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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Today we are going to take a very brief look at artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (May 6 1880 – June 15 1938)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German Expressionist painter. He was one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke or "The Bridge".

Kirchner's "Die Brücke"

From what I can tell, Die Brücke focused much of their attention on "Free Love".
There seems to have been a lot of nude group life-drawing sessions that devolved into orgies.
Believe it or not, between all the sex and partying... Expressionism started here!

Kircher's studio 1915 Berlin

Kirchner joined the army during WW1, but suffered a nervous breakdown, so he split the scene.
He then spent a lot of time in sanatoriums in Switzerland.
His mental and physical health, by the way, was never particularly good.
He didn't really loose his hand though, he was just being dramatic.

Kirchner loved to par-tay...a lot! He big into smoking, drinking and women.
This self-portrait is called "The Drinker". He doesn't look like he feels so hot in this painting.

He looks like he's feeling pretty good in this portrait though.....

Kirchner loved the "ladies of the night".
He painted endless portraits of prostitutes on the streets of Berlin.

As he got older, he was more into painting landscapes than women.
He spent a lot of time painting on the German island of Feharn. I don't know if these were painted there, but I like them.

In 1933, he was labeled a "Degenerate" by the Nazis.
In 1937, over 600 of his paintings were confiscated from museums and destroyed.
From 1936 onward Kirchner was increasingly disturbed by news of the Nazis' attack on modern art. Before the Nazis' could get to them, he started destroying his own work at home. Some say he took his pistol and shot at his paintings.
On June 15, 1938, he committed suicide by shooting himself.

And so ends today's art history lesson. I've got to go paint and think about the life of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner!


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