Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The Murderer (Der Mörder). 1914

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

The Murderer (Der Mörder)


composition (irreg.): 19 3/4 x 23 7/16" (50.1 x 59.5 cm); sheet: 19 3/4 x 25 11/16" (50.1 x 65.2 cm)
the artist, Berlin
7 known impressions; plus 1 known impression of state I
Object number
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner has 176 works online.
There are 20,196 prints online.

This print was inspired by Emile Zola's 1890 novel La Bête humaine (The human beast), about a railroad engine driver compelled to murder the women he finds sexually attractive. Kirchner used slashing, frenzied lines to depict the heinous killings, which he may have implicitly linked to sensationalized crimes of his own day. Blood oozing from the victim’s abdomen matches the color of the curtains and rug that tightly enclose the room.

Gallery label from German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, March 27–July 11, 2011

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Sold through Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Stuttgart, to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1951

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