Tower Room, Fehmarn (Self Portrait with Erna)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880 - 1938)

1913. Oil on canvas, 36 x 32 1/4". 1991.001.023

This work belongs to the Berlin period of Ernst Kircher’s career, when he moved from Dresden and after he began to focus more on outdoor subjects. Here, the artist is shown with Erna Schilling, his lifelong companion and model, at a favorite retreat, the lighthouse on the island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea. At Fehmarn, Kirchner sought to get closer to a primitive state of mind and feeling in order to reach truths about man and nature. This work is both a search for self-identity and an attempt to offer the viewer a meaningful declaration about life—qualities that define the general character of German Expressionism.

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