Erich Heckel

Erich Heckel, (born July 31, 1883, Döbeln, Germany—died January 27, 1970, Radolfzell, West Germany [now Germany]), German painter, printmaker, and sculptor who was one of the founding members of Die Brücke (“The Bridge”), an influential group of German Expressionist artists. He is best known for his paintings and bold woodcuts of nudes and landscapes.

In 1904 Heckel began to study architecture in DresdenGermany, where Die Brücke was formed the following year. The strong outlines and bright colours in Heckel’s early works as a member of that group reveal his admiration for Post-Impressionist painters Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin; he had the ability to use colour and distorted space to achieve a highly emotive effect. After moving to Berlin in 1911 with the rest of Die Brücke, Heckel became increasingly interested in formal pictorial composition. The mood of his works became more melancholy, and he subdued his previously bright colours. He often focused on themes of illness and introspection, as in the triptych Convalescent Woman (1913).

The Brücke artists helped to revive the woodcut tradition in Germany; they prized the medium’s ability to convey rough, spontaneous marks and bold, flat colour. Heckel was the artist most prolific in woodcut, often creating posters and invitations for Die Brücke exhibitions. The group also had an interest in African sculpture, which can be seen in Heckel’s woodcut Sleeping Negress (1908) and in his wood sculpture Crouching Girl (1912).

Heckel served as a medical corpsman in World War I. Most of his prewar works were lost, and after 1920 his painting became less intense, with a palette that shifted to more pastel colours. Nevertheless, in 1937 the Nazis denounced his work, labeling it “degenerate.” After World War II Heckel taught at the Academy of Art (1949–56) in Karlsruhe, West Germany, until his retirement. In 1963 a retrospective exhibit of his work was held in the German cities of Munich, Berlin, and Stuttgart.

“Fruhlingslanscaft”, Erich Heckel (German
Original woodcut. The English title is “Spring Landscape”. This powerful German Expressionist woodcut was published in Weimar, Germany in 1918 for Das Kunstblatt. Printed on wove paper. Image: 10 1/8” x 8 ¼”, Sheet: 11 ¼”  x 8 ½”  Not signed. Catalogue reference: Dube 225.
“Junges Madschen”, Erich Heckel (German 1883-1970)
Original woodcut. This striking woodcut was published in 1920 for Genius. Image size: 10 1/8 x 6 3/4 inches (258 x 170 mm), on wove paper with full margins. Signed in the block. Catalogue reference Dube 264 IIIB.
This original Erich Heckel woodcut is from GENIUS: Zeitschrift für Werdende und Alte Kunst. This art and literary project only lasted three years but had incredible influence on German art and culture between the Wars. Some of the important artists contributing original prints included: Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Richard Seewald, Franz Marc, Erich Heckel, Frans Masereel, Max Kaus, Karl Hofer, Alexander Archipenko, and others. This was a major vehicle for the German Expressionists.
“Manner am Strand”, Erich Heckel 
Original woodcut published in Germany in 1918 by Das Kestnerbuch
unsigned, un-numbered numbered. (reference Dube 319) Size Image:  7″ x 5 1/4″ — 17.5 x 13 cm   $1000.00
“Sachsische Arbeiter”, Erich Heckel (1883-1970)
Original woodcut, 1946