Erich Heckel

Erich Heckel

Erich Heckel (*July 31, 1883 in Döbeln, †January 27, 1970 in Radolfzell) was a German painter and graphic artist.

Erich Heckel and the artists’ group Die Brücke

The artist achieved international fame through his involvement in the Expressionist artists’ group Die Brücke, which also counted Otto Mueller, Max Pechstein, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner among its members. Erich Heckel began studying architecture at the Technische Universität in Dresden in 1904, where he soon became friends with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz Bleyl. Together with Kirchner, Bleyl, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, the painter founded the artists’ group Die Brücke in 1905. The artists of Die Brücke were united by a strong collective approach. Their orientation toward clear, vivid color and the radical reduction of detail ensured that the members group played a major role in the development of modernism in Germany.

One year later Heckel met Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde, and became friends with Gustav Schiefler (an art collector and patron) and Dr. Rosa Schapire (an art historian and collector). Between 1906 and 1910 the artist made several trips to Dangast (by the North Sea) and the Moritzburg Lakes (Saxony).

In the spring of 1910 Heckel met Otto Mueller in Berlin. The following year he moved to Berlin and took over Mueller’s studio in Steglitz, Berlin.

In 1912 the artist participated in the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne. Through this event he became friends with Lyonel Feininger and Dr. Walter Kaesbach, who was a major patron of Expressionist art. The artist’s first special exhibition took place at the Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin in 1913. Die Brücke disbanded in the same year.

Erich Heckel’s Life during the 1910s and 1920s

During the First World War, Heckel worked as a medic in Flanders from 1915 to 1918, where he met Max Beckmann. During this period, Heckel married Hilda Frieda Georgi, also known as Siddi. After the war, the painter returned to Berlin. From 1919 Heckel was a (founding) member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Workers’ Council for Art) in Berlin. He briefly joined the November Group. In 1922, he was commissioned through contacts to paint a secco mural cycle in a room in the Angermuseum (Erfurt). It is the only mural by a Brücke artist that has survived to this day.
In the years between 1920 and 1944, the artist traveled frequently to work in a number of Western European countries. Inspired by a wide variety of landscapes, he created a rich oeuvre of diverse watercolors in muted, harmonious tones during this period.

Heckel’s Life during and after National Socialism

In 1937 Heckel was prohibited from exhibiting by the National Socialists. As part of their “Degenerate Art” campaign, 729 of his works were confiscated from German museums. When his Berlin studio was destroyed in 1944, Heckel moved to Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance. After the war, he worked as a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe from 1949 to 1955. In the years that followed, Erich Heckel was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Federal Cross of Merit in 1956 and the Art Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1961.
Erich Heckel died in Radolfzell on Lake Constance on January 27, 1970.

Erich Heckel’s Visual Language

Heckel’s oeuvre is influenced by his way of life. From 1908 onward, the artist left his early impasto work behind him and moved on to a more two-dimensional style. After the dissolution of Die Brücke he began to break up pure color fields and contort shapes. Solid and angular outlines now defined his depictions. This formal change can be attributed to the use of the woodcut as a model. Heckel applied both painting and printmaking techniques to create numerous works.
After the First World War, Heckel developed a classicism that was revealed through his naturalism and the brightening of his color palette. His preferred subject matter continued to be landscapes, portraits, and bathing scenes, but he now incorporated floral still lifes with complex backgrounds. His once vibrant and ecstatic expression of color gave way to a harmonious and gentle figurative depiction.

Sources:
• Elger, Dietmar (1991) EXPRESSIONISMUS, Cologne: Taschen Verlag GmbH
• Sammlung Sprengel (1982) BRÜCKE, Hanover

1883 — Born on July 31st in Döbeln, Saxony.
1904 — Studies architecture in Dresden. Becomes acquainted with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz               Bleyl.
1905 — Founding of the “Brücke”.
1906 — Aquaintance with Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde. Friendship with Gustav Schiefler and  
              Dr. Rosa Schapire.
1906 — 1910 — Recurring stays in Dangast and at the Moritzburg lakes.
1910 — Friendship with Otto Mueller.
1911 — Moves to Berlin. He meets Franz Marc and August Macke.
1912 — Participation at the “Sonderbundausstellung”, Cologne. Friendship with Lyonel Feininger
             and Dr. Walter Kaesbach.
1914 —1918 — Voluntarily serves in the German armed forces in Flanders. Marriage with Hilde 
             Frieda Georgi (Sidi).
1919 —1920 — Founding member of the “Arbeitsrat für Kunst”. Member of the “Novembergruppe”,
             Berlin.
1919 — Exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover. Friendship with Paul Klee.
1937 — Occupational ban. Paintings are confiscated and shown in the exhibition “Entartete Kunst”
              (degenerate art).
1949 —1955 — Appointment to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe.
1956 — Awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
1957 — Awarded with the Art prize of Berlin.
1961 — Awarded with the Art prize of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
1965 — Honorary citizen of Kiel.
1967 — Awarded the medal “Pour le mérite”.
1970 — Dies in Radolfzell on January 27th.

1883 — Born on July 31st in Döbeln, Saxony.
1904 — Studies architecture in Dresden. Becomes acquainted with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz Bleyl.
1905 — Founding of the “Brücke”.
1906 — Aquaintance with Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde. Friendship with Gustav Schiefler and Dr. Rosa Schapire.
1906 — 1910 — Recurring stays in Dangast and at the Moritzburg lakes.
1910 — Friendship with Otto Mueller.
1911 — Moves to Berlin. He meets Franz Marc and August Macke.
1912 — Participation at the “Sonderbundausstellung”, Cologne. Friendship with Lyonel Feininger and Dr. Walter Kaesbach.
1914 —1918 — Voluntarily serves in the German armed forces in Flanders. Marriage with Hilde  Frieda Georgi (Sidi).
1919 —1920 — Founding member of the “Arbeitsrat für Kunst”. Member of the “Novembergruppe”, Berlin.
1919 — Exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover. Friendship with Paul Klee.
1937 — Occupational ban. Paintings are confiscated and shown in the exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (degenerate art).
1949 —1955 — Appointment to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe.
1956 — Awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
1957 — Awarded with the Art prize of Berlin.
1961 — Awarded with the Art prize of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
1965 — Honorary citizen of Kiel.
1967 — Awarded the medal “Pour le mérite”.
1970 — Dies in Radolfzell on January 27th.

1883 — Born on July 31st in Döbeln, Saxony.
1904 — Studies architecture in Dresden. Becomes acquainted with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz  Bleyl.
1905 — Founding of the “Brücke”.
1906 — Aquaintance with Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde. Friendship with Gustav Schiefler and Dr. Rosa Schapire.
1906 — 1910 — Recurring stays in Dangast and at the Moritzburg lakes.
1910 — Friendship with Otto Mueller.
1911 — Moves to Berlin. He meets Franz Marc and August Macke.
1912 — Participation at the “Sonderbundausstellung”, Cologne. Friendship with Lyonel Feininger and Dr. Walter Kaesbach.
1914 —1918 — Voluntarily serves in the German armed forces in Flanders. Marriage with Hilde Frieda Georgi (Sidi).
1919 —1920 — Founding member of the “Arbeitsrat für Kunst”. Member of the “Novembergruppe”, Berlin.
1919 — Exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover. Friendship with Paul Klee.
1937 — Occupational ban. Paintings are confiscated and shown in the exhibition “Entartete Kunst (degenerate art).
1949 —1955 — Appointment to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe.
1956 — Awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
1957 — Awarded with the Art prize of Berlin.
1961 — Awarded with the Art prize of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
1965 — Honorary citizen of Kiel.
1967 — Awarded the medal “Pour le mérite”.
1970 — Dies in Radolfzell on January 27th.

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund