Archive

Escape into Art?
The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period

The exhibition Escape into Art? is the first critical and detailed examination of the artistic practice, scope and everyday life of the former Brücke artists during the Nazi period.

The history of the initial members of Brücke – Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – during the years 1933 to 1945 has generally been reduced to the ‘defamation’ of their art by the Nazis. This one-dimensional view neither does justice to the complex lived situations of the artists nor explores the contradictions within Nazi cultural policy. In the early days of the Nazi regime, most of the Brücke artists hoped that their art would be acknowledged – a hope that the former indeed partly nourished. Despite the caesuras resulting from the Nazi art policy, the Brücke members (with the exception of Kirchner, who committed suicide in 1938) continued to produce art until the end of the war. To further highlight both the breaks and the continuities in the practices of the Brücke members, this investigative exhibition does not just end in May 1945, but continues with a final chapter in Kunsthaus Dahlem. How did people view the years of Nazi tyranny as of summer 1945? What role did the former Brücke artists play in rebuilding a now divided Germany?

The exhibition Escape into Art? centres around works by Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel, Pechstein and Kirchner in the Brücke-Museum collection. The presentation seeks to take a multifaceted view and approaches the complexity of the Brücke history – between recognition and ‘defamation’ – by means of artworks and extensive documentation.

Escape into Art? has been curated by Prof. Aya Soika (Bard College Berlin), Dr. Meike Hoffmann (Freie Universität Forschungsstelle Entartete Kunst) and Lisa Marei Schmidt (Brücke-Museum). It is accompanied by an extensiive catalogue in German and English, published by Hirmer Verlag.


The exhibition is funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.


The publication is funded by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.


The Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is presenting the exhibition A German Legend. Emil Nolde and the Nazi Regime (12 April–15 September 2019). Emil Nolde, a National Socialist supporter, occupies a special position among the Brücke artists. The presentation of both exhibitions simultaneously allows each to complement, comment on and enrich the other.

Publications

2010–2019

Escape into Art?
The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period (2019)

Exhibition catalogue
Eds.: Brücke-Museum, Aya Soika, Meike Hoffmann, Lisa Marei Schmidt
Texts: Aya Soika, Meike Hoffmann
Publ.: Hirmer Munich

288 pages
242 colour images
German or English
ISBN 9 783777 432861
€ 39,90
On sale at the museum, shipping only upon prepayment, price excludes postage

Order

2010–2019

Escape into Art?
The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period (2019)

Information/Downloads

Game of Cards for Kids

The set of cards can guide kids through the exhibition. They are free to draw, tell stories, and express their ideas and observations. Some activities can also be done at home or at school.

Game of Cards for Kids

Programme: Symposium Between Images

In the context of the exhibition Escape into Art? The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period, the symposium Between Images explores contemporary artistic perspectives on the period after World War II. While the exhibition critically examines the artistic practice and scope of action of the Brücke artists from 1933 to 1949 for the first time, the invited artists of the symposium will use various media to approach the question of how it was possible to live together after the disillusionment of the lost war. Which moral and cultural voids or family gaps – reaching up to the present day – form the starting point of the artistic debate?

Artists: Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond, Christa Jeitner, Svenja Leiber, Museum of American Art in Berlin, Maya Schweizer, Annette Weisser

Programme: Symposium Between Images

Exhibition Guide: Flucht in die Bilder?
Die Künstler der Brücke im Nationalsozialismus (2019)

German Exhibition Guide

32 pages
German
free of charge
available for download

Exhibition Guide: Flucht in die Bilder?
Die Künstler der Brücke im Nationalsozialismus (2019)

Exhibition Guide: Escape into Art?
The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period (2019)

English Exhibition Guide

32 pages
English
free of charge
Available for download

Exhibition Guide: Escape into Art?
The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period (2019)