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In 1904, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and a group of friends formed an association known as Die Brücke (The Bridge). In Dresden, Germany, they collaborated with the intention of becoming a link to the future for “all the revolutionary and surging elements” of an era marked by political and social upheaval. In Portrait of the Poet Ghuttmann, Kirchner’s agitated brushwork, bold color combinations and distorted forms express unfettered emotion. Like other Brücke artists, Kirchner admired non-European art for its directness and its apparent freedom from the constraints of civilization. Elongated, simplified facial features reveal the inf luence of African masks, and Kirchner depicts his friend holding a Japanese umbrella.

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