Press Release
16 March 2005
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Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of works on paper by Ernst Kirchner.

Born in Aschaffenburg in 1880, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was one of the most prolific and creative artists of the German Expressionist movement of the early twentieth century. Educated at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, he and his colleagues Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and the contemporary literary mind Emil Nolde founded the Die Brücke group (the Bridge) in 1906 as a means to integrate more expressive work into the art scene. They were strongly influenced by a variety of sources: Albrecht Dürer, Edward Munch, Vasilij Kandisnsky, and even primitive African sculpture. As a leader of this group, Kirchner developed his personal style, producing an extensive amount of work and exhibiting it regularly. He went on to have major exhibitions at the Nationalgalerie Berlin (1921), Kunsthalle Basel (1923), and Kunsthalle Berne (1933). But from 1926 he suffered from depression, which worsened in 1937 when works were confiscated from public collections by the Nazi regime; thirty-two were included in Hitler's Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition held in Munich.

Out of the various media Kirchner produced including drawings, paintings, sculpture and woodcuts, drawing was the technique he employed the most. This exhibition is a comprehensive overview of little-known drawings spanning over thirty years of Kirchner's oeuvre. The pictures range in period, subject matter and technique, from images of bohemian street life scenes in Berlin to models drawn in the studio, to mountain landscapes in Davos, Switzerland where the artist spent the last twenty years of his life.

From the outset, one of the essential principles of Kirchner's artistic ambition was his search for an increasingly simplified form of expression. He transformed his observation of movement into rich, formal gestures and inventive sketches. In his extensive writings about his own work using the pseudonym Louis de Marsalle, he emphasized the significance of the rapidity of his work, claiming it was through this laying down of lines through quick observation and direct notation that he was able to capture the finest, first sensation.

A full color catalogue will accompany this exhibition.

The exhibition is on view 6 April through 7 May 2005. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am until 6pm. Please contact the gallery for more information.