April 23, 2009

"Die Brücke" at the Neue Galerie

On the 7th of June, 1905, in Dresden Germany, 4 architecture students got together and formed the Kunstler Gruppe Brücke, an artists' group devoted to practicing painting, drawing and printmaking in a new style. The original founders included Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff then later Hermann Max Pechstein, Otto Mueller and briefly Emil Nolde were admitted as members . Living and working in a communal studio, the group strove to create a perfect world that harmonized art and life and acted as an antidote to the rapid expansion and urbanization that were assailing modern German society.

The result was the short-lived but very influential art movement "Die Brücke" or "Bridge". Typified by vivid colors and emotional directness, Brücke eventually evolved into German Expressionism which thrived in Weimar Berlin until the 1930's.

Until the end of June and for the first time in America, visitors to the Neue Galerie have the opportunity to learn more about this little known but highly influential movement. The curators have assembled a superb collection of paintings, sculpture and graphics that truly reflect the spectrum of the artists in this group. Organized on themes of "Experience of Nature", "Communal Studio", "Urban Transformation" the exhibition features over 100 outstanding landscapes, nudes, portraits and street scenes in the group's distinctive raw style. I was fascinated with the special group of woodcuts, lithographs and drawings that reflected the influence of Jugendstil and Symbolism.

All that powerful art can make one hungry and the Neue Galerie has the perfect solution for a rumbling tummy! A stop at the Café Sabarsky will restore both body and soul with a delicious Viennese coffee and a decadent torte in a very elegant setting. Better yet, make a reservation for the Neue Galerie's special "Austrian Wine Series", an evening of food, wine and art that sounds absolutely fabulous! Guten appetit!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
"Die Straße / The Street", Dresden, 1908/09

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