Erich Heckel: In a lunatic asylum

Erich Heckel (1883–1970) was one of the founding members of Die Brücke (“The Bridge”), formed in Dresden in 1905 as a bohemian group of artists in rebellion against the older, established norms. In this painting, he depicts four inmates confined to a mental institution for reasons not explained. The squalid and disheveled man in the foreground on the left may well be suffering from a depressive disease now treatable with drugs and not requiring institutionalization. The one listening on the right by applying his ear to the partition or wall could be a paranoid schizophrenic. Two other men are shown in the background and through a window we catch a glimpse of what may well be the women’s section.

 

Erich Heckel, Der Irre (The Madman).
Erich Heckel, Der Irre (The Madman), 1920. Städtisches Museum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Copyright: VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.

 


 

GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief

 

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