Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig (1880–1938) By Moseman, Eleanor
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was one of the major visual artists of the avant-garde in Germany in the first half of the twentieth century and is regarded as a cornerstone of first-generation Expressionism. Raised in a conservative Protestant family in provincial Chemnitz, he rejected the ideals and morality of his educated bourgeois upbringing and chose the bohemian life of a modern artist. As a young architecture student at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden (1901–5), Kirchner mastered naturalistic rendering, perspectival drawing, and colour theory. In his Expressionist work he exploited these skills while simultaneously challenging their necessity for modern representation.