Kirchner was drawn into the bohemia of Berlin cabarets peopled by outcasts, misfits, and petty criminals. There amid the raucous music, cheap liquor, and tobacco, Kirchner found himself as an artist. He also discovered one of his greatest subjects. Many modern artists have been attracted to the dance. In the dancer’s rhythmic movements, artists found an apt metaphor for personal freedom. Recent scholarship has identified the Panama Dancers as a touring African American dance troupe, here performing a cakewalk, a prancing promenade wildly popular in early vaudeville shows. The subject matter featured in this work of art— including women dressed as men dancing with other women— would have been considered scandalous in its day.
Tags: German Expressionism, modern art
Bequest of W. R. Valentiner