The museum is devoted exclusively to the group of artists called "Brücke". The group was founded in 1905 in Dresden by four students: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Erich Heckel. It is the oldest of the German groups of artists to have a decisive impact on the development of 20th century art. Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde joined in 1906 and Otto Mueller in 1910. The "Brücke"´s pictorial language and ist critical attitude towards traditional academic painting fostered the movement, later called Expressionism. This movement, apart from ist artistic achievements also came to express a new awareness of life and freedom from rules and oppression by bourgeois society, soon it was endorsed by poets, writers and composers.
Expressionism sought to be a pure expression of colour and form, Visible nature is evident in the paintings of "Brücke" but it becomes the vehicle for a condition, an inner emotion; powers of the soul and mind appear. The purpose of the artist is not to create an image of objects but to convey an inner concept. Visible reality is transformed and reduced to what is essential. Colour undergoes a process of abstraction. It is applied wildly in bold planes and breaks free from the natural colours of the object, thus becoming an indipendent value. "Brücke" Expressionism was not only confined to painting, it also appears in drawings and the graphic arts.
The Brücke-Museum in Berlin, whose collection is entirely devoted to the works of the "Brücke" artists, demonstrates the birth of modernism in an unique way. The museum was opened to the public in 1967. The core of the collection was a generous donation by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff to the city of Berlin, and the prospect of receiving the entire estate. Erich Heckel also supported the museum with extensive donations. The collection then was systematically enlarged ba subsequent acquisitions. Today the Brücke-Museum owns around 400 paintings and sculptures as well as several thousand drawings, watercolours and prints from all creative periods of the "Brücke" artists.