Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (*May 6, 1880 in Aschaffenburg; †June 15, 1938 in Frauenkirch-Wildboden, Switzerland) was a German painter and graphic artist. He was one of the founding members of the artists’ group Die Brücke and is one of the most important representatives of Expressionism.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Dresden and Die Brücke

The young Ernst Ludwig Kirchner began studying architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden in 1901. During his studies, he spent a semester at the Kunstakademie in Munich. After graduating in 1905, the artist founded the artists’ group Die Brücke, together with Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The first exhibition of works by Die Brücke was held in Leipzig in November of the same year.

Four years later, Lina Franziska Fehrmann, known as Fränzi, became the muse of the artists’ group. Fränzi was eight years old when the artists began to sketch and paint her. The Expressionist style of painting is characterized by a strong use of color, dominated by subjective feeling, and has a tendency toward abstraction and reduced motifs.

In 1910 Kirchner became a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund. He moved from Dresden to Berlin one year later, where he founded the MUIM Institute (Moderner Unterricht im Malen; Modern Instruction in Painting) with Max Pechstein, and met sisters Gerda and Erna Schilling. The latter would become his longtime companion.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (*May 6, 1880 in Aschaffenburg; †June 15, 1938 in Frauenkirch-Wildboden, Switzerland) was a German painter and graphic artist. He was one of the founding members of the artists’ group Die Brücke and is one of the most important representatives of Expressionism.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Dresden and Die Brücke

The young Ernst Ludwig Kirchner began studying architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden in 1901. During his studies, he spent a semester at the Kunstakademie in Munich. After graduating in 1905, the artist founded the artists’ group Die Brücke, together with Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The first exhibition of works by Die Brücke was held in Leipzig in November of the same year.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (*May 6, 1880 in Aschaffenburg; †June 15, 1938 in Frauenkirch-Wildboden, Switzerland) was a German painter and graphic artist. He was one of the founding members of the artists’ group Die Brücke and is one of the most important representatives of Expressionism.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Dresden and Die Brücke

In 1913 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner wrote the Chronik der KG Brücke (Chronicle of the artists’ group Die Brücke). The group disbanded in the same year due to disputes following its publication; Kirchner is said to have overstated his own importance in the group.

One tenth of his work was created between 1908 and 1914, during which time the artist regularly spent the summer months on the island of Fehmarn.

The countryside motifs form a separate group of works that contrast with the city motifs of the same period.

At the onset of World War I, Kirchner volunteered for military service. Due to mental and physical illness, however, he was discharged from service and sent to a sanatorium. Since his condition did not improve, Kirchner spent most of the years 1915–1917 in a mental institution.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Relocation to Switzerland

The artist suffered from signs of paralysis, paranoia, and an anxiety disorder. The artist traveled to Davos for the first time in 1917. After finally being released from the sanatorium, Kirchner moved to Frauenkirch, a rural village in Switzerland. In 1920, under the pseudonym Louis de Marsalle,


Four years later, Lina Franziska Fehrmann, known as Fränzi, became the muse of the artists’ group. Fränzi was eight years old when the artists began to sketch and paint her. The Expressionist style of painting is characterized by a strong use of color, dominated by subjective feeling, and has a tendency toward abstraction and reduced motifs.

In 1910 Kirchner became a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund. He moved from Dresden to Berlin one year later, where he founded the MUIM Institute (Moderner Unterricht im Malen; Modern Instruction in Painting) with Max Pechstein, and met sisters Gerda and Erna Schilling. The latter would become his longtime companion.

In 1913 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner wrote the Chronik der KG Brücke (Chronicle of the artists’ group Die Brücke). The group disbanded in the same year due to disputes following its publication; Kirchner is said to have overstated his own importance in the group.

One tenth of his work was created between 1908 and 1914, during which time the artist regularly spent the summer months on the island of Fehmarn.

The countryside motifs form a separate group of works that contrast with the city motifs of the same period.

At the onset of World War I, Kirchner volunteered for military service. Due to mental and physical illness, however, he was discharged from service and sent to a sanatorium. Since his condition did not improve, Kirchner spent most of the years 1915–1917 in a mental institution.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Relocation to Switzerland

The artist suffered from signs of paralysis, paranoia, and an anxiety disorder. The artist traveled to Davos for the first time in 1917. After finally being released from the sanatorium, Kirchner moved to Frauenkirch, a rural village in Switzerland. In 1920, under the pseudonym Louis de Marsalle,


The young Ernst Ludwig Kirchner began studying architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden in 1901. During his studies, he spent a semester at the Kunstakademie in Munich. After graduating in 1905, the artist founded the artists’ group Die Brücke, together with Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The first exhibition of works by Die Brücke was held in Leipzig in November of the same year.

Four years later, Lina Franziska Fehrmann, known as Fränzi, became the muse of the artists’ group. Fränzi was eight years old when the artists began to sketch and paint her. The Expressionist style of painting is characterized by a strong use of color, dominated by subjective feeling, and has a tendency toward abstraction and reduced motifs.

In 1910 Kirchner became a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund. He moved from Dresden to Berlin one year later, where he founded the MUIM Institute (Moderner Unterricht im Malen; Modern Instruction in Painting) with Max Pechstein, and met sisters Gerda and Erna Schilling. The latter would become his longtime companion.

In 1913 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner wrote the Chronik der KG Brücke (Chronicle of the artists’ group Die Brücke). The group disbanded in the same year due to disputes following its publication; Kirchner is said to have overstated his own importance in the group.

One tenth of his work was created between 1908 and 1914, during which time the artist regularly spent the summer months on the island of Fehmarn.

The countryside motifs form a separate group of works that contrast with the city motifs of the same period.

At the onset of World War I, Kirchner volunteered for military service. Due to mental and physical illness, however, he was discharged from service and sent to a sanatorium. Since his condition did not improve, Kirchner spent most of the years 1915–1917 in a mental institution.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Relocation to Switzerland

The artist suffered from signs of paralysis, paranoia, and an anxiety disorder. The artist traveled to Davos for the first time in 1917. After finally being released from the sanatorium, Kirchner moved to Frauenkirch, a rural village in Switzerland. In 1920, under the pseudonym Louis de Marsalle,


Kirchner began to publish essays and positive critiques of his own works. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner moved to the Wildboden house above Frauenkirch in 1923.
Kirchner’s despair during these years was reflected in his self-portraits and sketches. Despite his ailments, Kirchner continued to devote himself to art and began to create large-scale paintings. He focused mainly on landscapes and portraits. In 1925, the artist left Switzerland for the first time in nine years and traveled to Berlin, where he enjoyed great recognition. In 1931 he became a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
From 1925, Kirchner’s painting style became increasingly two-dimensional. By the end of the 1920s he had developed a very personal and highly abstract style and a progressively autonomous formal language. In 1937, following the National Socialists’ seizure of power, 639 of his works were confiscated from German museums and he was expelled from the Akademie der Künste.
Some of his works were displayed in the defamatory Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition. Kirchner took his own life by shooting himself in the heart in Frauenkirch on June 15, 1938.

1880 — Born May 6th in Aschaffenburg.
1901 — Studies architecture in Dresden.
1903 — Semester at the Academy oh Arts in Munich.
1905 — Founding member of the artist group „Brücke“.
1906 — Dodo becomes Kichners model and mistress.
1909 — Fränzi Fehrmann becomes muse of the „Brücke“.
1910 — Member of the Deutsche Künstlerbund.
1911 — Moves to Berlin. Co-founder of the MUIM-Institut (Institut for modern painting).
Acquaintance with the sisters Erna und Gerda Schilling.
1912 — Participation in the Sonderbundausstellung, Cologne.
1913 — Writes the chronic of the „Brücke“. Disbandment of the „Brücke“.
1915 — Volontary Soldier in World War I. Suffers a nervous breakdown and dismissal as a result his military service. Sanatorium in Königsstein.
1916 — Sanatorium Kohnstamm and in December sanatorium in Berlin.
1917 — Moves to Davos. Admitted to Sanatorium Bellevue, Kreuzlingen.
1918 — Moves to Frauenkirch.
1921 — Aquaintance with the dancer Nina Hard in Davos.
1922 — Works together with the weaver Lise Gujer.
1923 — Moves into the “Wildbodenhaus” near Frauenkirch.
1931 — Member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
1937 — 639 works are confeiscated by the Nazi regime.
1938 — Commits suicide on June 15th in Frauenkirch.

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund