The Kirchner exhibition (previously at the National Gallery in Washington and still on at the Royal Academy in London) concentrates on his early years in Berlin, while this one focuses on his middle period. On service during World War I, he suffered a nervous breakdown and moved to Davos in the Swiss Alps to recover. He ended up living there until his death in 1938. Initially he despised mountain life but grew to love it. This exhibition (27 September-4 January 2004) is the first to concentrate on the Davos years in such depth. There are roughly 130 works, practically all of which have been lent by major museums and private collections. As well as the paintings and works on paper, there are a few of his sculptures, tapestries, and, most interestingly, photographs—sometimes landscapes, but mainly the inhabitants. One can trace the process of Kirchner’s chilling out from an uptight Expressionist to a laid-back mountain goat (left, “Winter landscape in moonlight”, 1919). It has been curated by the director of the museum, Bernhard Mendes Bürgi.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: mountain life, Kunstmuseum, Basel'