exhibition,” Dr. Inge Herold, curator and associate museum director, explains.

Explore an extraordinary art phenomenon Established in 1909, the Kunsthalle Mannheim has fascinated modern and contemporary art fans since. This year, the museum honours Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, one of the most significant painters of the early 20th century, with the exhibition Der doppelte Kirchner. Die zwei Seiten der Leinwand. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF PHOTOS: ACHIM KUKULIES/ MARTIN FROMMHAGEN/ WILHELM-HACK-MUSEUM/ CEM YÜCETAS/ MARKUS SCHWETASCH

The cooperative project between the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the Kirchner Museum Davos and the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Archive in Wichtrach/Bern, emphasises Kirchner’s avant-garde approach to life and

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his liberated dealing with form and colour which revolutionised painting. Until the end of May, the exhibition will thematise one extraordinary art phenome-

A fascinating aspect of Kirchner’s work technique is that it seems like the reverse side characteristic is not a marginal feature of his work, but rather a working method which stretches through his entire body of work. The facts speak for the truth of this theory: The Kirchner catalogue raisonné lists 1,045 paintings from 1968 and 138 of these are painted on both sides. “The reverse sides were ignored for decades even though they offer important insights into the stylistic development of Kirchner’s specific dealings with his own works, whose perception the artist always influenced – through backdating, overpainting or art criticism. This is why the topic carries great weight,”Dr. Inge Herold says. One reason for Kirchner’s double-sided paintings is said to be linked to a famous letter from 1919: “Now I need to save something too, and the material has become very costly. But thankfully the canvas has two sides.” Many believe that it wasn’t easy for Kirchner to obtain painting material from 1917 onwards when he had moved to Davos. That’s why he is said to have chosen to