Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (German, 1884–1976) was an Expressionist painter and printmaker, and one of the founders of the Die Brücke group of artists, which included Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938), Fritz Bleyl (German, 1880–1966), and Erich Heckel (German, 1883–1970), among others. In the early part of his career, Schmidt-Rottluff regularly spent his summers in Dangast, a town north of Oldenburg, and a number of his works were inspired by this secluded coastal region. In 1911, he moved to Berlin, where he was exposed to the most popular stylistic movements of the international avant-garde, including Cubism, Futurism, and African Tribal Art, all of which inspired his later work. After Die Brücke was dissolved in 1913, Schmidt-Rottluff began to produce woodcuts and wooden sculptures.

In the early 1930s, the artist became a member of the Prussian Academy of Art, but was soon expelled after the Nazis came to power and Expressionism was declared to be a degenerate form of art. After World War II, the artist returned from exile and became a professor at the University of Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

The artist’s works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; the Neue Galerie in New York, NY; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA.

He died in Berlin in 1976 at the age of 92.

Timeline

1884
Born, Chemnitz
1905
Co-founder, with E. Heckel, E.L. Kirchner, F. Bleyl of the artist group "Brücke"
Brücke Museum, Berlin, Germany, inaugural opening
Studied architecture, Polytechnical University, Dresden, Germany
1931
Member of the Prussian Academy, Berlin, Germany
1933
Resigned from Prussian Academy, Berlin, Germany
1937
608 Schmidt-Rottluff paintings seized from German museums by the Nazi Third Reich
1941
Defamed as a “degenerate” artist and was prohibited from exhibiting
1943
Berlin Studio bombed by Nazi's
1947
Professor, University of Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany
1976
Died, Berlin, Germany

Exhibitions

2011
Sommergäste. Von Arp bis Werefkin - Die Klassische Moderne in Mecklenburg und Pommern, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Germany
2010–2011
Landschaften und Stillleben, Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken, Germany
2003
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Galerie Maulberger, Munich, Germany
1911
First solo exhibition at the Galerie Commeter, Hamburg, Germany