Pechstein, Max

Pechstein, Max Biography

German expressionist painter, born near Zwickau. Associated with both Die Brucke (The Bridge) group in Dresden and the Neue Sezession in Berlin, he painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and beach scenes. Inspired by aboriginal art, he used bright undiluted colors and vigorous brushstrokes. His oil paintings tended to be more eclectic, more naturalistic, and less innovative than the work of other expressionists.

In 1906, when Pechstein joined Die Brucke, he was painting in the style of the Impressionists. But his association with the members of Die Brucke and exposure to the works of Matisse led Max Pechstein to use vigorous brushstrokes and jarring combinations of unmixed colours..

In 1910 Max Pechstein joined the Neue Sezession (New Secession), an association of artists in Berlin. His art works of this period have simpler compositions and more sombre colours. In 1914 he traveled to Palau in the western Pacific, where he painted exotic subjects in a deliberately primitive manner.

Back in Europe, he designed stained glass and mosaics and took a teaching position at the Berlin Academy. He was forced to resign when the Nazis declared his work "decadent" but regained his post after World War II. His late work, however, lost much of the vigour of his earlier styles.

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