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German Expressionism

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  • Ernst Barlach. Woman Standing Halfway Up the Cellar Steps (Stehende Frau auf halber Kellertreppe) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Woman Standing Halfway Up the Cellar...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Woman Standing Halfway Up the Cellar Steps (Stehende Frau auf halber Kellertreppe) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Dreaming Youth (Träumender Jüngling) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Dreaming Youth (Träumender...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Dreaming Youth (Träumender Jüngling) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Couple Conversing (Das Paar im Gespräch) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Couple Conversing (Das Paar im...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Couple Conversing (Das Paar im Gespräch) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Cradle (Die Wiege) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Cradle (Die Wiege) from The...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Cradle (Die Wiege) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Doll (Die Puppe) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Doll (Die Puppe) from The Dead...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Doll (Die Puppe) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Higher Instruction (Hohe Unterweisung) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Higher Instruction (Hohe Unterweisung)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Higher Instruction (Hohe Unterweisung) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Der Verletzte (The Wounded One) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Der Verletzte (The Wounded One)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Der Verletzte (The Wounded One) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Gobblin (Der Alb) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Gobblin (Der Alb) from The...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Gobblin (Der Alb) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Desperate Gobblin (Verzweifelter Alb) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Desperate Gobblin (Verzweifelter Alb)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Desperate Gobblin (Verzweifelter Alb) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Mother Kneeling at Bedside of Sleeping Son (Kniende Mutter am Bett des schlafenden Sohnes) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Mother Kneeling at Bedside of Sleeping...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Mother Kneeling at Bedside of Sleeping Son (Kniende Mutter am Bett des schlafenden Sohnes) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Contemplating Murder (Auf Mord bedacht) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Contemplating Murder (Auf Mord bedacht)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Contemplating Murder (Auf Mord bedacht) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Murderess (Die Mörderin) The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Murderess (Die Mörderin) The...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Murderess (Die Mörderin) The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Broomleg Astride the Dead Steed Hearthorn (Besenbein auf dem toten Rosse Herzhorn) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Broomleg Astride the Dead Steed Hearthorn...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Broomleg Astride the Dead Steed Hearthorn (Besenbein auf dem toten Rosse Herzhorn) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Bloodstain 1 (Der Blutflecken 1) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Bloodstain 1 (Der Blutflecken 1)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Bloodstain 1 (Der Blutflecken 1) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Bloodstain 2 (Der Blutflecken 2) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Bloodstain 2 (Der Blutflecken 2)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Bloodstain 2 (Der Blutflecken 2) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Woman at Hearth (Die Frau am Herd) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Woman at Hearth (Die Frau am Herd)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Woman at Hearth (Die Frau am Herd) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Burdened with Undeserved Guilt (Mit fremder Schuld beladen) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Burdened with Undeserved Guilt (Mit...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Burdened with Undeserved Guilt (Mit fremder Schuld beladen) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Guilty Woman (Die Schuldbewußte) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Guilty Woman (Die...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Guilty Woman (Die Schuldbewußte) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Invisible 1 (Das Unsichtbare 1) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Invisible 1 (Das Unsichtbare 1)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Invisible 1 (Das Unsichtbare 1) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Invisible 2 (Das Unsichtbare 2) from The Dead Day (Der Tote Tag). 1910-11, published 1912
    The Invisible 2 (Das Unsichtbare...
    1910-11, published 1912
    Ernst Barlach. The Invisible 2 (Das Unsichtbare 2) from The Dead Day (Der Tote Tag). 1910-11, published 1912
  • Ernst Barlach. The Crier (Der Rufende) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Crier (Der Rufende) from The...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Crier (Der Rufende) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Cry in the Fog (Ruf im Nebel) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Cry in the Fog (Ruf im Nebel) from...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Cry in the Fog (Ruf im Nebel) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Specter in the Fog (Erscheinung im Nebel) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Specter in the Fog (Erscheinung im Nebel)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Specter in the Fog (Erscheinung im Nebel) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Departure and Defense (Aufbruch und Abwehr) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Departure and Defense (Aufbruch und...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Departure and Defense (Aufbruch und Abwehr) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. The Curse (Verfluchung) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    The Curse (Verfluchung) from The...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. The Curse (Verfluchung) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
  • Ernst Barlach. Woman Falling (Stürzende Frau) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)
    Woman Falling (Stürzende Frau)...
    (1910-11, published 1912)
    Ernst Barlach. Woman Falling (Stürzende Frau) from The Dead Day (Der tote Tag). (1910-11, published 1912)

About the portfolio

Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

In Ernst Barlach's play Der tote Tag (The dead day), a mother's selfishness plunges the world into darkness. The mother is visited by a blind beggar who has come to lead her son to a destiny that would benefit all mankind. Not wanting to lose her son, she kills the mystical horse which was to spirit him away. The horse's death causes the sun not to rise the following morning. Racked with guilt and despair, the mother takes her own life; her son, even then unable to free himself from her, soon follows. Rich with allusions to Christian and Nordic mythology, the play and its accompanying illustrations explore man's relationship to God, the key theme throughout Barlach's printmaking, sculpture, and writing.

Der tote Tag was the first of seven plays Barlach wrote and illustrated for Paul Cassirer, his close friend, gallerist, and publisher. For the illustrations, Cassirer persuaded Barlach to make lithographs, the artist's first proper work in the medium. These prints capture the ominous and bleak atmosphere of the play, while spotlighting incidents—such as the mother slicing open the horse's throat—that are not detailed in the text. Barlach's figures share the same bulky monumentality and timelessness as his sculptures, which were inspired by Gothic art and Russian peasants.

Ernst Barlach (German, 1870–1938)

The Portfolio

The Dead Day (Der tote Tag)

Author:
The artist
Date:
1912 (prints executed 1910-11)
Medium:
Portfolio of twenty-six lithographs (incomplete; complete portfolio comprises 27 lithographs)
Dimensions:
composition (see child records): dimensions vary; sheet: 20 1/16 x 26 3/16" (51 x 66.5 cm); overall: 20 9/16 x 26 5/8 x 13/16" (52.3 x 67.7 x 2 cm)
Paper:
Cream, smooth, wove (Van Gelder Zonen).
Publisher:
Pan-Presse (Verlag Paul Cassirer)
Printer of Plates:
Pan-Presse, Berlin
Printer of Text:
Julius Sittenfeld, Berlin
Edition:
210 (including 60 signed on Japan paper and 150 on Van Gelder Zonen- "Bütten" [this ex.])
Credit Line:
Transferred from the Museum Library
Reference:
Schult II, 13-46. Rifkind 71.1-26. Raabe 15.1. Laur 9.01-39. Feilchenfeldt/Brandis 5.0.B.2
MoMA Number:
563.1949.1-26
Themes:
Literary Subjects
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