Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: A Father of Expressionism


There are artists who create out of the best that is in them, and their contribution to the world is both beautiful and significant. Other artists create not just pieces of art, but art movements that actually shape culture and change the art world. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was an artist who created significant pieces of artwork and changed the world through his creations.

On May 6, 1880, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg. He studied art and architecture at the Technische Hochschule, which was located in Dresden. It was at the Technische Hochschule that Kirchner was exposed to artistic subjects such as freehand drawing, perspective drawing, and art history. He thrived at his university and graduated in 1905.

Kirchner made many friends while studying at Technische Hochschule, a few of which were Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel, and Fritz Bleyl. It was with these friends that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner developed an artistic group called Die Brucke (“The Bridge”). This group would mature to become extremely significant to the world of art, for it was partly from Die Brucke that Expressionism was born.

Die Brucke had one main goal: “to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic images-1expression.” Die Brucke’s goal was reached and even exceeded as the group’s founders integrated older artwork of master artists with new art techniques. All of this innovative artistic activity was headed up by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the mastermind behind Die Brucke.

Although Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a world changing artist, he was also a tortured soul. He ended his life on June 15, 1938, depriving society of the treasure that he was. While Kirchner is no longer with us, his art is, and it is still speaking to us all these years later. 
Indeed, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was more than an artist — he was a father of an artistic style called Expressionism, which is now cemented into modern culture.

In your opinion, what artists changed culture and society in significant ways? Who is your personal hero of the art world? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to share your thoughts in the “comments” section below.


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9 thoughts on “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: A Father of Expressionism

  1. petit4chocolatier

    Sad that he ended his life.

    I love many artists; especially Dali and Pollock. That intensity and darkness is authentic, genius, and brilliant with every stroke of paint!

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

  2. howard johnson

    Kirchner is one of my favorites. He wasn’t the first to make a painting’s subject what is felt as opposed to what is seen; nor was he the first to make the line, color and texture of the work express that meaning, but he was one of the best at using all that to show the place of ever more estranged self in an ever more abusive society—a man of his times and ours.
    Thanks for the like, may I ask why?

  3. Terry Kavanagh

    Goya was a great painter . Often described as the first modern artist . Kirchner was a wonderfully vibrant artist . Tragically driven to suicide by a combination of serious
    depression , which was exacerbated by his experiences in the First World War and
    Nazi persecution of their so – called ” Degenerate art “.

  4. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    Didn’t know about him. It’s sad he was a tortured soul and ended his life. Makes one wonder if his art helped him before that sorrowful event. The expression on the first painting really looks like sorrow. What a talent. A lovely homage to him. Paulette

  5. akeem54

    The story of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is quite interestiing though it ended sadly. The truth is, the track of such great mind can not be erased. Their kind abound world wide.


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