Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Like other members of the expressionist group Brücke, Heckel spent several consecutive summers at the Moritzburg lakes near Dresden. While there with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Pechstein in 1910, he painted this scene of three nudes at the water’s edge. Heckel and the other artists chose to use non-professional models, to “guarantee movements without studio training,” as he recalled, and to increase the impression of spontaneity. Heckel sought spontaneity in his artistic process as well, first recording his impressions in color planes. Such expressionist strategies signified a conscious move away from academic strictures in art, as well as an increasing liberation from bourgeois values, reflected in Freikörperkultur, the growing nudist or naturist movement of the period.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Erich Heckel, German (Döbeln, Germany 1883 - 1970 Radolfzell, Germany)
Landscape with Bathing Women
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Badende am Teich (Moritzburg)
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1500, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
83.2 x 97 cm (32 3/4 x 38 3/16 in.)
frame: 94.1 x 107.6 x 6 cm (37 1/16 x 42 3/8 x 2 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: on recto at l.l.: E Heckel
  • inscription: recto, l.l., above signature, in artist's hand
  • label: verso, l.l., black ink, printed and typewritted, English: B-R / Busch-Reisinger Museum Harvard University / Accession Number: / 1950.430 / Artist: / Erich HECKEL / (1883-1970) / Title: / Landscape with Bathing Women [underlined] 1910 / Oil on canvas / Credit line: / Museum Purchase
  • label: verso, l.l., fiber-tip pen, handwritten: 35
  • label: verso, l.l., red ink, printed, English: PLEXIGLAS / Do not Tape
  • label: verso, l.l., black ink, printed and typewritten, English: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Loan # 587.80 Catalog # 93 / Exhibition German Expressionism / Lender Busch-Reisinger Museum
  • label: verso, l.l., black ink and fiber-tip pen, printed and handwritten: Fogg Art Museum / LOAN / 12125 / Busch-Reisinger
  • label: verso, l.c., fiber-tip pen, handwritten: 35
  • label: verso, l.c., black ink and ballpoint pen, printed, typewritten, and handwritten, English: Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University / Cambridge, Massachusetts / Erich Heckel: LANDSCAPE WITH BATHERS / Busch Re / 1950.430
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Museum Purchase
© Erich Heckel / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Charles Werner Haxthausen, "The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard: the Germanic Tradition", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 403-413, p. 410

Expressionism: A German Intuition 1905-1920, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (New York, 1980), p. 108, cat. 93, ill. (b/w)

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 25, repr.

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 162

Exhibition History

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

Expressionism: A German Intuition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 11/14/1980 - 01/18/1981; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 02/19/1981 - 04/26/1981

20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/07/1981 - 11/11/1981

19th- and 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 02/08/1982

Erich Heckel - Setting Out and Tradition. A Retrospective, Brücke-Museum Berlin, Berlin (Dahlem), 09/19/2010 - 01/16/2011

32Q: 1500 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Expressionism-Interwar), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/05/2015 - 02/04/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/01/2018 - 01/01/2050

Looking Back: The Western Tradition in Retrospect, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/20/2018 - 05/06/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at