Print featuring a stage with a figure of a man with his feet touching his head while doing a handstand on a small table flanked by two chairs. His large shadow is cast on the wall behind him. The head and hands of a conductor are visible in the lower right.
Along with fellow members of The Bridge Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel often turned to images of the circus and cabaret as illustrations of working class, non-bourgeoisie society. Following his two years spent in the lakeside focusing upon nudes at rest and in harmony with nature, Heckel’s artistic focus turned to these theatrical images.
Handstand focuses upon a solitary acrobatic performer on stage. The contorted figure is dwarfed by its monstrous shadow cast upon the stage wall. The head of a conductor leading a brass band is visible in the foreground suggesting that the acrobat is performing before an audience. Along either side of the stage we glimpse columns composed of primitive masks – visual allusions to the Expressionists interest in art of Oceania and the Americas.