We are the DDB: Brücke-Museum

The Brücke Museum collects and researches the works of the Expressionist artist group Brücke. It is the only museum in the world with this focus and possesses one of the most extensive collections of Brücke art. As a special museum with a focused collection, it is a research institution that aims to be the first point of contact for scholars worldwide for questions and research on the Brücke. To this end, it works closely with other museums and research institutions.

Ausstellungsansicht Brücke-Museum, 2022, Foto: Nick Ash
Exhibition view Brücke Museum, 2022, Photo: Nick Ash

The Brücke-Museum presents its collection in thematically changing exhibitions. Due to the limited size of the exhibition space, only a fraction of the extensive holdings can be shown. This makes it all the more important to digitise the holdings with a digital presentation that is independent of time and location. Since 2019, digital copies and work data have been published on the Online Collection of its own website as well as in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek.

The museum sees itself as an open house, to which inclusion and diversity of all visitors are a matter of course. Participation is not only important within the team, but also means the participation of visitors, which of course also includes free access to digital offers and the work data. 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Straßenszene mit grüner Dame (Street Scene with Green Lady), 1914, pastel chalks on paper, Brücke Museum (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

Digitisation project "Umbruchszeiten"

With the project Umbruchszeiten (Times of change) , around 500 paper works by the Brücke artists and their friends from the years 1914 to 1924 were made publicly available via the Brücke Museum's Online Collection and the website of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. The collection of works consists of watercolours, drawings and prints by the Brücke artists Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde and Fritz Bleyl as well as their friends Walter Gramatté, Franz Nölken and Anton Kerschbaumer. Funding was provided from the NEUSTART KULTUR  rescue and future programme of the Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, BKM).

Walther Gramatté, Der Morgenweg zum Amt (The Morning Walk to the Office), From the series of graphic works Der Mantel, Zwölf Lithographien zur Erzählung von Nicolai Gogol, sheet 1, 1918, lithography, Brücke Museum (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

For these artists, the years from 1914 to 1924 were marked by a series of personal, political and social incisions and developments, which were also reflected in their works: the end of the artists' group and, as a result, a largely independent artistic development, the First World War and the beginning of the Weimar Republic, but also their increasing establishment in the cultural sector.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, title page of the woodcut series Pictures of Peter Schlemihl's wundersame Geschichte by Adelbert von Chamisso, 1914, colour woodcut, Brücke Museum, Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Foundation (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

Among the digitised works are works that are very well known and much appreciated by the public, such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's street scenes, as well as hitherto less well-known portfolio works and literary illustrations, such as the graphic series Der Mantel (The Overcoat). Twelve lithographs on the story by Nicolai Gogol by Walther Gramatté. In the course of the project, one of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's most important print works was also published digitally: the seven-part woodcut series Peter Schlehmihl's wundersame Geschichte (Wondrous Story). Kirchner created it at the beginning of the First World War according to the story of the same name by Adalbert Chamisso.

Click here for the freshly digitised objects from the "Umbruchszeiten" project

The entire collection of the Bücke Museum in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek can be found here