1907 – 1960
Age of Global Conflict

Expressionism & Kirchner's Street, Dresden

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden, oil on canvas, 1908 (MoMA)

Speakers: Dr. Juliana Kreinik, Dr. Steven Zucker, Dr. Beth Harris


Your Comments (4)

Previous Comments

Ben Barrett wrote on Saturday, October 16, 2010

A really good discussion here, but I would like to know about the expressionist movement in general and Kirchner's thought behind the colours here.

Alexis Dixon wrote on Monday, March 07, 2011

I agree that the painting really captures that feeling of isolation, but I also think that there is a real sense of being trapped or closed in for the viewer. Both sides of the painting are full of people who are extremely close together and the center of the painting is closed off, so there is no escape, which is symbolic for the idea that there is no escape from modernism and the future. The prostitutes close in on the viewer which feels very claustrophobic to me. I liked the idea of theatricality that was mentioned. The faces of the women remind me of that of a vampire or zombie even that preys on creatures in the night. I think the colour choices really enhance the feeling of the painting.

Kelsie wrote on Thursday, March 10, 2011

I think that Street, Dresden is fantastic. Expressionism was a very avante-guard movement in which artists such as Kirchner and Edvard Munch sought to distort the world in their paintings for emotional effect rather than physical reality. Kirchner has intentionally exaggerated the colours of this street scene in such an extreme way in order to convey the psychological alienation brought on by modernization in the early twentieth century. It creates a very aggressive scene filled with angst. I am just fascinated at how such a crowded street scene can give off such a powerful feeling of isolation.

Braxton wrote on Saturday, February 02, 2013

Even though it is a crowded dense seen, I get a feeling of isolation from each indiviual figure. The outlining of each figure and the stark differences in the color used for each figure really shows the isolation. They seem to be lost, between old ways, and modernism. They were afraid of what lay ahead, and their eyes seem to look past the future and into a void of nothing. A blank stare with no firm plantation of what lie ahead.

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Where and When

Dresden, Germany
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