A Masterpiece of Expressionism
Deutsche Bank Loanes Kirchner Painting to the
Chemnitz Art Collections

It’s one of the most important paintings to be inspired by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s travels through Germany. Now, Deutsche Bank has loaned Chemnitz Factories to the Chemnitz Art Collections. The Expressionist masterpiece was, in fact, supposed to be purchased back in 1926 for the Collections, which had already amassed a substantial number of the artist’s works. The acquisition did not, however, take place as planned. The painting remained in the artist’s possession and only appeared on the market when his estate released it for sale. The painting has been the property of Deutsche Bank since 1973; it was already on view once in Chemnitz, as part of the 2006 exhibition Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The Trip through Germany 1925/1926. Now, with the ceremonious handover of the painting to the museum on the Theaterplatz, the Expressionist masterpiece returns for several years to the place of its origin.

“My fear of my fatherland has to come to an end,” Kirchner noted in his diary in October 1925—shortly before he set off from Swiss exile to travel to Frankfurt am Main. His trip through Germany continued for several months and also took him to Chemnitz, where he’d spent his youth and where his mother still lived. Kirchner already began sketching possible views of the motif during the first days of his trip, but only completed the painting of the wintertime factories in the summer of 1926, months after his return to Switzerland. He was pleased with the results. As he wrote in a letter, “it’s not often that a solution as artistically perfect as this is combined with such accuracy in representation without being in the least fussy or photographic.” The painting is a prime example of Kirchner’s new style, which he began developing in 1923 in the seclusion of the Swiss mountains. The impulsive Expressionist style that had characterized his works to date was gradually being replaced by a quieter, flatter manner of painting.

Chemnitz Factories is part of a group of eight paintings, drawings, and prints by the artist in the bank’s collection. In March of this year, Deutsche Bank gave Kirchner’s painting Rhaetian Railway to the Museum Folkwang in Essen on extended loan.