Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Downfall: The Dead Kern (Niedergang: Der tote Kern) (tailpiece, page 110) from Neben der Heerstrasse (Off the Main Road). 1923

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Downfall: The Dead Kern (Niedergang: Der tote Kern) (tailpiece, page 110) from Neben der Heerstrasse (Off the Main Road) 1923

  • Not on view

Using the woodcut technique, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner created twenty-two illustrations, the title page, and the cover for this collection of six novellas by Swiss author Jakob Bosshart.

Kirchner met Bosshart in Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland, the Alpine village to which the artist had moved in 1918. Bosshart, like Kirchner, had originally come to Davos seeking alleviation for his depression. Artist and writer were each captivated with the other's work, and presumably around the summer and fall of 1922, Kirchner began to create the woodcuts for Bosshart's texts.

Bosshart's novellas, written between 1917 and 1922, feature peculiar characters off the beaten track. The protagonists are predominantly village people struggling with a variety of moral conflicts, often triggered by the challenges of modernization. Kirchner's affinity for Bosshart's texts was likely related to his own interest in the vernacular traditions and folk culture of the area.

Publication excerpt from Iris Schmeisser, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Jakob Bosshart
Woodcut from an illustrated book with twenty-four woodcuts
composition: 1 5/16 x 3 1/16" (3.3 x 7.8 cm); page: 7 1/2 x 5 1/8" (19 x 13 cm)
Verlag von Grethlein & Co., Zürich/Leipzig
E. Haberland, Leipzig, Germany
unknown; plus special edition of 120
Gift of G. David Thompson
Object number
Illustrated book
Neben der Heerstrasse (Off the Main Road)
Drawings and Prints

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