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Max Pechstein

1881 - 1955

Pechstein trained at the Dresden Kunstakademie (Academy of Fine Arts) where he was awarded the Prix de Rome. In 1906 he was invited by Erich Heckel to join the artistic group Die Brücke (The Bridge). Pechstein was directly influenced by the Fauves (‘wild beasts’), whose work he saw during a trip to Paris in 1907–8 and at the Fauve exhibition in Dresden at the Kunstsalon Richter in September 1908. Pechstein’s bold style and free use of discordant colours soon established him as the leading figure of Die Brücke. He moved to Berlin from Dresden in 1908 and became a member of the Berlin Secession in 1909. He left to co-found the more radical breakaway group the Neue Secession (New Secession) in 1911 becoming the group’s President. In 1912 he exhibited with both Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) and at the Galerie Der Sturm in Munich. He was expelled from Die Brücke in 1912. In 1914, inspired by Paul Gauguin and with a burgeoning interest in the visual language of non-Western cultures, he visited Palau and New Guinea.