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Black chorus line; three black men dressed as African women with wrapper skirts and head-ties, singing and dancing holding fans. 1930 Etching with monotype colouring, printed in red, black and yellow, on oriental paper
- Height: 335 millimetres
- Width: 448 millimetres
Inscription ContentSigned, titled "Negerrevue" and annotated "Selbstdruck" in pencil.
Text from Frances Carey and Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no. 223 :
This plate shows the benefit of Nesch's experiments in deeply etching the plate. The main areas of the dancers' dresses have been etched down and some thick grain used to create the pitted areas, while the swirling bands on the dresses have been stopped out so that the original surface of the plate has been preserved. The effects thus created on the plate have been enhanced by very careful wiping. The black ink has been wiped almost clean on the women's dresses, while a heavy surface-tone has been left on the flesh areas; this gives the contrast of the black skin against the cotton of the dresses. The coloured inks have been wiped onto the raised surface areas of the plate by hand; the marks of the rag used to do so are clearly visible. Small patches of yellow are applied to define an ear-ring and a hat. Such hand-colouring is perhaps the most important purely technical device that Nesch learnt from Kirchner (cf. Carey & Griffiths 1984, cat. no. 83 and p. 36).
The importance of the inking is shown by comparison with an illustration of another impression (in the 1969 Detroit catalogue, p.16). In this the upper part of the dress of the right-hand dancer is the same tone as the lower part, and the traces of an arm visible between the right-hand figures is entirely obscured by the red ink.
The scene is taken from the show of a troupe of male black dancers from Louisiana, performed in the St Pauli district of Hamburg. Helliesen & Sørensen record other impressions in Hamburg and Los Angeles, and illustrate a fourth impression where the red monotype inking on the surface level is only applied to the lips and head-ties of the dancers, and the background is left white.
German XXc Mounted Imp
1984/5 Sept-Jan, BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', no. 223
2009/10 Oct-Jan, Oslo, Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitekture of Design, Rolf Nesch
Prints & Drawings
Black chorus line; three women dancing with fans. 1930 Etching and aquatint, with monotype colouring, printed in red, black and yellow, on oriental paper
Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum
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Object reference number: PPA8660
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