FRANKFURT – On 15 June 1938, on the eve of summer, he destroyed a major part of his work before shooting two bullets into his heart. Still shattered by the images of World War I, Ludwig Kirchner had been living for nearly twenty years in Davos, Switzerland, when he chose to end his life in this manner rather than see his work and his own life fall into the hands of the Nazis who were about to take over Austria, right next door. The Städel Museum shows this last period of the Impressionist painter, marked by the wide Alpine landscapes. But, as the first museum to have collected his work, it also leaves a large space to the artist’s Expressionist period in the Brücke group, in the footsteps of Matisse and Munch. This very rich retrospective – nearly 180 works including paintings, drawings and prints – presents a few pieces never seen before. It also tries to show one of its originalities: in order to reduce costs, Kirc hner often painted on both sides of the canvas. Consequently we are deprived of half of his work. For once, the back side of the canvas is brought forward, as is the case of Woman lying down in white blouse, which is finally shown at the expense of the Nude at the window
Kirchner at the Städel Museum, from 23 April to 25 July 2010