In the year 1914, long before his persecution under the Nazis drove him to suicide, Kirchner (1880-1938) created a central work of expressionism: "Potsdamer Platz." A nighttime street scene on Berlin's busiest crossroad, the painting is evidence that the city's world-famous club scene today has its roots in a buzzing nightlife a century ago, the German News Agency reported.
At the same time, the painting already hints at the tragedies still to come, with one female figure dressed in black and a veil, presumably widowed after the onset of World War I. Kirchner's scene is perhaps one of the most significant artworks for the city of Berlin, and, somewhat aptly, it was removed from public view during the coronavirus lockdown that emptied Potsdamer Platz and other parts of the city.
Over several years of renovation, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin did not have walls to hang this work on, but it is now once again bringing this famous expressionist work back for the public, along with four other works by Kirchner.
For Joachim Jaeger, director of the central Berlin gallery, "Potsdamer Platz" is one of the highlights of the "The Art of Society 1900-1945" exhibition, and the collection of the National Gallery," with which the museum is reopening on August 22. The Neue Nationalgalerie was closed at the end of 2014 and has gone through five years of fundamental renovation.
With this iconic building, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) created a striking museum for 20th-century art in the late 1960s