|Die Brucke group by Kirchner|
Among these artists were men like Karl Schmidt-Rottulff, Erich Heckel, and most importantly Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The three had met while architectural students in Dresden. They took up painting to become the German equivalant of the French Fauves (pronounced foves, meaning wild beasts). But, unlike the Fauves, who tended toward landscapes, the Die Brucke favored the female nude in its most primitive, Neolithic form. Other subjects included a depiction of the social fragmentation of the modern cities they hated, yet sought out for their creature comforts. Their aesthetic and philosophical hero was Paul Gauguin, who had fled the creature comforts of city life for the supposedly primitive culture of Tahiti and an uninhibited sexuality that was a recurring theme in the Die Brucke nude figures as well as their bohemian lifestyle.
|Girl under a Japanese Umbrella,|
1909, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Kirchner's Girl under a Japanese Umbrella, painted in 1909, is typical of this type of painting. It depicts a reclining female nude under a Japanese umbrella painted in raucous reds, oranges, yellows, and golds, juxtaposed against cold blues and pale aquas. However such images make it plainly apparent that the Die Brucke vision of a primitive, uninhibited sexuality was to be seen from an exclusively male point of view, restricting women to models of sexual desire while painting their male friends reading, writing, painting, or playing chess. Die Brucke may have detested the bourgeois expectation insofar as men were concerned, but their attitudes toward women were rigidly conventional.