Born in 1880 in Germany, Ernest Ludwig Kirchner was a printmaker, painter, and sculptor. He was a leader of Die Brucke (“The Bridge”), a group of Expressionists artists. Although he studied architecture in Dresden, he soon left to take art classes at Wilhelm von Debschitz and Hermann Obrist. While there, he developed a friendship with fellow painters, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Together they called for artistic freedom. Kirchner revitalized the art of woodblock printing and developed an interest in primitive art.
Many of Kirchner’s paintings focused on the human body, often while in movement. Many of his paintings captured life in Germany prior to World War I and depicted subjects who were at war with their environments or themselves. He was known for using bold, yet unnatural color choices and crude, agitated lines. Some of his most famous pieces include Street (1913), Blick auf Davos (1924), and Marzella (1909).
Kirchner suffered from mental illness and moved to Switzerland after World War I, where he was ostracized by the mainstream German art community. He was a victim of the Nazis campaign against Degenerate Art and committed suicide in 1938.