Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Paintings

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German expressionist painter and printmaker, and one of the founding members of the group Die Brücke or 'The Bridge.' Born on May 6, 1880, in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Kirchner studied at the Königliche Technische Hochschule in Dresden, where he met and joined forces with Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff to form Die Brücke in 1905. The group aimed to create new forms of artistic expression and was a precursor to the Expressionist movement.

Kirchner's work is notable for its intense and emotive use of color and its depiction of the anxiety and alienation of the modern world. His art was influenced by African and Oceanic art, which he discovered in ethnographic museums in Germany. Kirchner's interest in non-Western art helped him to break away from traditional European painting techniques and develop a more abstract, expressive style.

During World War I, Kirchner served briefly in the army, but he was soon discharged due to a nervous breakdown. The trauma of the war experience deeply affected his art, leading to a more somber tone and a preoccupation with the themes of crisis and conflict. After the war, he moved to Switzerland for convalescence and continued to work there.

The rise of the Nazi regime in Germany was another blow to Kirchner. His work was labeled as 'degenerate art' by the Nazis, and over 600 of his pieces were either sold or destroyed. The denunciation deeply impacted Kirchner's health and mental well-being. Feeling isolated and depressed, he struggled with his self-esteem and his place in the art world.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's life came to a tragic end when he committed suicide on June 15, 1938, in Davos, Switzerland. Despite his tragic end, Kirchner's influence on expressionism and modern art remains significant. His work is characterized by a vivid palette, distorted forms, and a raw, energetic quality that captures the tumultuous spirit of the early 20th century. His legacy is preserved in the collections of major museums around the world, and he is celebrated as a pioneer of Expressionism.