The Davos cultural scene is closely connected with the painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Kirchner (1880–1938) lived in Davos from 1918 until his death and the place inspired him to many significant works. He was the chief representative of German Expressionism.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born in 1880 in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Following an architectural course in Dresden, he and his friends Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff founded the artists society "Brücke" [bridge]. In 1911, Kirchner moved to Berlin. During the years that followed, he reached an initial high point in his work with his expressive pieces .
Kirchner understood that his use of colour and the resultant intensity of his own work was exceptional.
"Keiner hat diese Farben wie ich" [no one else has these colours]
As an architect student, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was well aware of how to deal with the painting areas on his canvases. His large-scale, strongly coloured expressionist paintings were his trademark. A style that Kirchner characterised with his extremely personal, representational and objective notes. The richness of colour and the charisma of the paintings of Kirchner, his expressive paintings of figures and city scenes, the majestic mountain landscapes of Davos and the later abstract works still delight to this day.
To Davos seeking treatment
In 1913 the "Brücke" artists disbanded their society. During his training as a soldier, Kirchner experienced a breakdown in 1915. Following hospital stays in Königstein in Taunus and Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance, he sought treatment in Davos in 1917. Here, he also continued with his comprehensive work. He painted farmers at their work and visionary landscapes, which capture a stunning impression of the alpine landscape.
The richness of colour and the charisma of the paintings of Kirchner still delight to this day.
Setbacks and suicide
In national socialist Germany it was prohibited for Kirchner's paintings to be displayed. In 1936 they were removed from the museums and vilified in the exhibition series "degenerate art". The defamation of his character and his artistic works intensified Kirchner's personal crisis. In June 1938 he took his own life. His grave and that of his life partner, Erna Schilling, can be found in the woodland cemetery in Davos.
The Kirchner museum constantly presents parts of his collection. In special exhibitions, other representatives of classic modern and contemporary art are presented alongside Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
Kirchner Museum Davos
The majority of artistic works from Kirchner are appreciated by Davos in its Kirchner Museum, founded by the art dealer Roman Norbert Ketterer. The architecture of the Kirchner Museum in Davos supports the intention of bringing people and art together. The crystalline building constitutes the architectural counterpart to the art of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.