Die Brücke

Die Brücke (The Bridge). Group of German expressionist painters gathered in Dresden , started in 1905 until 1913 . The painting by the group Die Brücke is one of the first expressions of the avant-gardes of the 20th century in which, not only does it seek to experiment and innovate, but also a protest is made against academicisms and against certain “softening” and gossip typical of the Belle Époque. Strictly speaking, Die Brücke, like Der Blaue Reiter , mark the end of this period and spell out the beginning of a period of crisis.


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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Foundation of the group
  • 3 Objectives
  • 4 Features of this painting
  • 5 Form of expression
  • 6 Within Expressionism we could make certain distinctions
  • 7 Sources


Die Brücke means in German The Bridge. The painters who were part of this group tried to unite certain primitive forms of expression with the art of their time.

The situation was radicalized: on the one hand painters of very bad taste who were dedicated to a soft art and lacking the slightest interest (flower vases, landscaping, great ladies to hang from the living room); and on the other, the radical avant-garde, the vertiginous succession of the “isms”, fed on themselves in such a way that they had managed to completely distance themselves from communication with the public, unable to assimilate the ruptures they posed.

Was especially Cubism , so rational, so measured in his aseptic geometry, the biggest rival of these painters. His intention was to recover the feeling, revalue the subjective vision of the artist, interpreter and non-copyist of objective reality.

Foundation of the group

The group brought him together as a thinking head Kirchner. His closest sources of inspiration at the time were other painters whose work was considered strongly focused on emotion and personal expression: Cèzanne , Van Gogh, Gauguin and Edvar Munch.

Manifesto of founding of the artistic movement Die Brucke, 1905

The group met in Dresden, the city where they all settled, and they did so from 1905 to 1913 . Founded by four architecture students, who had influences from Jugendstil and Hermann Olbrich .

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ( 1880- 1938 )
  • Erich Heckel( 1883 – 1970 )
  • Fritz Bleyl( 1880 – 1966 )
  • Karl Schmidt-Rottluff ( 1884- 1976 )

In 1906 Max Hermann Pechstein ( 1881 – 1955 ) and Emil Nolde ( 1867 – 1956 ) joined the group . Otto Müller ( 1874 – 1930 ) will also be added in 1910 .


Its objectives are those of Expressionism but, as a particular group, they will focus on achieving a national art linked to its own history, chronicling everyday life and its meanings, breaking away from official education and uniting against bourgeois society .

The group was raised with clear objectives and explicit rules:

  • Weekly meetings were held (in Kirchner’sworkshop ), where aesthetic and social issues were drawn and discussed.
  • The common goal of achieving a community of artists was established
  • the works that were exhibited, had to be approved by the whole group
  • It had to be exhibited in a group (in fact, Max Hermann Pechsteinwas expelled for exposing alone).

Characteristics of this painting

  • Stylistically, you can point out strident colors, chaotic and angular strokes, subjects full of anxiety, deformations that indicate the psychic concern of the author. Despite denying the whole past, it is impossible for them to detach themselves from their base and formation.
  • Munch’ssymbolism will be present continuously. It is also seen how they are based on the color of Gauguin and Van Gogh , and on the forms of the newly appreciated African and Oceanian art.
  • They used various means, claiming the use of woodcut, which determined that their art produced stiffness and angularity in the contours. In addition to painting, they cultivated lithography or furniture design.
  • They broke with Impressionism through freedom in the use of form and color and, in some cases, the deformation of reality.
  • Use a very simplified aesthetic vocabulary, with few forms that have been reduced to the essential, deformed bodies and dissolved spaces without perspective.
  • The colors, bright and saturated, detached from the local color and painted superficially with a thick brush, are embedded within a strong outline. This gives the paintings a vigorous character.
  • The complementary contrasts worked, getting the colors to mutually reinforce their luminosity.
  • They use a passionate color that corresponded to the desire to give color a new emotional and compositional relevance under solely internal aesthetic aspects, creating works based only on colors such as the Fauvists.
  • His intention was to recover the feeling, revalue the subjective vision of the artist, interpreter and non-copyist of objective reality.
  • The members of Die Brücke try to recover “authentic”, direct, sincere methods in their communication with the viewer: the art of the primitive Germans, Art Brut, that is, the art of the insane, children, savages, the art of the Pacific, Oceania and Africa. They try to recover the themes and the technique.

Expression form

His expression was flat, linear and very rhythmic, seeking an absolute simplification of shape and color. There is some parallelism between his intentions and those of the fauves in Paris, but even the Germans were much wilder than the French.

Ideologically they were closely linked to the belief in the need for a New World, in line with the adaptation to modern times of the avant-garde. Because of their approaches, they used texts by Nietzsche and therefore they felt closer to the violence of the futurists.

Contrary to the Italians, welcomed within Mussolinni’s fascism, the expressionists of both the Die Brücke group and its followers Der Blaue Reiter were persecuted by Hitler’s National Socialism, accused of practicing degenerate art.


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