Thursday, June 21, 2018

Erich Heckel's Nude Nymphet Model: 12-Year-Old Fränzi


Erich Heckel's Fränzi Reclining (German: Fränzi liegend).1910 is highlighted on page 46 of the book MoMA Highlights: 350 Works from The Museum of Modern Art. Fränzi was twelve-years-old when the woodcut composition was done. 

The nymphet frequently posed for Heckel, a German painter, printmaker and founder of the artists group Die Brücke (English: The Bridge). The book states that Heckel and the Expressionists "[...] were drawn to the natural yet awkward positions that she assumed because they were so unlike the artificial stances of professional models." 

I doubt that that was all that they were drawn to. 

Per Art & Popular Culture the critic James Auer opined:

"[...] in many ways [Fränzi Reclining] encapsulates the principal virtues of the entire Expressionist movement. At once frank and respectful, daring and compassionate, it depicts a girl-woman on the cusp of adolescence, innocent and free yet, at the same time, curious and knowing."

Fränzi Reclining (German: Fränzi liegend).1910

In addition, Fränzi was the model for Heckel's Standing Child (German: Stehendes Kind) 1910. The curator's notes on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art website states:

"While in Dresden the four Brücke artists used an adolescent girl named Fränzi as a model. The subject of this print, she was regarded as the ideal child of the new society, at once innocent and wise. Although there are traditional elements in this composition the standing figure, the landscape beyond the window there is nothing complacent about it. In contrast to her unformed, almost sexless body, the child's strong, crudely drawn face conveys in a minimum of detail an expression implying knowledge beyond her years."

And what is this knowledge that the curator is referring to?

Standing Child. 1910.