© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Lovis Corinth, German (Tapiau, East Prussia [now Gvardeysk, Russia] 1858 - 1925 Zandvoort, The Netherlands)
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
76.2 x 83.5 cm (30 x 32 7/8 in.)
frame: 90.6 x 97.8 x 4.2 cm (35 11/16 x 38 1/2 x 1 5/8 in.)
[Paul Cassirer, Hamburg]. Frau A. Endell, Berlin. Hans H. A. Meyn, New York, gift; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1953.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Hans H. A. Meyn
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Label Text: 32Q: 1440 Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin (Expressionism) , written 2014
In this painting, Corinth depicts Salomé, the biblical temptress who danced so seductively for King Herod that he granted her malicious request for the head of John the Baptist. A religious subject that nonetheless offered considerable sex appeal, the story of Salomé was depicted frequently in the art and literature of the turn of the twentieth century, and Corinth returned to it many times. One contemporary critic described Corinth’s depiction of the grotesquely made-up Salomé opening the eyelids of the severed head as particularly perverse. This is the first version — distinguished by its more vigorous brushwork — of a larger painting now in the collection of the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig. The rejection of the latter canvas by the Munich Secession in 1900, and its acceptance by the more progressive Berlin Secession that same year, was one reason why Corinth abandoned Munich for Berlin in 1902.

Publication History

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 41, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)

Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 70, ill.

Robert Rosenblum and MaryAnne Stevens, 1900: Art at the Crossroads, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 2000)

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 192

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 175, ill.

Exhibition History

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983

1900: Art at the Crossroads, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 01/15/2000 - 04/03/2000; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 05/18/2000 - 08/21/2000

Before Expressionism: Art in Germany circa 1903, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/24/2003 - 02/15/2004

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1440 Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin (Expressionism), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 10/22/2015

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu