Heckel, Erich, 1911

Oil on canvas, 92x54,6cm, The National Museum

Erich Heckel (1883-1970) was one of the founders of the artist group Die Brücke in Dresden in 1905, along with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, among others.

In brief, one can say that the works of the Brücke artists are characterised by strong, pure colours and a rough and gesticulating painting method. They were inspired by “primitive” art and were also particularly interested in the works of Edvard Munch.

The period in which this picture was painted is considered the highlight of Heckel’s artistic production, and he was living in Berlin at this time. The picture is one of an important series of motifs for Heckel, where he depicts interiors with figures playing music. The angular idiom and the dry, bright palette on the course canvas are very typical of his works from the Berlin period.

The Die Brücke group was disbanded in 1913, yet most of the artists continued to work within an expressionistic idiom, and their significance for the expressionism of later generations is considerable and can hardly be exaggerated.