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Stop 6 on Audio Walk: A Bridge to the Future

This audio walk developed by the artist duo Po:era takes us to six addresses in Friedenau where the Brücke artists lived, as well as their friend, the painter Emma Ritter, and Emy Frisch, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s future wife and the photo documentarian of the group. From their perspective, we learn more about the people behind the art of the Brücke and how they challenged the conventions of their era outside of their artistic work.

Across six chapters, Po:era draws on historical facts to tell fictionalised stories that could have occurred at the different locations in one way or another. Based on classic radio play formats, the scenes are embedded in an accompanying narrative that not only contains information about each of the addresses and tips for the walk through Friedenau, but also repeatedly makes links back to the present day and situates the accomplishments of the artists’ group in contemporary discourses.


We recommend completing the audio walk in the suggested order and in one go, which should take approximately 90 minutes. The start point is at Durlacher Straße 15, near Bundesplatz S-Bahn station. The route to each of the next stops is marked on the map, which makes it easier to find your way around if you have location services enabled on your smartphone. Each chapter has photographs to help identify the correct buildings, but they can also be accessed in any order and from the comfort of your own home. Accompanying music at the end of each chapter enhances the walks between the stops and gives listeners a feel for the period when the Brücke artists lived in Berlin. Good-quality headphones will provide the best listening experience.

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Live-in studios of Otto Mueller (1908–1911) and Erich Heckel (1911–1919)
Business address of the Brücke (1911–1913)

Living and Working

“To get to their place, one had to climb up countless stairs. Eventually you were standing in front of an iron door that opened into a huge attic. In one corner, part of the attic had been extended out like a cage made of planks and crates. They had a studio, a living room and a small kitchen. All the walls and the floor were covered with burlap painted by Heckel. Even the furniture – a table, chairs, and a bed they had made themselves using planks – was covered in beautiful blue linen.”

Art historian Walter Kaesbach in conversation with the art dealer Roman Norbert Ketterer in 1959, on the subject of Erich Heckel’s living studio

Erich Heckel, Sich Waschende, 1912, Brücke-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

Erich Heckel, Akt im Raum, 1912, Brücke-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

“Under the roof of one of the large indifferent apartment buildings on the outskirts of Berlin” (Max Sauerlandt), a lively flat swap took place between artist friends in the first decades of the twentieth century. In 1908, Otto Mueller was the first to discover the humble space in the attic of what was then Mommsenstraße 60 in Steglitz. Here he set up a live-in studio. In 1911, it was the fellow Brücke artist Erich Heckel’s turn to move into the room, which he then left to his younger artist friend Otto Herbig when he moved out in 1919. All three used the attic both as a working and living space, even though staying overnight was actually forbidden at the time.

Otto Mueller, Maschka Mueller, Erna Schilling and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Otto Mueller's studio at Mommsenstr. 60, Berlin, around 1910, photograph, Brücke-Museum

With simple means and artistic prowess, Mueller and Heckel transformed the shabby attic room into a dazzling space, each in their own way. Mueller painted large wall sections with figures; Heckel and the dancer Sidi Riha (née Milda Frieda Georgi), his partner and future wife, focused their design around textiles: together they dyed and painted large fabric panels before draping them on and over walls, ceilings and furniture. The guests’ reactions were mixed. Some were enchanted by the flat’s unconventional furnishings, while others were shocked by the precarious conditions in which the couple “lived”. It was mainly the makeshift furniture made of planks and crates that repeatedly provoked consternation. The expressionist artist Franz Marc even described how one of the pieces of homemade furniture collapsed under his wife, Maria Marc.

Mommsenstraße 60 also acted as the official business address of the Brücke artists’ group until its dissolution in May 1913. The group’s business mail, bank correspondence and public announcements were all sent out bearing this address. In 1912, Heckel even cut a wooden signet with the inscription “KG Brücke / Steglitz Mom̅sen 60”, which he used to print on envelopes. One such envelope – addressed to Gustav Schiefler, Hamburg art collector and passive (that is, supporting) Brücke member – is still held in the Brücke-Museum collection today.

Isabel Fischer

Explore Berlin through the Eyes of the Brücke Artists
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