Die Brücke

Last updated
Fritz Bleyl poster for the first Die Brucke show in 1906 Bleyl-Poster.jpg
Fritz Bleyl poster for the first Die Brücke show in 1906
Die Brucke manifesto 1906 Programm der Brucke.jpg
Die Brücke manifesto 1906

Die Brücke (The Bridge) was a group of German expressionist artists formed in Dresden in 1905. Founding members were Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Later members were Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein and Otto Mueller. The seminal group had a major impact on the evolution of modern art in the 20th century and the creation of expressionism. [1] The group came to an end around 1913. The Brücke Museum in Berlin was named after the group.

Contents

Die Brücke is sometimes compared to the roughly contemporary French group of the Fauves. Both movements shared interests in primitivist art and in the expressing of extreme emotion through high-keyed colors that were very often non-naturalistic. Both movements employed a drawing technique that was crude, and both groups shared an antipathy to complete abstraction. The Die Brücke artists' emotionally agitated paintings of city streets and sexually charged events transpiring in country settings made their French counterparts, the Fauves, seem tame by comparison. [2]

History

The founding members of Die Brücke in 1905 were four Jugendstil architecture students: Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966), Erich Heckel (1883–1970), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884–1976). They met through the Königliche Technische Hochschule (technical university) of Dresden, where Kirchner and Bleyl began studying in 1901 and became close friends in their first term. [3] They discussed art together and also studied nature, [3] having a radical outlook in common. [4] Kirchner continued studies in Munich 19031904, returning to Dresden in 1905 to complete his degree. [5] The institution provided a wide range of studies in addition to architecture, such as freehand drawing, perspective drawing and the historical study of art. [6] The name "Die Brücke" was intended to "symbolize the link, or bridge, they would form with art of the future". [7]

Die Brücke aimed to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic expression, which would form a bridge (hence the name) between the past and the present. [4] They responded both to past artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder, as well as contemporary international avant-garde movements. [4] The group published a broadside called Programme in 1906, where Kirchner wrote:

We call all young people together, and as young people, who carry the future in us, we want to wrest freedom for our actions and our lives from the older, comfortably established forces. [7]

As part of the affirmation of their national heritage, they revived older media, particularly woodcut prints. [4] The group developed a common style based on vivid color, emotional tension, violent imagery, and an influence from primitivism. After first concentrating exclusively on urban subject matter, the group ventured into southern Germany on expeditions arranged by Mueller and produced more nudes and arcadian images. They invented the printmaking technique of linocut, although they at first described them as traditional woodcuts, which they also made. [8]

The group members initially "isolated" themselves in a working-class neighborhood of Dresden, aiming thereby to reject their own bourgeois backgrounds. Erich Heckel was able to obtain an empty butcher's shop on the Berlinerstrasse in Friedrichstadt for their use as a studio. [9] Bleyl described the studio as:

that of a real bohemian, full of paintings lying all over the place, drawings, books and artist’s materials much more like an artist’s romantic lodgings than the home of a well-organised architecture student. [4]
Painting of the group members by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1926/7 EineKunstlergemeinschaft.jpg
Painting of the group members by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1926/7

Kirchner's became a venue which overthrew social conventions to allow casual love-making and frequent nudity. [4] Group life-drawing sessions took place using models from the social circle, rather than professionals, and choosing quarter-hour poses to encourage spontaneity. [4] Bleyl described one such model, Isabella, a fifteen-year-old girl from the neighbourhood, as "a very lively, beautifully built, joyous individual, without any deformation caused by the silly fashion of the corset and completely suitable to our artistic demands, especially in the blossoming condition of her girlish buds." [10]

The group composed a manifesto (mostly Kirchner's work), which was carved on wood and asserted a new generation, "who want freedom in our work and in our lives, independence from older, established forces." [4]

Otto Mueller, 1912 Jahresmappe.png
Otto Mueller, 1912

In September and October 1906, the first group exhibition was held, focused on the female nude, in the showroom of K.F.M. Seifert and Co. in Dresden. [10]

Emil Nolde (1867–1956) and Max Pechstein (1881–1955) joined the group in 1906. Bleyl married in 1907, and, with a concern to support his family, left the group. [3] Otto Mueller (1874–1930) joined in 1910.

Between 1907 and 1911, Brücke members stayed during the summer at the Moritzburg lakes and on the island of Fehmarn. [5] In 1911, Kirchner moved to Berlin, where he founded a private art school, MIUM-Institut, in collaboration with Max Pechstein with the aim of promulgating "Moderner Unterricht im Malen" (modern teaching of painting). This was not a success and closed the following year. [5]

In 1913, Kirchner wrote Chronik der Brücke (Brücke chronicle), which led to the ending of the group. [5]

Legacy

Die Brücke was one of two groups of German painters fundamental to Expressionism, the other being Der Blaue Reiter group ("The Blue Rider"), formed in Munich in 1911. The influence of Die Brücke went far beyond its founding members. As a result, the style of a number of painters is associated to Die Brücke, even if they were not formerly part of the group. As an example, French academician and art specialist, Maurice Rheims mentions Frédéric Fiebig as the only Latvian painter who was really part of Die Brücke expressionist movement, although he was not necessarily conscious of it. [11]

Notes and references

  1. "The Artists' Association 'Brücke'", Brücke Museum. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  2. Artspoke, Robert Atkins, 1993, ISBN   978-1-55859-388-6
  3. 1 2 3 "Fritz Bleyl (1880-1966)", Brücke Museum. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Kirchner - Expressionism and the city", Royal Academy, 2003. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Ernst Ludwig Kirchner", Brucke Museum. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  6. "The Student Years of the Brücke and their Teachers", ingentaconnect.com (abstract of book by Peter Lasko), from Art History, Volume 20, Number 1, March 1997 , pp. 61-99. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  7. 1 2 Dempsey, Amy (2010). Styles, Schools and Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art. Thames & Hudson. p. 74. ISBN   978-0-500-28844-3.
  8. "Artists by Movement - Die Brücke", artcyclopedia.com. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
  9. Peter Selz, German Expressionist Painting, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957, p. 78
  10. 1 2 Simmons, Sherwin. "Ernst Kirchner's Streetwalkers: Art, Luxury, and Immorality in Berlin, 1913-16", The Art Bulletin, March 2000, from findarticles.com. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  11. Lévy, Hervé (2011). "" Frédéric Fiebig, l'hermite du Tännchel ", POLY, no 137, page 92".

Related Research Articles

Expressionism

Expressionism is a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists have sought to express the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 20th-century German painter, sculptor, engraver and printmaker

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. His work was branded as "degenerate" by the Nazis in 1933, and in 1937 more than 600 of his works were sold or destroyed.

Neue Galerie New York

The Neue Galerie New York is a museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design located in the William Starr Miller House at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. Established in 2001, it is one of the most recent additions to New York City's famed Museum Mile, which runs from 83rd to 105th streets on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Erich Heckel German artist

Erich Heckel was a German painter and printmaker, and a founding member of the group Die Brücke which existed 1905-1913. His work was part of the art competitions at the 1928 Summer Olympics and the 1932 Summer Olympics.

Otto Mueller German painter and printmaker

Otto Müller was a German painter and printmaker of the Die Brücke expressionist movement.

Max Pechstein

Hermann Max Pechstein was a German expressionist painter and printmaker, and a member of the Die Brücke group.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff German artist

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was a German expressionist painter and printmaker; he was one of the four founders of the artist group Die Brücke.

Hilmar Friedrich Wilhelm Bleyl, known as Fritz Bleyl, was a German artist of the Expressionist school, and one of the four founders of artist group Die Brücke. He designed graphics for the group including, for their first show, a poster, which was banned by the police. He left the group after only two years, when he married, to look after his family, and did not exhibit publicly thereafter.

Pinakothek der Moderne

The Pinakothek der Moderne is a modern art museum, situated in central Munich's Kunstareal. Locals sometimes refer to it as the Dritte ("third") Pinakothek after the Old and New. It is one of the world's largest museums for modern and contemporary art.

Museum Ostwall Museum in Dortmund, Germany

The Museum Ostwall is a museum of modern and contemporary art in Dortmund, Germany. It was founded in the late 1940s, and has been located in the Dortmund U-Tower since 2010. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, objects and photographs from the 20th century, plus over 2,500 graphics, spanning Expressionism through classic modern art to the present day.

Brücke Museum

The Brücke Museum in Berlin houses the world's largest collection of works by members of the group Die Brücke, an early 20th-century German expressionist movement.

Gunzenhauser Museum

The Gunzenhauser Museum is a museum and art gallery located in Chemnitz; third largest city of Saxony, Germany. It contains 2,459 works by 270 modern artists of the 20th century that have been collected by the art dealer Dr. Alfred Gunzenhauser. The Gunzenhauser Museum was inaugurated in December 2007 in the presence of the German President Horst Köhler and is one of the most important museums of Modern Art in Germany.

Hermann Scherer

Hermann Scherer was a German-speaking Swiss Expressionist painter and sculptor.

20th-century Western painting art in the Western world during the 20th century

20th-century Western painting begins with the heritage of late-19th-century painters Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others who were essential for the development of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century, Henri Matisse and several other young artists including the pre-cubist Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck, revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism. Matisse's second version of The Dance signified a key point in his career and in the development of modern painting. It reflected Matisse's incipient fascination with primitive art: the intense warm color of the figures against the cool blue-green background and the rhythmical succession of the dancing nudes convey the feelings of emotional liberation and hedonism.

Museum der Phantasie

The Museum der Phantasie is a museum in Bernried am Starnberger See. Named after Lothar-Günther Buchheim, whose art collection it holds, it was opened to the public on 23 May 2001.

Carl Hagemann businessman and art collector

Carl Hagemann was a German chemist, industrial manager and one of the most important German art collectors and patrons in the first half of the 20th Century.

Will Grohmann was a German art critic and art historian specialized in German Expressionism and abstract art. He was known as the "godfather of modernism".

<i>Street, Berlin</i> (Kirchner)

Street, Berlin is an oil painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted in 1913 before the outbreak of World War 1. At this time, Kirchner painted several different street scenes that illustrated the chaos of city life and the relationship between men and women.

Jill Lloyd is a writer and curator specializing in twentieth-century art, with particular expertise for German and Austrian art. She has organised many critically acclaimed exhibitions for leading museums and has published widely, including her book German Expressionism, Primitivism and Modernity, which was awarded the first National Art Book Prize.

Franz Marc Museum

The Franz Marc Museum is a museum located in Kochel am See, Upper Bavaria, dedicated to German Expressionist painter Franz Marc. The museum shows paintings by Franz Marc, and also works of art of his contemporaries and other important artists of the 20th century, in a permanent and in temporary exhibitions.