Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Biography | Oil Paintings
5-6-1880 Aschaffenburg, GER – 6-15-1938 Davos, SUIBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner born in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 1880, Kirchner studied architecture in Dresden before turning to painting as a result of encouragement from fellow students Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt Ruttuf. In 1905, these three artists formed the movement known as Die Brucke (The Bridge) in Dresden, in 1911 it moved to Berlin, but disbanded in 1913. Its members all went on to pursue independent artistic careers.
The group, founded and led by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, was characterized by its use of tormented, angular lines, distorting its figures almost to the point of caricature, and a taste for harsh, emotionally charged colors. The dawn of the 20th century marked a time of increased anxiety, tension, and neurosis for Germany, illustrating the growing anguish and frustration of modern man. Their group was one of the seminal ones which in due course had a major impact on the evolution of modern art in the 20th century and created the style of Expressionism.
Kirchner An Anguished Presentiment of the German Tragedy.
The name signified the fact that they spanned the art of the past and present and derived inspiration from a variety of disparate sources. Kirchner was inspired by Munch, Van Gogh and Gauguin, as well as primitive tribal art, but his use of rhythmic lines give his paintings an almost Art Nouveau quality.
Kirchner was the dominant personality in this group, which sought to give direct expression to human feelings. All social conventions went out the window in Kirchner's studio, there were casual love-making and frequent nudity among the guests, to encourage spontaneity the group life-drawing sessions were fifteen minutes long, and the models were friends and common people, not professionals.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner evolved an angular style highlighted by bold, contrasting colors. Like so many other artists drafted into the infantry, Kirchner suffered a severe nervous breakdown and while convalescing in Switzerland he concentrated on Alpine landscapes as an antidote to the horrors of trench warfare. His postwar paintings grew more abstract, in 1933, his work was branded as "degenerate" by the Nazis and in 1937, over 600 of his works were sold or destroyed, in the time leading up to his gunshot suicide in 1938 in front of his home.
In 2006, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Berlin Street Scene painted in 1913 sold for US$38.0 million at auction, a record for Kirchner's art.
Art Movement History: Expressionism.
Artists Influencing Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin.
He Traveled To Germany, Switzerland
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.