Max Pechstein

1881-1955

H

STYLE

Assimilated ideas without reflection: no mentions of artistic ambitions or theories in his memoirs. Bold colors and large planes, in a Constructivist manner, expressive of a strong and original temperament. No desire for symbolism or myth.

Remained loyal to naturalistic representation. Intermediary between new movement and the wider public.

Considered the leading figure of German Expressionism, on a level with Picasso. He did not place as much importance on himself.

I would like to express my longing for happy experiences, I do not want us to be forever regretting. Art has been and remains the part of my life that brings me happiness.

TIMELINE

1881

31 December, born in Eckersbach near Zwickau.

1896

Apprenticed to a decorator until 1900.

1900

Student at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden until 1902. Went in for all six classes in the annual competition only two years later and won first prize in five. Offered a teaching position, declined.

1902

Student at the Dresden academy Academie deer bildenden Kunst (Academy of Fine Arts) until 1906.

1906

Won the Rome prize for painting awarded by the kingdom of Saxony.

Became a member of the Brucke. Only one year of close association.

Coming from poverty, his designs were practicable, even as a student.

1907

In autumn - Italy thru to 1908.

1908

Stayed in Paris six months. Met Van Dongen and Matisse. Moved to Berlin.

1909

from this year he spent summers on the Kurische Nehrung, Nidden on the Baltic.

Had received commissions public and private for stained glass windows, murals and mosaics.

He became the first of the Brucke to exhibit at the Berlin Secession. Sold two out of the three canvases. One to the influential industrialist Rathenau.

1910

Rejected the new movement of the Berlin Secession. Cofounder and chairman of the Neue Secession in Berlin.

Summer: went to Moritzburg with Kirchner and Heckel, and then with Heckel to join Schmidt-Rottluff at Dangast.

1911

Visited Italy. Paintings of this time influenced by Matisse.

1912

Rejoined the Berlin Secession, expelled from the Brucke

1913

Visited Italy

1914

April, his dealer Gurlitt helped him travel to the Palau Islands in the South Pacific. Became a prisoner of the Japanese, adventurous return to Germany in 1915.

1916

Military Service

1918

Cofounder and chairman of the Novembergruppe

1922

Member of the Prussian Academy

Three monographs and a catalogue of his graphic work had been published. Not another substantial work about him since.

1934

Expelled from the academy and the Berlin Secession

1940

Moved to Pomerania

1945

Returned to Berlin. Appointed to the staff of the Hochschule fur bildende Kunst in Berlin

1955

Died June 29 in Berlin.

 

SOURCES

1.  The Expressionists. Wolf-Dieter Dube, trans by Mary Whittall. Thames and Hudson, 1972.