About The Artists Of Brücke
Ever heard of a political art group? Artists who use art, particularly painting, to influence or to move people to action? I have read of those in our history class before—it was quite boring then. I used to think of it as an exaggeration of a hero’s life. Until I read one of my favorite music artist’s biography. His father was a leader of Chicano artists, the “Los Four”. It’s a sort of a mural movement. But this is beside the point. My objective for writing this article is to bring more light into “die brücke”, a group of German expressionist artists, which marked the beginning of modern art in Germany.
Since the early part of twentieth century German Expressionism was very popular and it influenced most of the movements to oppose Impressionists.
Die Brücke, German words meaning “the bridge”, was founded in Dresden by architectural students lead by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in 1905. Erich Heckel, Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff gathered regularly in Kirchner’s studio. They were later joined by Emil Nolde and Max Pechstein.
The group was called “brücke” because the members have common interests and ideology. The bridge also symbolizes link, since one of their objective is to link to the future and to use art to change the society. Through art, they linked German history with their own cultural past. They despised academic traditions and strict constraints of the leading academies, realism and impressionism.
Although, most of the members of the Brücke were not trained artists, they were able to express their feelings and imaginations through harsh and orgiastic colors, particularly the black and white contrasts, distorted shapes and lines, exaggerated forms, and anti-illusionistic perspective. The subjects of their artwork include urban cabarets and dancehalls, mostly in the nudes.
Their art works were influenced by the vibrant and emotive works of Vincent van Gough, Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch and the Fauves.
They promoted their works by conducting art exhibits and through innovative patron membership program. To ensure artistic autonomy, the members of the Brücke did not accept conventional gallery arrangement—they produced portfolios instead. The portfolio is a compilation of the art works of one of the members, but the cover was made by the other members of the group. They made seven portfolios, most were single-artist productions. These portfolios featured Brücke V, Bathers Throwing Reeds, Three Bathers at the Moritzburg Lakes, and Dancer with Raised Skirts