MoMA
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel. Brücke 1910 Portfolio (Brücke 1910 Jahresmappe). 1910
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner with Erich Heckel

Brücke 1910 Portfolio (Brücke 1910 Jahresmappe)

1910
Not on view
Collaborating Artist
Erich Heckel
Medium
Portfolio of two woodcuts, one drypoint, and one woodcut cover
Publisher
Künstlergruppe Brücke, Dresden
Printer
the artist, Dresden, Erich Heckel, Dresden, Carl Sabo, Berlin
Edition
unknown (approx. 70)
Credit
Riva Castleman Endowment Fund, The Philip and Lynn Straus Foundation Fund, Frances Keech Fund, and by exchange: Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Bequest, Gift of James Thrall Soby, Anonymous, J. B. Neumann, and Victor S. Riesenfeld, Lillie P. Bliss Collection, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Object number
221.1997.1-4
Type
Portfolio

Between 1906 and 1912 the Brücke group sent an annual portfolio of prints to its "passive members"—friends and supporters who helped finance the artists' work. Through these portfolios, artists could circumvent intermediaries of the art market, such as dealers and galleries, and communicate directly with patrons. Each installment was dedicated to the work of one artist. The fifth portfolio features prints by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, alternating between urban scenes of licentious delight and views of the idyllic Moritzburg lakes, which the Brücke artists frequently visited.

Erich Heckel's title page shows two nudes kneeling on a stage. A schematic section of geometric voids and solids represents a row of spectators, while the garish yellow paper suggests the glare of the lights. Kirchner's color woodcut, Mit Schilf werfende Badende (Bathers throwing reeds), shows nudes moving freely in nature. His black-and-white woodcut, Tänzerin mit gehobenem Rock (Dancer with raised skirt), transports this key theme of the liberated body to a Dresden cabaret. Kirchner exploits the stark contrasts and reductive possibilities encouraged by the woodcut medium, heralding the severely angular style of the group's last years. In the final drypoint, Drei Badende an den Moritzburger Seen (Three bathers at the Moritzburg lakes), Kirchner creates a scene of peace and harmony using the most limited formal means, capturing the spontaneity and freedom the artists discovered at rural retreats.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Additional text

It was within the artists' group Brücke (Bridge), founded in 1905, that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner formulated his views on art and established a visual language. Together with other core members—Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein, and, briefly, Emil Nolde—Kirchner sought a new spirit of freedom and authenticity that rejected both the stultifying traditions of the academy and the restrictive conventions of bourgeois society. Brücke artists felt that art could respond to essential life forces with spontaneity and immediacy through such subjects as the nude in nature or figures dancing with frenzy and abandon. Sharing studios and models, teaching each other techniques, and even vacationing together, they evolved a common style that first embraced the fluidity of Fauvism and then turned to the energy and angularity of tribal art for inspiration.

Printmaking was fundamental to Brücke activities, and annual portfolios of prints were published to help the artists gain recognition and produce income. For the most part, however, members' prints were experimental in nature and made with only a few proof impressions. Kirchner continued this unstructured approach to printmaking even after the dissolution of Brücke in 1913, eventually creating some two thousand works, primarily in his own studio.

During World War I, after briefly training in the mounted artillery, Kirchner suffered a mental collapse. His depiction as an isolated figure is seen in Evening Patrol of 1915. His series of prints of this period, entitled Schlemihl Meets His Shadow, is also considered the embodiment of his anxiety and paranoia, conditions that would continue to plague him, along with ill health, for the remainder of his life. In 1938, after being ostracized from German art circles by the Nazis, and having hundreds of his paintings removed from museums and declared "degenerate," Kirchner ended his own life.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 52
Provenance information
Estate of Erich Heckel; sold through Sotheby's, London, to Private Collection, after 1994; acquired by Frederick Mulder Gallery, London; sold to The Museum of Modern Art, 1997

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, N.Y. 10019

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource