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  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    May 6, 1880 - Jun 15, 1938
  • Potsdamer Platz - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German expressionist painter and printmaker and one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke or "The Bridge", a key group leading to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th century art. He volunteered for army service in the First World War, but soon suffered a breakdown and was discharged. In 1933, his work was branded as "degenerate" by the Nazis and in 1937 over 600 of his works were sold or destroyed. In 1938 he committed suicide.
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Potsdamer Platz
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  • Potsdamer Platz

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
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  • 1914
    Oil on canvas
    200 x 150 cm
    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany.

    Potsdamer Platz is an unusual street scene painting because it actually shows a place that's identifiable. We have pictures of this time, and this is precisely what it looked like.

    It was a hectic plaza, really, in Berlin—one of the most important shopping areas during the day. But at night, it was a place where prostitutes came out to find their clients. They're standing on a traffic island, but it becomes almost the kind of pedestal that one might see in a department store window that revolved, so that the outfits of the women could be seen in the round. So there is this posing, kind of haughty quality, particularly to the woman in blue.

    These women tell lots of different tales. The woman in the blue seems quite young. The woman in the black seems quite old and is wearing a very unusual hat, which was called a widow's veil. The prostitutes took up wearing this hat, as a form of disguise, so that they'd fit in. But also, to gain sympathy, in some cases. There's also a morality tale here, of younger woman starting down the road of prostitution and they staying in it and then becoming kind of old and worn and haggard, like the woman in the black.

    There seems to be danger everywhere. One man is stepping right into the street. The street is this greenish color, which has a nightmare effect.

    Kirchner goes another step further, by cutting the pedestal in the front, in such a way that you feel as a viewer that you're right about to step on that traffic island yourself. So the viewer is really implicated in this scene.

    Why settle for a paper print when you can add sophistication to your rooms with a high quality 100% hand-painted oil painting on canvas at wholesale price? Order this beautiful oil painting today! that's a great way to impress friends, neighbors and clients alike.

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Other paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner:

Kummeralp Mountain and Two Sheds
Kummeralp Mountain and Two Sheds
Frauen auf der Strasse
Frauen auf der Strasse
Berlin Street Scene
Berlin Street Scene
Berggipfel (Mountain Top)
Berggipfel (Mountain Top)
Ernst Ludwig KirchnerErnst Ludwig Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Originally a student of architecture, Kirchner first became interested in fine arts during a visit to Nuremberg. The traditional German engravings he saw there served as the inspiration for his earliest efforts in the field of etching. When he began to paint he was influenced by Neo-Impressionism but, by 1904, the influence of the Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch and of African and oriental art helped him to simplify his use of form and color into large flat washes. The dominant member of Die Brücke, Kirchner worked with his friends in Dresden, graduated from architectural school in 1907, and then, with the members of Die Brücke, went to Berlin. It was there, between 1911 and 1914, that he painted his most famous works, portraying the eerie, worldly, and artificial life that was then typical of Berlin. He painted portraits and street scenes, locking his people in a web of rhythmic lines, distorting their forms and features into what he called "hieroglyphics," tinting them with unreal colors, and abstracting them from a reality that seems just beyond the reach of the known, and therefore haunting and hallucinatory.

While serving in the German Army, in 1916, Kirchner fell seriously ill and, in 1917, he left Germany for Switzerland, where he remained, constantly fighting against ailments, until his suicide in 1938 at Davos. The change of environment prompted a shift in the subject matter of his paintings, and the mountain landscapes and peasants of his later works are expressive of the link between man and nature. Late in the 1920's, he was much influenced by Picasso, and his work closely approached that of the Spanish artist during those years. However, his symbolic landscapes, often allegorical and even monumental in their symbolism, are more truly his own. Kirchner was also a sculptor and graphic artist, exceptionally talented in the making of woodcuts, and as forceful in black and white as in his vividly colored oil paintings.