Born. 01.12.1884 in the Kingdom of Saxony, Germany
Died. 10.08.1976 in Berlin
German painter, Expressionist
About the artist
Karl Schmidt was born on 1 December 1884 in Rottluff, now a district of Chemnitz. In 1905, He studied architecture at the Sächsische Technische Hochschule in Dresden but left after only one term. He met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz Bleyl during his studies and discovered that they all shared similar artistic interests. Die Brücke was founded in Dresden on 7 June 1905, as a group of artists whose aim was to create a style that did not conform and which forsook all traditional values. The group played a major role in the development of art in the 20th century. The first exhibition opened in Leipzig in November 1905. In 1906, Schmidt decided to add his native town of Rottluff to his surname.
From 1907 to 1912, Schmidt-Rottluff, who was a loner, spent his summers painting near Bremen. Die Brücke group disbanded in 1913 due to a conflict in artistic style and direction.
Schmidt-Rottluff was instrumental in reviving the art of woodcutting. He adopted a much more angular style in his woodcuts and experimented more with carving.
After serving as a soldier during World War I, he returned to his love of painting. In the early 1920s his work, which was mainly landscapes, was more colourful and carefree, and by the mid-1920s it began to evolve into flat shapes with gentle outlines.
The rewards and honors Schmidt-Rottluff had received after World War I were stripped from him after the Nazi Party‘s rise to power. As with a lot of artists during that period his paintings were seized from museums by the Nazis, and several of them were shown in exhibitions as examples of “degenerate art”. He was expelled by the painters’ guild and painting was forbidden paint. A lot of his work was destroyed so he returned to Rottluff to recover.
As with other artists, his reputation returned after the war. He was a professor at the University of Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg and his influence was passed on to the next generation. Schmidt-Rottluff died on 10 August 1976 in Berlin.