Die Brucke: The 
        Artists
Kirchner / Schmidt‐
   Rotluff/ Heckel/ 
        Nolde
Die Brucke What is it?
• Most of Die Brücke were untrained in art, but the 
  harsh colours and distorted shapes in their ...
Die Brucke What is it?

• Group of German expressionists, founded in Dresden 1905, 
  whose work marked the beginning of m...
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880‐1938)
• In 1905, he formed Die Brücke group along with 
  fellow architecture students. He was...
Nude Dancers,
                       1909.
                     Woodcut




  Ernst Ludwig
    Kirchner
Erich Heckel and
 ...
Kirchner Three bathers 1913

Kirchner, Woman with a Japanese
          Parasol (1909)
Kirchner Bathers at Moritzburg 1909


   Kirchner
Two Nudes, 1907
Nudes in Landscape

• By painting nudes, especially in the open air, Kirchner was trying 
to approach his ideal of a life ...
Changes in Subject Matter
                                  In 1911 Kirchner moves to Berlin
                             ...
Kirchner, Five women in the street,   Kirchner, Street, Berlin, 1913. Oil on
       1913. Oil on canvas.                  ...
The City and the Streets
• Kirchner’s move to Berlin had an enormous impact on the artist, his work become
much more psych...
Kirchner, The Drinker (self-portrait), 1915. Oil on canvas.
The Drinker
Subject: a self‐portrait of the artist after he had been called up to military duty, and after 
   he suffered...
Kirchner's Self-Portrait
   as Soldier (1915)
Self-Portrait as Soldier
• Similar to The Drinker, Kirchner shows a tormented
artists/individual who is incapable of deali...
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,       Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,
Peter Schlemihl: Conflict,   Head of a Sick Man (Self-
     1915, Wood...
What was special about the Die Brucke 
 woodcuts?
• Die Brucke revised the German tradition of woodcut 
  as a major art f...
Style, Form, and Technique

• Woodcutting style is graphic.

• They are clearly outlined, striking, and sharp. 

• Well de...
Head of a Sick Man (Self‐portrait)

• This self‐portrait is a powerful record of his external decline 
  and emotional sta...
Erich Heckel (1883-1970).

•   Founding member of the Dresden based movement in
    1905. His early work was strongly infl...
Erich Heckel, Crouching 
 woman, (1914), 71 x 
    56cm, woodcut.         Heckel, Junges mädchen / 
                      ...
Kopf / Head of a Woman.
                          Original woodcut, 1915.




Heckel Fränzi Reclining
   (1910) Woodcut
Heckel, Like the
                                                 other Brücke
                                           ...
Erich Heckel, Two Men at the Table, 1912, Oil on canvas.
Two Men at the Table

• Demonstrates Heckel’s strong human 
  sympathies, subject matter is not social or 
  political but...
Erich Heckel, Portrait of a Man, 1919, woodcut print.
Erich Heckel, A Glassy Day, 1913, Oil on Canvas
A Glassy Day

• Done right near the end of Die Brucke, his paintings began to 
  change, colour isn’t being used as a mean...
Karl Schmidt‐Rotluff (1884‐1976)

• Like Heckel, his work was heavily inspired 
  by Van Gogh; his canvases are often heav...
Emphasizes connectivity of humanity and nature




              Karl Scmidt-Rotluff, Summer, 1913, Oil on
               ...
Summer

• Loose, often aggressive brushwork, which can be seen in the 
  simplified landscape that the figures are a part ...
Russische Landschaft mit Kreuzweg, 1919
Russian Landscape with Crossing Roads
Woodcut, 39x49 cm, (seventh work of 1919).
Schmidt-Rottluff, Christ and Judas
               (1918)

After the war, Schmidt-Rottluff did a
series of woodcuts with th...
Emil Nolde (1867‐1956)

•   He joined Die Brucke in 1906 brought a special, mystical 
    dimension to the German Expressi...
Emil Nolde, The Last Supper, 1909.
Emil Nolde, Dance Around the Golden Calf, 1910, Oil on canvas
Nolde attempts to revive
                                           religious imagery
                                    ...
The Prophet, woodcut (1912)




Emil Nolde Madonna, 1906
        Woodcut
Emil Nolde, Child and Large Bird,
      1912, Oil on canvas



     Emil Nolde, Excited People,
        1913, Oil on canvas
Nolde’s Work
Characterised by the following stylistic features:
• Artistic composition is done in very simple terms and re...
Henri Matisse, Luxe, calm et volupte,             Karl Scmidt-Rotluff, Summer,
         1904, Oil on canvas,              ...
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Kirchner And Company

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Kirchner And Company

  1. 1. Die Brucke: The  Artists Kirchner / Schmidt‐ Rotluff/ Heckel/  Nolde
  2. 2. Die Brucke What is it? • Most of Die Brücke were untrained in art, but the  harsh colours and distorted shapes in their work  successfully expressed their strong feelings and vivid  imaginations. • The group moved to Berlin in  1910 and disbanded in  controversy in 1913. 
  3. 3. Die Brucke What is it? • Group of German expressionists, founded in Dresden 1905,  whose work marked the beginning of modern art in Germany. • Name indicated their faith in the Art of the Future –which they  saw their own work was to serve as a bridge towards. • The principal members were the architectural student Ernst  Ludwig Kirchner, in whose studio they regularly gathered, and  his friends Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt‐Rottluff, and, later, Emil  Nolde and Max Pechstein.  • Rejecting academic tradition, realism, and impressionism, they  drew inspiration from German medieval and Renaissance art,  Art Nouveau, Primitive art, and the French Post‐impressionists  Van Gogh, Gauguin, and the Fauvists’.
  4. 4. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880‐1938) • In 1905, he formed Die Brücke group along with  fellow architecture students. He was a young man  with a strong sense of a mission. • Kirchner was considered the group's leader and he  recruited Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde to join the  movement in 1906.  • Kirchner who introduced the group to Primitivism. • During World War I, Kirchner struggled with  alcoholism and he was discharged from the army in  1915. • Over the next few years, he was in and out of  institutions. His chronic insomnia led to  dependence on drugs and alcohol which intensified  his severe emotional and physiological problems.
  5. 5. Nude Dancers, 1909. Woodcut Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Erich Heckel and Dodo, 1909 Black crayon on paper
  6. 6. Kirchner Three bathers 1913 Kirchner, Woman with a Japanese Parasol (1909)
  7. 7. Kirchner Bathers at Moritzburg 1909 Kirchner Two Nudes, 1907
  8. 8. Nudes in Landscape • By painting nudes, especially in the open air, Kirchner was trying  to approach his ideal of a life that was free from the bourgeois  moral inhibitions and in harmony with nature  similar to  Gauguin's work from the South Pacific. • This idea also ties into Kirchner’s interest in Nietzche’s ideas  about an original and pristine Being, uncorrupted by civilisation. • At this time in Germany there had also been a sort of nudist cult  (1890s) which was anti‐bourgeois, anti‐urban, and tied to the  nationalistic German youth movement (post‐1904) and Dresden  had 11 established areas practicing. • The brushwork has an air of freedom about it and the colours are  carried throughout the work from the way the bodies are painted  to the way that nature is painted  Kirchner is trying to show a  close relationship between man and nature.
  9. 9. Changes in Subject Matter In 1911 Kirchner moves to Berlin and turn his attention to life in the city as one of his major artistic themes. Some subject matter includes: • city scenes • prostitutes • the circus • dance The circus, held an affinity for Kirchner, he felt that the performers were no different that artists, selling their souls to win the favour and money of the bourgeois. It was felt by Die Brucke artists that the circus and danse halls expressed the vibrancy and dynamism of life within the restrictions of the city. Kirchener, Bareback Rider, 1912
  10. 10. Kirchner, Five women in the street, Kirchner, Street, Berlin, 1913. Oil on 1913. Oil on canvas. canvas
  11. 11. The City and the Streets • Kirchner’s move to Berlin had an enormous impact on the artist, his work become much more psychologically driven and his art is an outlet for this. This is reinforced by Freud’s ideas that “Art is a conventionally accepted reality in which, thanks to artistic illusion, symbols and substitutes are able to provoke real emotions…” • Kirchner had a love-hate relationship with the city. On one hand he wanted to shake the German bourgeoisie (who had become ‘fattened’ by the industry revolution of the 1870s) and present them with the realities of the city ie. prostitution, motor vehicles, hustle and bustle. On the other hand he wanted to celebrate the efforts and energy of those exploited by the bourgeoisie. • His street scenes show much more angularity that before (influence of Gothic art, woodcut prints, and Grunewald’s style) along with a new colour palette that abandons the Fauvist vibrancy in place of a darker palette. • Sickly colour used to show the sickness that the city imbues. The prostitues’ high fashion is embellished, the feathers reminiscent of birds-of-prey. • The modern city is shown with each work (use of the automobile as a symbol of modernisation). • The women seem to have an air of aloofness and attitude of disinterest, which was is was an allusion of the laws of the time that banned prostitution.
  12. 12. Kirchner, The Drinker (self-portrait), 1915. Oil on canvas.
  13. 13. The Drinker Subject: a self‐portrait of the artist after he had been called up to military duty, and after  he suffered his nervous breakdown. He paints the metropolitan psyche here as a lost  soul in a state of regression or devolution. Context: Germany in the years during and surrounding WWI was not a place of joyful and  frivolous atmosphere. Kirchner, anxious to be inducted, drown his worries in absinthe  (about a litre a day), the glass seen on the table. • The artist/drinker is confronted by his own limitations “The heaviest burden of all is the  pressur of the war and the increasing superficiality.” Style: Curves are eliminated by sharply acute angles and slashing diagonal lines. • An edgy, congested scene that puts you on emotional edge. The space splinters, zigzags,  and implodes on the individual.  • Exaggerated use of colour, contrasts red and blue tones. Iconography: the glass of absinthe as a sign of his self‐destruction, heightened by the evil  green colour. • The face is mask like; the body almost disappears under the coat, and the scarf wraps  itself around his neck in a menacing way. The figure seems to suffer inertia, incapable  of action.
  14. 14. Kirchner's Self-Portrait as Soldier (1915)
  15. 15. Self-Portrait as Soldier • Similar to The Drinker, Kirchner shows a tormented artists/individual who is incapable of dealing with the world that has been forced upon him. • He paints himself in uniform, symbolic of his service in the war, the severed hand is thought to be significant of his inability to approach his art, the naked woman whom he has his back turned, which alludes to the former life that he once embraced. • Kirchner said, “I stagger to work but all my work is in vain and the mediocre is tearing everything down in its onslaught. I’m now like the whores I used to paint. Washed out…I keep on trying to get some order in my thoughts and to create a picture of the age out of the confusion, which is after all my function.”
  16. 16. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Peter Schlemihl: Conflict, Head of a Sick Man (Self- 1915, Woodcut. portrait),1918, woodcut,
  17. 17. What was special about the Die Brucke  woodcuts? • Die Brucke revised the German tradition of woodcut  as a major art form. • Indeed the difference between the woodcuts of the  Die Brucke artists and those of artists in other  countries was that their revival in Germany  contributed to the character of painting and  sculpture. • Kirchner wrote, “Making woodcuts, which I’d learnt  from my father, helped me to simpler, stable forms.”
  18. 18. Style, Form, and Technique • Woodcutting style is graphic. • They are clearly outlined, striking, and sharp.  • Well delineated and clearly and vividly  described. • Strong contrast of black and white.
  19. 19. Head of a Sick Man (Self‐portrait) • This self‐portrait is a powerful record of his external decline  and emotional state as it was executed Head of a Sick Man,  in the sanatorium at Kreuzlingen in 1918. • Delicate hatching, with short lines placed closely together,  make the narrow face with its high forehead, deep‐set eyes  and sunken cheeks appear frozen in the picture plane. • The sheer number of the small cuts also introduces an  element of nervous agitation.
  20. 20. Erich Heckel (1883-1970). • Founding member of the Dresden based movement in 1905. His early work was strongly influenced by Van Gogh with violent use of impasto and predominant colour of red, green, and blue. • He was the most pragmatic character of the group who took over the management and intensively engaged himself in the organisational duties within Die Brucke. • Heckel produced his first woodcut in 1904 and subsequently went on to make over 460 woodcuts. • Like the other “Brücke” painters he searched for nature as untouched as possible by civilization and spent the summers of 1907 and 1908 at the North Sea coast in Dangast and of 1909 and 1910 at the Moritzburger Lakes with Kirchner. • Like Kirchner, he too joined the war and created a number of sketches and drawings of his experiences. • In 1937, The Nazis deemed his art quot;Degenerate.quot; 729 works were expelled from German museums. In January 1944, his studio was bombed and all of his blocks and plates were destroyed.
  21. 21. Erich Heckel, Crouching  woman, (1914), 71 x  56cm, woodcut. Heckel, Junges mädchen /  Young Woman, (no date)  woodcut
  22. 22. Kopf / Head of a Woman. Original woodcut, 1915. Heckel Fränzi Reclining (1910) Woodcut
  23. 23. Heckel, Like the other Brücke artists he searched for nature as untouched as possible by civilization. This work was done while he still lived in Dresden and shows the strong influence of Van Gogh’s brush work. Erich Heckel, Brickworks, 1907, Oil on canvas.
  24. 24. Erich Heckel, Two Men at the Table, 1912, Oil on canvas.
  25. 25. Two Men at the Table • Demonstrates Heckel’s strong human  sympathies, subject matter is not social or  political but personal. • It is believed to be a scene from Dostoyevsky’s  The Idiot, but was not intended to be a textual  illustration.
  26. 26. Erich Heckel, Portrait of a Man, 1919, woodcut print.
  27. 27. Erich Heckel, A Glassy Day, 1913, Oil on Canvas
  28. 28. A Glassy Day • Done right near the end of Die Brucke, his paintings began to  change, colour isn’t being used as a means of expression,  rather the stiff, fragmented / shattered form invokes a sense  of oppressiveness. • Presents a form that is stiff and generalised in the style of  wooden carving. • Facetting of Cezanne and multiple perspectives of analytic  Cubism an essential element of the work.  There may also be  some influence of the Italian Futurists who had their first  Berlin exhibition in 1912. • The work seems to fuse together the sky, the earth, the  water and the man in one single experience.  This is done  through the use of blue, which is carried throughout the art  work.
  29. 29. Karl Schmidt‐Rotluff (1884‐1976) • Like Heckel, his work was heavily inspired  by Van Gogh; his canvases are often heavy  reds and blues. • Introspective man who preferred painting  landscapes to people. • Excelled in the woodcut. Its harsh  contrasts of black and white suited his  uncompromising and austere personality.
  30. 30. Emphasizes connectivity of humanity and nature Karl Scmidt-Rotluff, Summer, 1913, Oil on canvas.
  31. 31. Summer • Loose, often aggressive brushwork, which can be seen in the  simplified landscape that the figures are a part of. • The flatness of the figures and the outlining of the surrounding  landscape reminiscent of the Fauves. • Freedom in use of un‐naturalistic colours that are broken up by  the lines throughout.  • The nudes and nature are fused together by the use and radiance  of the red.
  32. 32. Russische Landschaft mit Kreuzweg, 1919 Russian Landscape with Crossing Roads Woodcut, 39x49 cm, (seventh work of 1919).
  33. 33. Schmidt-Rottluff, Christ and Judas (1918) After the war, Schmidt-Rottluff did a series of woodcuts with that depicted the life of Christ. He became interested in transcendental reality as a means to come to terms Schmidt-Rottluff, Nine with what he had seen during the Woodcuts, Apostle(1918) war.
  34. 34. Emil Nolde (1867‐1956) • He joined Die Brucke in 1906 brought a special, mystical  dimension to the German Expressionist group that was  later to be taken up  by Der Blaue Rieter.  • His career illustrates a number of the moral dilemmas  which faced German Modernists of the first generation,  since his instincts were nationalist and conservative even  though his art was regarded as experimental. • In his youth Nolde read the Bible a great deal ‐ its images  were to return to him later in life. • His time with Die  Brucke was short‐lived due to Nolde’s  concern with the group’s artistic pursuits.
  35. 35. Emil Nolde, The Last Supper, 1909.
  36. 36. Emil Nolde, Dance Around the Golden Calf, 1910, Oil on canvas
  37. 37. Nolde attempts to revive religious imagery in expressionistic treatments of new testament scene. In 1909 he tried to form a new group of young artists as he felt that Die Brucke had failed to become an alliance of good young artists. His endeavour proved to be a failure and Nolde and his art work almost fell into relative obscurity. Emil Nolde, Crucifixion, 1912, Oil on canvas
  38. 38. The Prophet, woodcut (1912) Emil Nolde Madonna, 1906 Woodcut
  39. 39. Emil Nolde, Child and Large Bird, 1912, Oil on canvas Emil Nolde, Excited People, 1913, Oil on canvas
  40. 40. Nolde’s Work Characterised by the following stylistic features: • Artistic composition is done in very simple terms and refrains from  skilful application. • Nolde’s attitude to his work similar to Van Gogh’s in his interest in  passionate emotions and he had a respectful interest in primitive  arts and was widely travelled after his time with Die Brucke. • Used the Bible as a source of inspiration throughout his career. Nolde’s Artistic Exchange • Although Nolde only worked with Die Brucke for a short period he  brought to the group a style of painting that was much simpler,  bolder, and almost more colourful. • What he took away was the use of the woodcut and the lithograph  as art processes.
  41. 41. Henri Matisse, Luxe, calm et volupte, Karl Scmidt-Rotluff, Summer, 1904, Oil on canvas, 1913, Oil on canvas. QUESTION EIGHT: FAUVISM AND EXPRESSIONISM (i) Identify the stylistic differences between these two paintings. (ii) Account for the differences between the two paintings by relating them to the differences between Fauvism and Die Brucke.

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