Viewing a Kirchner painting always makes me want to say more than I know how. I’ve seen this painting several times. A picture best speaks for itself, but a good art critic’s words can add to its impact.
In “Berlin Street Scene” (1913-14) black-clad johns and colorful streetwalkers flicker like burning driftwood as they size up one another for tawdry encounters without ever meeting eyes. Excitement, danger, and braggadocio hang in the air, all distinctly disembodied. The etching “Cocottes at Night” captures this same social dance as a nightmare of movement and tension, a lightning storm of jagged lines.
(Will Heinrich, “The Unstable Artist Who Helped Invent Expressionism,” NYTimes, 10-2-19)
(c) 2019 JMN