Painter, lithographer, commercial artist, block-cutter, etcher, sculptor, woodcarver, publicist and college professor
Karl Schmidt was born in Rottluff, outside Chemnitz, Germany, in 1884. He began studying architecture in Dresden in 1905. There he met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Fritz Bleyl; in 1905 they founded the artists’ group the Brücke. Schmidt’s Expressionist paintings, many of them landscapes, have a distinct luminosity that he produced by blending primary colours. In 1906 he added the name of his birthplace to his own name. After moving to Berlin in 1911 his painting became more abstract. He showed works at the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne in 1912. In 1913 the Brücke group was dissolved. From 1915 to 1918 Schmidt-Rottluff served in Lithuania and Russia. He later processed his First World War experiences in woodcuts. In 1933 his works in German museums were confiscated, and in 1937 the National Socialists displayed some of them in the exhibition Degenerate Art; others were burned. In 1941 he was prohibited from painting. After the Second World War Schmidt-Rottluff was rehabilitated and awarded highest honours. He began teaching at Berlin’s academy, the Hochschule für bildende Künste, in 1947. He died in Berlin in 1976.