MoMA
Max Pechstein. Cabaret Singer (Chansonette). 1909
Max Pechstein

Cabaret Singer (Chansonette)

1909
Not on view
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
composition: 10 13/16 x 8 9/16" (27.5 x 21.8 cm); sheet (irreg.): 15 1/16 x 11 9/16" (38.2 x 29.3 cm)
Publisher
unpublished
Printer
the artist, Berlin
Edition
unknown (approx. 5-10), in at least two color variations
Credit
Given anonymously
Object number
621.1954
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Max Pechstein, who joined the German Expressionist group Brücke (Bridge) in Dresden in 1906, was the only member with academic training as a painter (the founders were all architecture students). He was a dedicated printmaker, completing more than nine hundred prints between 1905 and 1950. Although he moved to Berlin in 1908, three years ahead of the rest of the Brücke group, he remained close, both personally and stylistically, to fellow members Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Erich Heckel.

Dancers is an exuberant example of the Brücke artists' aspirations for art to be a force for social and cultural renewal. Their anti-bourgeois taste for subjects taken from the fringes of society led them to base many images on the cabaret, with dance especially valued as an immediate and uninhibited form of expression. Stylistically the print is similarly radical, with Pechstein's scribbled outlines and fuzzy, speckled inking causing the overall composition to verge on the abstract. His unusual choice of an acidic yellow paper helps to suggest the lurid atmosphere of a nightclub.

In 1912 Pechstein was expelled from Brücke for exhibiting his work at the Berlin Secession without the other members' consent. Two years later, he traveled to the South Seas, inspired by Oceanic sculpture in the ethnographic museum in Berlin. He later served in the infantry in World War I.

Dancer Reflected in a Mirror was created during the postwar years, a time of confusion and instability in German society. In contrast to the exultant airborne dancer in Pechstein's earlier image, the performer here seems bored and oppressed by her role. The male observers appear similarly disengaged, staring in various directions with unfocused eyes. The mood of indifference in this print contrasts with its bold compositional structure and strong colors, qualities that typified the Expressionist idiom.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 58
Provenance information
Peter Deitsch, New York; given anonymously to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1954

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, N.Y. 10019

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource