By Qingya Tu
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s painting Woman in a hat, 1911, portrays the figure of a sultry woman against a background of contrasting colours. It is an image that brings to mind a city on the cusp of modernity; a world where the role of woman is undergoing fundamental change and embracing new freedoms. The posture and dress of Kirchner’s woman may be a symbolic interpretation of an increasingly urbanised and industrialised society. Geometric patterns are evident in the work: this was common during the period as they were viewed as symbols of modern art. Kirchner’s repeated use of angular shapes on the woman’s body may indicate the conflicting and contradictory political ideas that existed at the time.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Woman in a hat, 1911, oil on canvas, State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth