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Leipziger Straße

Big City Life Under the Open Sky

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Leipziger Straße I, 1914, Brücke-Museum

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Droschke in der Straße, Leipziger Straße II, 1914, Brücke-Museum

Berlin was changing rapidly at the outset of the 20th century. With the growing number of inhabitants, the volume of traffic also increased and the urban infrastructure was transformed. This also affected Leipziger Straße: “With the rapid development of West Berlin, Leipziger Straße has taken on the look of a grand arterial road, and has thus become the most important traffic and business street,” states the 1912 travel guide Berlin für Kenner. At that time, 19 trams and 3 bus lines were already running through the lively street; here horse-drawn carriages encountered cars and pedestrians.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Leipziger Straße, Kreuzung, 1914, Brücke-Museum, Karl und Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Stiftung

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner also frequently strolled along Leipziger Straße or dropped in at one of the surrounding bars, such as the popular artists’ meeting place “Café Josty.” He was fascinated by the hustle and bustle that welcomed him there. Since, in his own words, “the observation of movement in particular inspires creation,” it is hardly surprising that he captured the busyness of Leipziger Straße in several drawings and prints.

Antonia Moldenhauer


Leipziger Straße, 1920s, video excerpt from: Berlin-Aufnahmen 20er Jahre, Landesarchiv Berlin, F Rep. 400 No. 633

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