This catalogue for the Brücke’s breakthrough exhibition in September 1910 at the prestigious Galerie Ernst Arnold in Dresden reflects the spirit of collectivity that pervaded the group at the time. Eleven of the book’s twenty woodcuts see Brücke artists interpreting paintings by fellow members rather than highlighting their own artistic creations, each composition a flattened, simplified black-and-white version of its colorful counterpart. On the cover, Erich Heckel tackled Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Fränzi mit Puppe (Fränzi with doll).
The type matches the style of the images. Designed especially for the project, a strong, grotesque font appears throughout the book, except in four woodcuts in which Kirchner carved a list of the group’s sixty-eight “passive members”—supporters who received the group’s annual print portfolios—in a complementary rough script.
In the seminal show that the catalogue documents, the Brücke’s four main members—Heckel, Kirchner, Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff—were given equal wallspace. The checklist notes twenty works, including paintings, watercolors, and prints, by each artist, although Heckel and Kirchner also exhibited several wood sculptures that are not listed. Cuno Amiet, a Swiss member, contributed two paintings, and Otto Mueller, who joined soon thereafter, exhibited five paintings and watercolors as a guest.
Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.