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THE COLLECTION

A. R. Meyer, Berlin-Wilmersdorf

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From the illustrated book

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  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Title page from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod. (1912, published 1913)
    Title page from the illustrated...
    (1912, published 1913)
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Title page from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod. (1912, published 1913)
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Canoness at the Sewing Table (Stiftsfräulein am Nähtisch) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
    Canoness at the Sewing Table...
    (1912, published 1913)
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Canoness at the Sewing Table (Stiftsfräulein am Nähtisch) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The Canoness in the Lake (Das Stiftsfräulein im See) from the illustrated book  Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
    The Canoness in the Lake (Das...
    (1912, published 1913)
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The Canoness in the Lake (Das Stiftsfräulein im See) from the illustrated book  Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Canoness in the Garden (Das Stiftsfräulein im Garten) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
    Canoness in the Garden (Das...
    (1912, published 1913)
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Canoness in the Garden (Das Stiftsfräulein im Garten) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Dying Old Maid (Sterbendes altes Fräulein) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)
    Dying Old Maid (Sterbendes altes...
    (1912, published 1913)
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Dying Old Maid (Sterbendes altes Fräulein) from the illustrated book Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death). (1912, published 1913)

About this illustrated book

Iris Schmeisser, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Alfred Döblin's novella Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The canoness and death) was the first book that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner illustrated. The novella had originally appeared in a 1913 collection of Döblin's tales titled Die Ermordung einer Butterblume und andere Erzählungen (The murder of a buttercup and other stories). Later that year, Alfred R. Meyer in Berlin published Kirchner's illustrated version as part of his Lyrische Flugblätter (Lyrical leaflets) series, which featured short stories and poems by young writers.

Döblin's novella relates the fears and desires of a dying "old maid" in a monastery's retirement home. Kirchner's woodcuts illustrate key scenes from the story. The dramatic lines and angular forms of the images enhance the expressive force of Döblin's narrative.

Kirchner had met Döblin in Berlin in 1912 through Herwarth Walden, the publisher of the avantgarde periodical Der Sturm (The tempest). Döblin was a psychiatrist by profession but would go on to become one of the most successful writers of the Weimar Republic, best known for his 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938)

The Illustrated Book

Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death)

Author:
Alfred Döblin
Date:
(1912, published 1913)
Medium:
Five woodcuts
Dimensions:
composition: see child records; sheet (each approx.): 9 3/16 x 7 1/8 inches (23.4 x 18.1 cm)
Paper:
Beige, smooth, wove.
Publisher:
A. R. Meyer, Berlin-Wilmersdorf
Printer:
Paul Knorr, Berlin-Wilmersdorf
Edition:
500
Credit Line:
Gift of J. B. Neumann
Reference:
Sch. (H)184-188. Dube (H)199-203. Rifkind 1453/1-5.
MoMA Number:
480.1941.1-5
Themes:
Death, Literary Subjects, Religion
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