There is considerable detail added by Kirchner here, somewhat out of kilter with many of his more famous paintings. We can see the Rhine sweeping past in what appears to be fairly windy conditions. A couple stroll past in the foreground, whilst a dog scurries around excitedly. A river sweeps underneath a bridge which crops off the right hand side of the composition. Over the river we can see the sprawling city of Basel, complete with many historic buildings placed in close vicinity in a hilly setting. There are also touches of foliage on the near side, and a threatening looking skyline which provides an overall atmosphere for the painting.
Despite the moody atmosphere, View of Basel and the Rhine still provides a more calm and enjoyable depiction of city life than was seen earlier in the artist's career when he provided several nighttime scenes of Berlin and then Dresden. Those discussed the seedier sides of these two cities where as this artwork provides a calming feel, at least on this side of the river. Taking a stroll alongside the river appears as a leisurely pastime, particularly with your own partner and pet alongside. Kirchner tended to find humans complex and not always beautiful, be it physically or mentally. His landscapes and cityscapes offered an alternative environment in which he would sometimes feel more comfortable.
View of Basel and the Rhine is now a part of the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum and sits alongside some other famous paintings by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Max Ernst, Paul Gauguin, Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, making this venue well worth a visit if you live in its vicinity. North America continues to build up an impressive list of art galleries and museums, some specialising in their own native artists, others concentrating on art from Europe, Asia or Africa.