Saturday, March 15, 2014
The Linear Madness of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Portraits
As a major player in the German Expressionist group Die Brucke, Kirchner ‘s work, particularly his prints, set new standards to express emotion and use of material. His fractured portraits were as equally jarring psychologically as much as how they were created. Kirchner sought everywhere for psychological understanding of his figures. His achievements are substantial.
”… the reason why we founded the Brücke was to encourage truly German art, made in Germany. And now it is supposed to be un-German. Dear God. It does upset me".
Kirchner’s family were of Prussian origins and his mother was claimed to have descended from the Huguenots. Kirchner's family moved frequently so he attended schools in Frankfurt and Perlen until his father became Professor of Paper Sciences at the college of technology in Chemnitz. Kirchner's parents encouraged his artistic career but they also encouraged a pragmatic education so he moved to Dresden in 1901 to study architecture at the Königliche Technische Hochschule. Kirchner continued his studies in Munich 1903–1904, then he returned to Dresden in 1905 to complete his degree.
Some of Kirchner’s Exhibitions and Accomplishments:
1906 first Die Brucke exhibition, K.F.M. Seifert and Co., Dresden, Germany
1913 Armory Show, NY
1913 first major solo show, Essen Folkwang Museum
1920 several exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland
1921 major display of Kirchner's work in Berlin
1931 made a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, but resigned in 1933
1933 his work was branded as "degenerate" by the Nazis and 639 works were taken out of museums, destroyed or sold.
1934, Kirchner visited Berne and Zurich, and met Paul Klee.
1935 Kirchner created a sculpture for a new school in Frauenkirch, Switzerland.
1937 25 pieces exhibited in the Degenerate Art Exhibition, sponsored by Hitler’s Nazi party
1937 first solo museum show in the US, Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
1937 organizes Muller memorial exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
1969 a major retrospective at the Seattle Art Museum, the Pasadena Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1992 the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
2006 Christie's auction of Kirchner's Street Scene, Berlin (1913) = a record $38 million.
2008 Museum of Modern Art, NY