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3. Group membership, portfolios and graphic work

Source: Oxford University Press

Die Brücke was organized along the lines of a German artists’ association. As well as the ‘active members’ or artists, there were ‘passive members’ or friends and supporters, including important figures such as the collector Gustav Schiefler (1857–1935) and the art historian Rosa Schapiro (1874–1954). Between 1906 and 1912 the artists annually made a gift of a portfolio of graphic work for these passive members. The first three contained a single work by each of the artists, and from 1909 each was devoted to a single artist. After the Programm of 1906, the group published annual reports from 1907 until 1912, as well as various woodcut membership cards startend.

Although painting was central to the work of all the members of the group, they also devoted themselves with great vigour to graphic work as an important step on the way to the discovery of form and the composition of surfaces. On the other hand, they gave the print an independence from other artistic forms that it had not previously enjoyed. They saw themselves as reviving a specifically German late medieval tradition to which they referred in woodcuts, engravings and lithographs of elemental force, such as Heckel’s Two Seated Women (colour woodcut, 1912; Berlin, Brücke-Mus.). They transformed the very foundations of these media and set new standards for them.

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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