German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse
March 27–July 11, 2011
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.