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Impulsive and direct

Watercolour was a perfect medium for the Brücke artists. In search of direct experience and a straightforward means of expression, it gave them the opportunity to play freely with colour and form. Beginning with the foundation of the Brücke in 1905, a wealth of vivid works were created, which impressively reveal the vitality of the group and their desire to experiment. The exhibition in the Ernst Barlach Haus presents highlights of expressionist watercolour painting from the collection of the Brücke-Museum Berlin: Masterpieces by Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Mueller, Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

As in their paintings, the Brücke artists also rehearsed rebellion in their watercolours: against the academic art traditions and bourgeois standards, in favour of an unconstrained way of life, one that not only produces art but is art. The motifs chosen by the Expressionists – preferably nudes and landscapes – reflect this drive for freedom and naturalness just as much as their characteristic style, which unfolds in a special manner within the medium of watercolour: impulsively and directly, focusing on the essence and taking pleasure in bold colour compositions. Although the Brücke artists have long been ranked among the Modernist classics – their watercolours still emenate the energy with which they started out 100 years ago in their search for new forms of art.

An exhibition catalogue has been published (in German, 192 pages, 130 colour plates, 18 €).

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Franzi with Bow and Nude, 1910<br />Brücke-Museum Berlin <br />© Ingeborg and Dr. Wolfgang Henze-Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern<br />Photo: Roman März
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Franzi with Bow and Nude, 1910
Brücke-Museum Berlin
© Ingeborg and Dr. Wolfgang Henze-Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern
Photo: Roman März