Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Leading German Expressionist painter, sculptor, and printmaker Ernst Ludwig Kirchner studied architecture at the Dresden Technische Hochschule and art in Munich at the Kunsthochschule. Though critics have often tied Kirchner to influences such as Fauvism (Matisse in particular), Cubism, and postimpressionism, the artist himself always denied the influence of others.
In 1905, Kirchner was one of the founding members of the Der Brücke group of avant-garde artists. These artists worked together to develop skills in drawing, painting, and printmaking (woodcut and lithography). Kirchner and Der Brücke were some of the first artists to value printmaking as an independent art form. Even when the design was based on his paintings, Kirchner’s preparation of the matrices and often hand-coloring of the prints, made each print became a unique artistic work.
Kirchner followed other members of Der Brücke to Berlin in 1911, where he produced his most famous street scenes, such as the painting, “Potsdamer Platz” and the related woodcut, “Women in Potsdamer Platz” (1914). After the Dissolution of Der Brücke in 1913 and his marked mental deterioration, Kirchner emigrated to Switzerland and settled near Davos. In 1938, soon after Nazis labeled him a degenerate artist, Kirchner committed suicide.