Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

1880 Aschaffenburg – 1938 Davos

Kirchner was one of the most important practitioners of German Expressionism. The painter, graphic artist and sculpture co-founded the artist community “Die Brücke” (The Bridge) in Dresden, which developed its own, specific style of art. “Die Brücke” exerted a decisive impact on the direction taken by classical modernism. In 1911/12 he moved to Berlin and created his masterpiece works. The outbreak of the First World War was a turning point in Kirchner’s life.

Military service and the experience of war led him to a nervous breakdown, giving rise to existential anxiety. The artist became addicted to drugs and spent a long time seeking treatment in various sanatoriums. In 1917 he settled in Switzerland and worked up until he committed suicide in 1938. The Nazis referred to his paintings as “degenerate” and removed them from museums. Today, his work is shown in the most prestigious museums in the world.


24 January – 19 March 2018

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Works of the Absolute Present

100+ years ago, it was the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner who, in and with his drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures, made this feeling of the absolute present visible. Not only in the so-called fifteen-minute nudes, which Kirchner jotted down rather stencil-like on his drawing paper, we are witness to a spontaneous, graphic concentration and expression of energy.



“Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a hypersensitive artist. Without his vulnerability as well as emotional and intellectual openness to the unusual, the otherness, he could not have created such an impressive body of work. It testifies to the greatest intensity and absolute present. At the same time, these qualities accompany his lifelong dilemma of craving continuous acknowledgement and recognition. If he did not receive them, he openly sought distraction from his subjectively perceived failures.”

Erika Schlessinger-Költzsch

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