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About Brücke in Berlin

“It’s a shame we didn’t meet in Berlin, it certainly would have been a delightful evening. I could have shown you some interesting places.” – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to Maria Schmidt, 1912

From the idyllic suburbs of Friedenau to the 24/7 buzz of Potsdamer Platz and the green oasis of the Grunewald: Berlin shaped the life and work of the Brücke artists in many different ways. The digital project Brücke in Berlin follows their traces in the city and connects their works with the real locations.

Enticed by the wealth of opportunities promised by Berlin’s lively and progressive arts and culture scene at the beginning of the 20th century, the founding members of the Brücke group – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff – moved from Dresden to the German capital in 1911. Their Brücke colleagues Otto Mueller and Max Pechstein had already been living here for some time by then. They all harbored high hopes for their new lives in the rapidly growing metropolis, and the artists quickly established themselves: they networked with like-minded artists and writers, exhibited in prestigious modern art galleries, and further developed their individual styles in response to diverse impressions of the big city. Even after the group disbanded in 1913, the former members remained in Berlin and the city kept inspiring new works.

What was life like for the Brücke artists in the metropolis? What was “their” Berlin? Where did they live and work, where did they exhibit? Who were their friends and how did they spend their time? These are the questions that the digital project Brücke in Berlin sets out to explore. It brings together numerous works from the Brücke Museum’s collection that tell of the lives of the Brücke members and their artist friends in the capital, and locates them on the Berlin city map for the first time: views of their studios and apartments, exhibition ads, portraits of Berlin friends and images of institutions, the squares, streets, and natural landscapes that they frequented. In addition to the artworks, historical maps, photographs, and film footage reveal the Berlin of the Brücke artists. All these objects contain exciting personal stories about the city of a bygone era. Linking the works with specific locations in today’s urban space opens up new perceptions of the works and enables previously unknown, lively perspectives on art, history, and Berlin.

We hope you enjoy browsing and discovering!

How to use

The web presentation Brücke in Berlin can be used on desktops and smartphones. For detailed research, it is advisable to use a PC. If you want to explore the places and works directly in the city, it is best to use the mobile version on your phone and activate your location recognition at the bottom right, above the zoom function. This is particularly useful if you want to experience the audio walk through Friedenau.

Immerse yourself in the lives of the Brücke artists in Berlin and explore the places and works connected to them: you can either use the map view or the list of places. Both contain all the addresses associated with the Brücke and allow you to click from place to place or search for specific topics. Furthermore, an audio walk is also available for six locations in Friedenau. The narration invites you to follow in the footsteps of the Brücke artists during their first years in Berlin.

The Map:

The heart of the digital presentation is the map of Berlin. On the interactive map, pins mark the places associated with the Brücke group of artists and works from the Brücke Museum collection.

The city map works like any other online map. You can zoom in and out on the map, move the map section around, and switch on your own location. You will find the zoom and location function at the bottom right.

By clicking on individual topics at the bottom of the map, you can display all locations linked to the selected topic on the map. A description of the respective topics can be found in the list of locations and can be viewed via the “About the themes” menu.

When using the website on your desktop, each location marker shows a preview image of the linked work. By clicking on individual pins, a page with detailed information on all linked works, the respective location, and its significance for the artists appears both on the desktop and the smartphone. Other nearby locations are displayed at the bottom of this overview. If the location is a stop on the audio walk, this is indicated at the top. Click on it to access the corresponding audio track.

Some locations are linked to works that depict them. If a position could be determined from which the artists saw the depicted work, it is marked on the map with an eye as soon as you click on the location pin.

The List of Places:

All locations marked on the map appear in alphabetical order. Clicking on the place names takes you to the detail page of the respective place. By clicking on the linked themes, all associated places appear in the list. Displayed works can be viewed in full size by clicking on them.

You can also do a keyword search using the search function above the list. The topics displayed below the search bar allow further filtering according to specific aspects. A short description will appear before you click on a theme. Any filters applied can be reset using the “Clear” button at the top right.

The Audio Walk:

An artistic audio walk takes you on a six-stop tour through Friedenau. This is where the Brücke artists and their friends lived in the 1910s. Past and present melt into each other in the fictional conversational narrative created by the artist duo Po:era specifically for the project. The audio format is based on documented historical facts about the Brücke artists and their friends. All tracks can be listened to as a single piece, but also function as individual narratives.

The route of the audio walk is marked on the map. Once you have reached or clicked on a stop, it is displayed centrally on the map. Switching on the location function will help you find your way around.

The entire walk takes about 90 minutes. There is a separate audio track for each stop, which can be played via the integrated player, as long as you are connected to the internet. Short introductory texts and illustrations provide additional information on the individual stops. You can also click on “More” to switch to the general location entry on the map. At the end of each stop, the “Next stop” button leads to the next location.

More detailed information about the audio walk can be found here.

Funding and Cooperation Partners

The digital project Brücke in Berlin was funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt and digiS.

In addition to digiS, cooperation partner is the berlinHistory app, which can also be used to access a small selection of works and locations.

Explore Berlin through the Eyes of the Brücke Artists
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