One of the most talented and influential German Expressionists.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke “The Bridge”, a key part to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th-century art.
The group wanted to form a bridge between the art styles of the past and present, by finding a new mode of artistic expression.
When the Nazi party gained power in Germany, It became impossible for Kirchner to sell his paintings. Labelled as a “degenerate” by the Nazis. A term adopted by them, to describe modern art. Internationally renowned artists, such as Kirchner, were removed from state owned museums and banned in Nazi Germany, as it was “an insult to German feeling”, un-german, Jewish or communist in nature.
During 1933, Kirchner became increasingly disturbed by the political situation in Germany, and wrote “Here we have been hearing terrible rumours about the torture of the Jews, but it’s all surely untrue. I’m a little tired and sad about the situation up there. There is war in the air. In the museums, the hard-won cultural achievements of the last 20 years are being destroyed, and yet the reason why we founded the Brücke was to encourage truly German art, made in Germany. And it’s supposed to be un-German. Dear God it does upset me.”
His fears and anxiety spiralled, and sadly, on 15 June 1938, he took his own life, by gunshot, in front of his home in Frauenkirch.
The human figure was central to Kirchner’s art. He most commonly depicted the figure in movement, he believed it better expressed the fullness and vitality of the human body.