Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
For the first time Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938) and Oskar Kokoschka (1886 – 1980), the protagonists of German and Austrian Expressionism, are presented side by side in an exhibition. Several points of intersection exist between the biographies of both artists: the Secession style, or Art nouveau, of their artistic beginnings; the places in which they were active, such as Berlin and Dresden; and their stigmatisation as »degenerate artists« by the Nazis in 1937. To underpin their reputations as pioneers of expressionist art, both Kirchner and Kokoschka sought to pre-date their early works. Both artists shaped and controlled their public image throughout their lives. Kokoschka generously provided his early biographers with pre-selected information about his life and work on condition that said information was adopted verbatim. Kirchner invented a fictitious French art expert under the pen name Louis de Marsalle and tried to influence the reception of his work in this way.