Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (6 May 188015 June 1938) was a German expressionist painter and one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke (The Bridge).

Sourced quotes[edit]

  • The struggle for existence is very difficult here (Berlin), but the possibilities are also greater. I hope that we can create a fruitful new school and convince many new friends of the value of our efforts.
    • letter to Louise Schiefler, 5 November 1911; as quoted in “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Grosstad, Eros und Natur, aus der verborgenen Sammlungen der Region”, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst Germany, 2005, pp. 113-114


  • Every day I studied the nude, and movement in the streets and in the shops. Out of the naturalistic surface with all its variations I wanted to derive the pictorially determined surface.
    • letter to Botho Graef, 21 September 1916; as quoted in “Voices of German Expressionism”, ed. Victor H. Miesel, Tate publishing, London 2003 p. 18


  • It seems as though the goal of my work has always been to dissolve myself completely into the sensations of the surroundings in order to then integrate this into a coherent painterly form.
    • letter to K.E. Osthaus, 23 December 1917; as quoted in “Kirchner and the berlin street”’, ed. Deborah Wye, Moma, New York, 2008, p. 36


  • It is not a question of trying to reproduce objective features, only of good practice for the fingers and for the perceptive faculty, and that too is very useful. You must have read how Van Gogh was always getting his brother to send him drawings to copy. And how Rembrandt used to copy Indian an Italian pictures. Not of course, because they were short of material, but to get 'du corps'. So one should be always drawing... ...Oh, you’d love the Indians. The pure, Aryan Indians, not those one could see in Berlin, whose forms had become rigid and sterile through mingling with the Chinese.
  • letter to Nele van de Velde, Frauenkirch, 1919/20; as quoted in ”Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock – ”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, pp. 224-225


  • They (his Street scene paintings and drawings) originated in the years 1911-14, in one of the loneliest times of my life, during which an agonizing restlessness drove me out onto the streets day and night, which were filled with people and cars.
    • notebook entry ‘Meine Strasenbilder’, 24 Augustus 1919; as quoted in “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik”, M. M. Moeller, Gerd Hatje, Stuttgart 1990 p. 184


  • All art needs this visible world and will always need it. Quite simply because, being accessible to all, it is the key to all other worlds.
    • 'Zeichnungen von E. L. Kirchner', (under his pseudonym Louis deMarsalle) E. L. Kirchner, Genius 2, Book 2, 1921, 216-234, reprinted by National Gallery, Washington D.C. 2003, p. 226


  • The technical procedures doubtless release energies in the artist that remain unused in the much more lightweight processes of drawing or painting (remark on printmaking).
    • 'Uber Kirchners Graphik', (under his pseudonym Louis deMarsalle) E. L. Kirchner, Genius 3, Book 2, 1922, 251-63, reprinted by National Gallery, Washington D.C. 2003, p. 226 ; as quoted in “Kirchner and the berlin street”’, ed. Deborah Wye, Moma, New York, 2008, p. 71


  • I begin with movement... ...I believe that all human visual experiences are born from movement…
    • an unpublished manuscript 'Die Arbeit E. L. Kirchners' by E. L. Kirchner 1925 –1926; as quoted in "Kirchner and the Berlin street", ed. Deborah Wye, Moma, New York, 2008, p. 39

Unsourced[edit]

  • A painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness, in fact he creates new appearances of things.
  • My paintings are allegories not portraits.
  • The German artist creates out of his imagination,inner vision,the forms of visible nature are to him only a symbol.
  • The way in which I depict people was now influenced very strongly by my third wife..and her sister.The beautiful,shapely architectonically structured bodies of those two girls,replaced the soft Saxon bodies.

External links[edit]

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