From the Catalogue: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Seriously ill and traumatized by World War I, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner initially came to Davos, Switzerland for medical treatment in 1917. Ravaged by paralysis symptoms in his legs and arms as well as his drug and medicine addiction, he intended to make Switzerland a short-term refuge for recovery and convalescence. However, it quickly became his new home and engine for a new creative phase in his oeuvre. Already in the following year, he rented the house “In den Lärchen,” which he retained as a summer residence. In 1921, his life companion, Erna Schilling, finally relocated to Switzerland and they both moved to their new house “Auf dem Wildboden bei Frauenkirch” in 1923. The mountains provided Kirchner protection against the war. He clung to the landscape which he perceived as so positive, explored his new surroundings, and actively sought contact to the farmers, which helped him to overcome his mental and physical problems in the meantime. Reidemeister describes Kirchner’s journey to Davos as follows: “...after diverse stations of a torturous medical history [he] again established roots in the mountains of the Davos valley, in order to become an interpreter of spectacular nature and of a strong human race integrated in its rhythm there.”(Exhibition catalogue: “Expressionism in the Mountains,” also “Kunstmuseum Berlin,” 2007, p. 9).
His admiration of the farmers who lived in close proximity with nature and worked hard physically was expressed by Kirchner in numerous graphic reproductions during this period. His woodcuts are best known in this context but, as we can see in the present work *Der Wanderer* (The Wanderer), he also grappled intensively with etching. Depicting a wanderer traversing the Swiss mountains on a path, this work captivates through the extraordinary choice of the format. With just a few lines, Kirchner creates a mountainscape in which he prominently positions the wanderer through his strong, closely placed drypoint lines.