Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German expressionist painter and printmaker and one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke or "The Bridge", a key group leading to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th century art. He volunteered for army service in the First World War, but soon suffered a breakdown and was discharged. In 1933, his work was branded as "degenerate" by the Nazis and in 1937 over 600 of his works were sold or destroyed. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. In 1901, he began studying architecture at the Königliche Technische Hochschule (technical university) of Dresden. The institution provided a wide range of studies in addition to architecture, such as freehand drawing, perspective drawing and the historical study of art. He became close friends there with Fritz Bleyl, whom he met during the first term. They discussed art together and also studied nature, having a radical outlook in common. Kirchner continued studies in Munich 1903–1904, returning to Dresden in 1905 to complete his degree. 1905, Kirchner, along with Bleyl and two other architecture students, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Erich Heckel, founded the artists group Die Brücke ("The Bridge"). From then on, he committed himself to art. Personal life: In 1906, he met Doris Große, who was his favoured model until 1911. There is no sign, that he was married at all. His good friends were painters, working with him. Death: as his works were branded degenerate in Nazi Germany, Kirchner's nervous condition and loneliness returned. He committed suicide on July 15, 1938, at a time when his style seemed once again to be changing.