The Artists' Association "Brücke"

In 1905 the artists' association "Brücke" was founded by four students of architecture - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - in the city of Dresden.

Their aim was to find new ways of aristic expression and to free themselves from the traditional academic style of the time. The "Brücke" is therefore one of the earliest German artists’ associations which had a crucial impact on the development of classical modern art. The arists collectively created a style which was to be defined within 20th century art history as "Expressionism".

Apart from their own artistic work, "Brücke" members two most important aims were to establish contact with artists of similar convictions and to introduce their anvant garde art to the public through collective exhibitions. In 1906 Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde joined the group, followed by Otto Mueller in 1910. In order to emphasize the international aims of the modernist movement, foreign artists such as Cuno Amiet, Kees Van Dongen, Axel Gallén-Kallela and others were contacted as well.

The "Brücke" style attempts the creation of pure expression through colour and form. Painted motives such as landscapes or nudes in natural settings become the symbolic expression of an inner experience of the world. Forms and shapes are reduced to their essentials and express the artist’s subjective feelings. Traditional rules of perspective and academic proportion are abandoned to heighten immediacy. In this context the artists gained important impulses from their examination of the art of indigenous peoples. Colour too was soon detached from naturalistic representation and became a means of expressing of emotion: it was applied radiantly with impulsive and spontanious brushstrokes.