I woke up in a panic this morning, realizing that I'd missed the chance to wish one of my favorite German artists Happy Birthday. Please forgive me, Ernsk, for this belated well-wishing. His actual birthday was on Sunday, but we'll go ahead and do a shout-out just the same. The man had too much style not to be celebrated, however tardy on my behalf.
This architect student turned painter is one of the most recognized figures from the German Expressionist movement. He was also one of the founding minds behind the group Die Brücke (or "The Bridge"), whose color-charged paintings of racy and angular subject matter (Kirchner looooooved the ladies) moved art forward in Dresden, and later, in Germany as a whole.
Kirchner lived an artist's life in every respect. As a young man his studio was used for equal parts model sessions and liaisons. See, Kirchner liked everything fast back then: he painted quickly to capture movement and vitality, and he loved quickly (he scheduled his models for 15 minute appointments). Eventually, Die Brücke broke apart and Kirchner gained notoriety through solo shows. He was also snatched up to fight in WWI, which did not sit well with his tender soul; he had a breakdown and moved to the countryside where his gaze shifted permanently toward landscape painting. But when the Nazis came into power they determined his work "degenerative" and went on to destroy his pieces by the hundreds, ransacking museums and galleries in the process. Kirchner it seems, had reached his breaking point. He committed suicide at age 58.
Let's take a look at some of Kirchner's famous images and celbrate the life of this artist. Happy Birthday, Ernsk, you're 132 years young.
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