Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
* 06 03 1880 | Aschaffenburg
† 15 06 1938 | Frauenkirch-Wildboden (CH)
His work is among the great achievements of modern art. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, one of the protagonists of the “Brücke” Expressionist group of artists founded in Dresden in 1905, went down in the history of art with his early nudes in the studio and outdoors, the nervous-expressive Berlin street scenes, the Alpine motifs of Davos and the abstract tendencies of his late work.
Works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Vita Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is born on 6 May in Aschaffenburg.
The family moves to Chemnitz.
He receives a prize from the Chemnitz Kunstverein (art association) as one of the best pupils in his art class. Following his Abitur (school leaving examinations), he begins studying architecture at the Königliche Technische Hochschule (Royal Technical University) in Dresden.
On 7 June, Kirchner founds the “Brücke” artist group together with Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Bleyl.
He sees works by Vincent van Gogh in the Galerie Arnold.
The ”Brücke” formulates its artistic programme, which Kirchner carves into wood.
First trip to Fehmarn; further stays follow until 1914.
The milliner Doris (Dodo) Große is Kirchner’s lover and model until 1911. The eight-year-old Lina Franziska (Fränzi) Fehrmann models for the painters.
The “Brücke” members visit the Moritzburg Ponds for the first time together with their girlfriends and models.
Kirchner becomes a member of the New Secession in Berlin. First involvement with non-European art following a visit to the ethnological museum in Dresden.
The artist moves to Berlin, where Erich Heckel and Max Pechstein already reside.
He meets the two sisters Gerda and Erna Schilling, who work as dancers in a nightclub. Erna becomes his life partner, with whom he lives together until his death.
The artist group dissolves due to differences of opinion about the chronicle of the “Brücke” authored by Kirchner.
First solo exhibition in the Museum Folkwang in Hagen.
In the hope of being able to have an influence on his wartime deployment, he volunteers for service and receives field artillery training in Halle. Following a physical and psychological breakdown , treatment in the Sanatorium Dr. Kohnstamm in Königstein in the Taunus Valley.
During a subsequent stay in Königstein, he finishes monumental wall paintings for the Brunnenhaus (fountain house) of the Sanatorium.
First stay in Davos, treatment under Dr. Lucius Spengler.
Together with Erna Schilling, he moves into the farmhouse In den Lärchen in Davos Frauenkirch.
Kirchner spends the summer on the Staffelalp above Frauenkirch.
Under the pseudonym Louis de Marsalle, the artist publishes his first articles about his work.
He meets the dancer Nina Hard, who visits him and poses nude for him as a model.
Kirchner moves into the house on the Wildboden in Davos Frauenkirch.
Intensive involvement with the works of Pablo Picasso.
In December, the artist returns to Germany again for the first time and visits Chemnitz, Dresden, Berlin and Frankfurt.
Commission for designing the ceremonial hall in the Museum Folkwang in Essen, which is, however, not realised.
His painting Schlittenfahrt (The Sleigh Ride) is exhibited at the Biennale in Venice.
Trip to Frankfurt, Essen and Berlin.
Participation in the German Paintings and Sculpture exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is made a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts.
Extensive retrospective in der Kunsthalle Bern.
The first solo exhibition of the artist in the USA takes place at the Detroit Institute of Art.
639 of his works are labelled as “degenerate” by the National Socialists and removed from museums. Thirty-two of his paintings can be seen in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) propaganda exhibition. He is excluded from the Prussian Academy of Arts.
Kirchner’s health worsens steadily. Fearing a German invasion, the artist ends his life with a gun on 15 June.