new-york

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Michael Werner | New York

This survey of twenty late paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is an important if ambiguous event. Even when taking into account the historic achievements of both Der Blaue Reiter (Kandinsky and Company) and Die Brücke (founded by Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, and Erich Heckel), it seems fair to say that the greater glory of that moment was captured by the French: by Matisse and the Fauvists, by Picasso and the Cubists. Certainly Kirchner’s own adaptation of Cubist tropes, the parallelizing and fanning stroke typical of his famous urban scenes of streetwalkers, for example, had, by World War I, already gone far in transforming the chromatic fervor of his earlier, Fauvistically touched Expressionism.

During the Weimar years, Kirchner’s painting began to be seen as old hat, owing to the emergence of an obsessively observed realist mode practiced by artists including Otto Dix, Christian Schad,

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