The self-portrait shows the artist in melancholy and depressed mood, with furrowed face; this way Heckel faced up with himself during the war in 1917. In this time the artist was stationed as a corpsman in Flanders where he experienced the horror of the World War I. Even working as a corpsman Heckel left some time for his artistical work because his contingent was under the leadership of his friend Walter Kaesbach who was art historian and an important patron of expressionism.
The sheet is discolored and shows overall scattered marks. In the center are three larger horizontal running creases (due to printing) and in the lower part several creases can be seen. The edges bear partially tiny damages and tiny tears and at the lower left edge is a small tear. The sheet is mounted on the framing cardboard on the reverse. The overall impression is good. The frame shows signs of age and wear. The glass panel is missing.
Erich Heckel (1883-1970)
Erich Heckel was born in 1883 in Döbeln and studied architecture before he dedicated himself to the fine arts. In 1905 Heckel initiated the ‘Brücke’ in Dresden along with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Bleyl (who quit in 1907) – a group of expressionist artists. Later the group was joined by Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde and Otto Mueller. In 1913, the group dissolved and Erich Heckel presented his first solo exhibition at Gallery Fritz Gurlitt. In 1955 he took part in the first documenta in Kassel. Several major retrospectives were organized on the occasion of his 70th and 80th birthday. Heckel has received numerous awards and honors, such as the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953, and the Order Pour le Mérite for Science and the Arts in 1967. (msc)