W&K FINE ART - WIENERROITHER & KOHLBACHER
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born on 6 May 1880 in Aschaffenburg. There are records that he started drawing at the age of three. His father kept these early testimonies to his talent. The family moved on several occasions – to Frankfurt/M., Perlen near Lucerne, and Chemnitz. At the age of twenty, he finished his first sketchbook – the first of one hundred and eighty. In 1901 he started studying architecture and graduated in 1905 with a diploma. He made friends with Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and with them he founded the Brücke on 7 June 1905. At that time they worked on the ‘quarter hour nudes’. In 1906 Pechstein and Nolde joined the Brücke. In 1908 Kirchner painted for the first time on Fehmarn. In the summer of 1909 he was with Heckel and Pechstein and the child model Fränzi Fehrmann at the Moritzburg Lakes, north of Dresden. They returned there in the summers of 1910 and 1911. In 1910 he got to know Otto Mueller. He visited Gustav Schiefler and Rosa Schapire in Hamburg, contacted Karl Ernst Osthaus, and through him in the years that followed he got to know Henry van de Velde, Ernst Gosebruch, Carl Hagemann and Ludwig Schames. In October 1911, Kirchner left Dresden to improve his career opportunities in Berlin. In 1912 he met Erna Schilling, who became his partner. In 1915 he was called up for military service but had a complete breakdown soon afterwards. In 1916 he was in a sanatorium. One year later he travelled to Davos to convalesce. He stayed in Switzerland and moved to a house ‘In den Lärchen’ in Frauenkirch near Davos. In 1923 he rented a house on the ‘Wildboden’. In 1926 he went back to Germany for the first time and visited his mother in Chemnitz and Fränzi Fehrmann in Dresden. In 1937, 639 of his works were deemed ‘degenerate’ and removed from German museums. The following year Kirchner committed suicide at the age of fifty-eight on 15 June 1938.