Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

1880 - 1938

H

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Moonrise: Soldier and Maiden, 1905, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

OVERVIEW

Enormously attractive, exuberant laugh, hypersensitive, obsessed with work.

The poet Heym very important to Kirchner. He painted portraits of the poets Sternheim and Alfred Doblin around the time of WWI. Also: architect Van de Velde, Frankfurt art dealer Schames, psychologist Binswanger and archaeologist Botho Graf.

TIMELINE

1880

Born 6 May in Aschaffenburg.

1890

Resident in Chemnitz.

1901

Studies architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden.

1902

Friendship with Fritz Bleyl

1903

Two semesters at the art school of Wilhelm von Debschitz and Hermann Obrist in Munich where he got to know Jugendstil. Impressed by the Phalanx exhibition. Not so much by the Munich Secession.

1904

Return to Dresden, friendship with Erich Heckel.

1905

Took his final examinations and qualified as an engineer at the Technische Hochschule. Took up painting full time. Friendship with Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Cofounds the Brucke group.

1906

Meets Nolde and Pechstein.

1908

Summer on the island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea. First time at the sea. Went back most summers in the coming years.

1910

Cofounds Neue Secession in Berlin. Friendship with Otto Mueller who taught him the use of distemper. Also tried mixing petrol into his oil paints to apply them thinly and achieve a quick dry and a matt finish.

1911

Visits Bohemia with Mueller. Moves to Berlin.

1913

Breakup of the Brucke

1914

Military service 1914-1915. Released after physical and mental breakdown.

1916

In Konigstein im Taunus in hopes of a cure.

1917

His friends get him to move to Davos, Switzerland Remained in Frauenkirch near Davos after his recovery.

1937

639 works confiscated as ‘degenerate’.

1938

Commits suicide June 15 in Frauenkirch.

 

SOURCES

The Expressionists. Wolf-Dieter Dube, trans by Mary Whittall. Thames and Hudson, 1972.