The German painter, graphic artist and sculptor Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was born on 1 December 1884 in Rottluff near Chemnitz as Karl Schmidt. While his work was initially marked by Impressionism, he is one of the most important artists of Expressionism as co-founder of the artist group "Brücke". Schmidt-Rottluff died on August 10, 1976 in Berlin.
Schmidt-Rottluff studied architecture at the Technical University of Dresden from 1905 onwards. Together with his school friend Erich Heckel and his two study colleagues Fritz Bleyl and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, he founded the artist group "Brücke" in 1905, whose first exhibition took place in Leipzig in the same year. From this year on, he added the double-name Schmidt-Rottluff by adding his birthplace. In addition to the bridge painters, he is also in contact with other groups of artists such as the New Secession in Berlin, the group of the Blue Rider in Munich and the Sonderbund in Cologne, where he participated in 1910 and 1912. After breaking the bridge group, he joined the Freie Secession in Berlin in 1914, where his first solo exhibition took place. In his early Impressionist works, he primarily depicts North German and Scandinavian landscapes. After his move to Berlin in 1911, geometrical forms emerge, and from the 19th century round, curved forms emerge. Schmidt-Rottluff participated in the last annual exhibition of the Deutscher Künstlerbundes 1936 in the Hamburger Kunstverein before his art was confiscated as "degenerate" in 1937 and some works subsequently destroyed. In 1941, the exclusion from the artist's bond was followed by the imposition of a professional ban, which he, however, disregarded and extended. After the destruction of his Berlin studio and his apartment by a bomb attack, he moved from 1943 to 1946 to his birthplace Rottluff near Chemnitz before returning to Berlin after 1947 to join a professorship at the College of Fine Arts. During this time his famous large-scale watercolors are created. In 1950, he became the chairman of the re-founded Deutscher Künstlerbundes, in 1955 he took part in the documenta I in Kassel and in 1956 the Order Pour le Mérite was awarded to him for science and art.