Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Katzenmutter und Junges / Fauchende Katze / Katze am Ofen, ca. 1930
Charcoal on paper / Charcoal on paper / Charcoal on paper
38.5 x 48.9 cm / 37.8 x 49.3 / 20.8 x 28.6 cm
Kirchner didn't differentiate between sketch, illustration and self-sufficient drawing. Most of the time he only signed the pages when they were used for an exibition, publication or were for sale. Even though a lot of his drawings were used to explore ideas for his paintings he never saw them only as sketches or something that is reduced to the function of serving as a study.
Kirchner was constantly drawing, always exploring and processing his environment. He drew inspiration not only from his grand designs but also from small personal drawing notes.
In 1918 when Kirchner decided to move into a house in Davos he acquired a feline roommate named Boby which is the subject of countless drawings and etchings. Later after Bobys death in 1930 he was followed by Schäky who then became his main cat model. His cats were an important part of his life and continuously stimulated his artistic investigations. These cat drawings are never staged or situated in a domestic environment. With seemingly effortless precision Kirchner captured intimate moments that evoke the impression of a harmonic and familiar atmosphere.
He studied and observed their fur, facial expressions, charisma and movement repeatedly. His search condensed into an artistic expression and an extended body of work of cat drawings.
"My art is an art of movement" (=„Meine Malerei ist eine Malerei der Bewegung“) Kirchner once said about his work. His studies of cats are no exception to that: the capture of tension, ease, movement and calmness seemed to have been a challenge and motivation for Kirchner in his studies of cats.
(Vgl. Gabriele Lohberg, 1997)