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Live-in studio of Erich Heckel (1919–1944)

Living and Working

Erich Heckel, Anemonen, 1929, Brücke-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

Erich Heckel, Zinnien, 1932, Brücke-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

After returning from the First World War in 1919, Erich Heckel moved from Friedenau to Wilmersdorf. Even though his new studio on Emser Straße was still an attic space, it was larger and more comfortably equipped than his previous room on Mommsenstraße (since 1927 Markelstraße). The younger artist Walter Gramatté lived next door, and they soon became friends. When Gramatté left the address, another friend of Heckel moved into the neighbouring flat: the painter Anton Kerschbaumer.

Ludwigskirch-Platz, corner of Emser Straße, 1911, picture postcard, Archive of the Museum Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

In the same year he moved to Wilmersdorf, Heckel, together with his wife, the dancer Sidi Reha (née Milda Frieda Georgi), also bought a farmhouse in Osterholz on the Flensburg Firth, where he set up a second studio. From then on, it was quite decided where the Heckels would live and when. They spent their summers by the Baltic Sea and sometimes travelled across Europe. In the winter, it was time to return to Emser Straße in Berlin, where Heckel focused intensively on giving artistic form to the impressions he had gathered during the summer months. The couple sold their Baltic Sea retreat to relatives in 1930. Heckel was still allowed to use his studio for another nine years before he finally had to give it up completely. He worked mostly in Berlin during the Second World War. In 1944, however, bombs destroyed the entire block of houses where he lived, including Heckel’s studio and many of his works. The couple initially stayed with friends in Wannsee; they subsequently moved to Lake Constance and did not return to Berlin after the end of the war.

Valentina Bay

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