Label copy Kirchner was one of the co-founders in Dresden in 1905 of "die Brücke" (the Bridge), a movement which gave rise to German Expressionism. Both movements feature distortions of form and psychological exploration. The Brücke dissolved in 1913 after many of the group’s artists moved to Berlin. The sitter in this portrait, Gerda Schilling, and her sister Erna (who became the artist’s lifelong companion), were dancers in Berlin who frequently posed for Kirchner. In this portrait, Kirchner simplifies Gerda’s large features to create strong geometrical forms that lend monumentality to the depiction. A little figure in Japanese costume sketched just to the right of Gerda’s head may refer to her stage appearances in such dress. The small figure not only enlivens the composition but also increases its psychological tension. (A. Dixon, 20th Century Gallery installation, June 1999)
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