German Expressionism And Modern Art, 29 Apr 2016 — 27 Aug 2016

German Expressionism And Modern Art

The painting Berghirte im Herbst (“Goatherd in Autumn”) was painted by the Expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in 1921, only a few years after he had left the German metropolis of Berlin for the idyllic Swiss mountain landscape of Davos. He had first visited Davos in 1917, but did not make it his permanent home until later. He regularly spent the summer months on the Stafelalp, where he rented a mountain hut for himself and his paints and canvases. This is where he probably painted “Goatherd in Autumn”, which still manifests much of his “urban style”. Indeed, Kirchner was able to transpose the rapid, jagged style typical of his years in Dresden and, more particularly, Berlin into the landscapes of his new home of Davos. He retained this style, simply adapting it to his new surroundings. The source of inspiration for his magnificent worlds of images was now no longer the erratic life of the metropolis but rather the idyllic mountain region and its inhabitants. This painting is still dominated by Kirchner’s typical Expressionist style, with its richly contrasting colours and its non-perspectival rendering of details: yellow goats, pink screes, blue mountain hut, dusky pink clouds, features that do not reflect reality as seen by the artist but rather an imaginary, expressively composed reality.

The painting is in its original frame. It was ordered by Kirchner himself and then painted. The artist often purchased old frames or had them made according to own drawings, often subsequently cutting them to the required size and then painting then in colours that repeated those of the actual painting. His drawings of frame profiles are to be found in his sketchbooks.

Other landscapes – by Erich Heckel, Conrad Felixmüller, Hans Purrmann and George Grosz – as well as still lifes by Karl Hofer, Christian Rohlfs, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Max Peiffer Watenphul will also be on show in the exhibition. The presentation will be complemented by several abstract works by Fritz Winter and Ernst Wilhelm Nay.

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