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Alfred Döblin’s Apartment and Doctor’s Office (?-1913)

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Portrait Dr. Alfred Döblin, 1913, Brücke-Museum

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Portrait Alfred Döblin, 1912/13, photograph, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach

After three years as an assistant doctor at the municipal hospital “Am Urban” in Kreuzberg, Alfred Döblin realised his dream of opening his own practice in 1911. From then on, he received patients not far from Hallesches Tor, first as a general practitioner and obstetrician, then later as a psychiatrist. He had lived here at Blücherstraße 18 since 1909.

Even then, he was not only active as a physician, but also as a writer. In 1910, together with the publisher and author Herwarth Walden, he founded the avant-garde journal Der Sturm and published expressionist prose in it. Through Walden, he met the Brücke artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in 1912 – the beginning of a friendship marked by mutual esteem and intense conversations.

Over the next two years, Kirchner painted, drew and photographed the writer many times. Döblin, in turn, appreciated his artist friend’s work so much that he commissioned him to illustrate two of his works: the story Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death, 1912/13) and the play Comtess Mizzi (Countess Mizzi, 1913).

Although the two men lost sight of each other for a while after World War I, they kept in touch even after Kirchner moved to Switzerland.

Isabel Fischer

Explore Berlin through the Eyes of the Brücke Artists