The world of cabaret bars was part of the fascination of modern urban life for Kirchner. In this rare print (only one other copy is known), the relationship between the scantily-clad female performer and the male audience is shockingly close. She appears to be dancing on a stage or table right in front of them; their hats and coats are hung up to the right.
The rough, angular style and vigour of Kirchner's graphic technique complements the frenetic nature of the dance performed. This perfect match between style and subject, both of which were highly modern for their time and not to everyone's taste, helps to explain why the print was confiscated by the Nazis as ‘degenerate art' in 1937.
This scene shows a group of men seated at a table in a cabaret club, their hats and coats hung up on the wall. The dancer is so close to them that they seem to have to lean back to avoid her high kick. The angular style of the lithograph is typical of German expressionist works of this period. Kirchner was a prolific printmaker, although he usually made just a few impressions of each piece as he liked to print his work himself. Only one other impression of this rare lithograph is thought to exist.
Kirchner was the leading member of the Brücke (Bridge) expressionist group, which was formed in Dresden in 1905. He settled in Berlin in 1911, and produced many scenes depicting city life, on the streets or in theatres and cabarets. His spiky and aggressive style is instantly recognisable. In addition to making painting and sculpture, Kirchner was one of the twentieth-century's greatest printmakers. He produced a huge body of prints in woodcut, etching and lithography. Kirchner's work was included in the 1937 exhibition of Degenerate 'Art', which caused him great distress. He shot himself the following year.