Portrait of Hans Frisch

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Portrait of Hans Frisch, 1907

Oil on canvas

Collection of the McNay Art Museum, museum purchase.


In 1905, Kirchner and three other artists, none of whom had received formal training in the visual arts, founded the German expressionist movement called Die Brücke which opposed the established academy of art and confronted feelings of alientation from the modern world. Members of this movement believed that art should represent authentic emotion rather than imitate real life, and this led to an expressive style characterized by energetic brush stokes, heightened color, and a simplified approach to form, all of which are found in Portrait of Hans Frisch. Two decades after this painting, Kirchner’s art is declared “degenerate” by the Nazis and is confiscated from German museums. Despondent and in poor health, Kirchner committed suicide the following year in 1938.