From 1906 to 1912, Die Brücke group of Expressionist artists published an annual portfolio for its members, their prints bear witness to their program. The Department of Prints and Drawings at the Kunsthalle Bremen owns a complete version of each annual portfolio. The fifth annual portfolio, dating from 1910, contains three portrayals of nudes by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that, with respect to their themes, make reference to his second summer stay at the Moritzburg Lakes northwest of Dresden. In their search for a life that was sensually liberated and for an art that went beyond bourgeois conventions, Kirchner and Erich Heckel moved their work out into pristine nature. The color woodcut Bathers Throwing Reeds shows how indebted Kirchner was to non-European art: The hard-edged figures with their black masses of hair have been reduced to hieroglyphs, recalling in their emphatic two-dimensionality the flat relief of a house beam of the Palau islanders, which Kirchner had studied in the recently reopened Museum of Ethnology in Dresden. It was in the woodcut that the members of Die Brücke found their true print medium. This was in keeping with their desire for original expression, though it demanded a strong, spontaneous, and, above all, non-correctible working process.


  • Title: Bathers Throwing Reeds
  • Creator: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Date Created: 1909
  • Physical Dimensions: 400.0 x 540.0 mm
  • Type: print
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen. Kupferstichkabinett
  • Medium: Color woodcut (print using three woodblocks, in black, red, and green)

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