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Fränzi in front of Carved Chair

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner1910

Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza
Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza

This portrait of a girl from the working-class district of Friedrichstadt in Dresden is one of the finest examples of the Expressionist style of the German group Die Brücke, characterised by the simplification of form and the arbitrary use of colour. Here, Fränzi, who modelled for a number of portraits by Kirchner and other members of the group, sits on a chair whose back has been carved into the shape of a naked woman. The girl stares defiantly at the viewer as the intense green of her face, defined by thick, unnaturalistic brushstrokes, contrasts sharply with the pink flesh tones of the female figure that frames her. The frontal placing of the sitter suggests the influence of Munch, Van Gogh and Gauguin, and also recalls Primitive art.

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