The colourful works of German Expressionism are an important focal point of the Frieder Burda Collection. All the more reason, following the exhibition of paintings by the ‘Blauer Reiter’ movement in 2009, for a show in Baden-Baden dedicated to the second influential artists’ group in German Expressionism, ‘Die Brücke’ (The Bridge). Featuring 120 pieces of art, including 50 high-calibre paintings, the exhibition offers an insight into the work of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde.
The founding of the ‘Brücke’ in Dresden in 1905 marked the beginning of modern art in Germany. The style, which eschewed traditional painting and all things academic, soon came to be known as Expressionism. In addition to innovative artistic approaches, Expressionism also embodied a new attitude toward life.
Pure expression dominated in terms of both shape and colour. Visible nature can, of course, be seen in the images created by the ‘Brücke’ but it is there to transport an inner sensation. Forces of the soul and the spirit come to the fore, resulting not in a depiction of things but in a representation of an inner imagination. Visible reality is reshaped and reduced to its essentials. The paint itself also goes through a process of abstraction. It is used in a wild and expansive manner, escaping from an object’s natural colours and becoming free and independent. Hence, the Expressionism of the ‘Brücke’ was not restricted to painting: drawing, watercolour and graphic reproduction also played decisive roles in the development of the new style.
The exhibition is focused on the years from the movement’s foundation in 1905 to 1914, the year after the dissolution of the group and the end of the phase of classical Expressionism brought about by the outbreak of World War One. Now, after a gap of more than ten years, comes a new extensive exhibition of Die Brücke. In addition to numerous loans from the Brücke-Museum Berlin, Museum Frieder Burda -Baden is also showing works from its own collection as well as exhibits from other German and international museums. Furthermore, the exhibition also features outstanding loans from private museums that have not been displayed for many years. The exhibition is being curated by the long-serving director of the Brücke-Museum Berlin, Magdalena M. Moeller, whose speciality is classical modern art, especially the art of German Expressionism.
Museum Frieder Burda, Lichtentaler Allee 8 b, 76530 Baden-Baden | Germany
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, ‘Liegender blauer Akt mit Strohhut’, 1909, Oil on board, 68 x 72 cm, Private Collection