Erich Heckel (German, 1883–1970) was a painter, and one of the founders of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke (literally, the bridge). During the early 1900s, Heckel and other members of Die Brücke sought to create a link between the work of Edvard Munch and the modern Expressionist paintings. Other founding members of the group included Fritz Bleyl, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Like many other Expressionist artists, Heckel used print as a way of making works quickly and cheaply. During World War II, Heckel was prohibited from holding public exhibitions by the Nazi party, who viewed the work as degenerate, and, by 1944, most of Heckel’s work had been destroyed. After the fall of the Third Reich, Heckel took a job teaching at the Karlsruhe Academy in Gaienhoften, Germany. He continued painting until his death in 1970.

Between 2004 and 2005, a retrospective exhibition, Erich Heckel—His Work in the 1920s was held at the Brücke Museum in Berlin, Germany. Today, his works can be found in international collections around the world, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Folkwang Museum in Germany, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Spain, among others.

Timeline

1883
Born in Döbeln, Germany
1904
Studied architecture at the Saxon Technical College, Dresden, Germany
1905
Founding of artist group Die Brücke with Bleyl, Kirchner, and Schmidt-Rottluff
1913
Dissolution of Die Brücke
1937
Branded as 'degenerate' by Nazi authorities, 729 of his works confiscated in German museums
1949–1955
Professorship at the School of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe
1970
Died in Radolfzell, Germany

Exhibitions

2011
Sommergäste. Von Arp bis Werefkin - Die Klassische Moderne in Mecklenburg und Pommern, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Germany
2010–2011
Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner und Max Pechstein, Der Blick auf Fränzi und Marcella, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany
1965
Stedeljik Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1962
Biennale Venice, Italy
1957
Städt. Museum Duisburg, Germany
1956
Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany
1955
Günther Franke, Munich
1948
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
1933
B. Thommen, Basel, Switzerland
1927
Ferdinand Möller, Berlin, Germany
1915
School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1914
Werkbund exhibition, Cologne
1913
Gallery Gurlitt, Berlin (solo)