In 1964, the artist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff initiated the establishment of a museum in his city of residence Berlin to honour the artists’ group Brücke. With a donation to the State of Berlin, he laid the foundation for its collection. Just three years later, on 15 September 1967, Brücke-Museum opened in a new building designed by Werner Düttmann in Berlin’s Dahlem district. Since its inception, Brücke-Museum has been an institution under the responsibility of the Berlin Department of Culture.
Schmidt-Rottluff continuously acquired new works of art until his death in 1976 transferring them to the museum to expand its collection. His fellow Brücke member Erich Heckel also generously supported the project: In 1966 he arranged for the first extensive donation of over 900 works; when he died in 1970, his widow Siddi Heckel donated further works. Friends of the artist’ group, such as Max Kaus and Emy Roeder, likewise donated artworks and, thus, contributed to the establishment of this special museum for the Brücke artists.
Leopold Reidemeister, an experienced museum professional and friend of the artists, ran the museum from its opening until his death in 1987. Then Eberhard Roters took over as provisional director; Magdalena M. Moeller followed in 1988 and headed the institution until she retired. Lisa Marei Schmidt has been director of Brücke-Museum since October 2017.