German painter and printmaker Max Pechstein began his artistic training as an apprentice to a decorative painter in his hometown of Zwickau . In 1902, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin . After completing his studies, he traveled to Paris and encountered Fauve artists, whose bright color palette and bold style would thenceforth influence Pechstein’s work. In 1905, Pechstein joined the avant-garde group, Die Brücke, and adopted their interest in “primitive” art.
After travelling to the South Seas in 1914, Pechstein returned to Germany and was drafted into the army and sent to the Somme front. He was released in early 1917 after suffering a nervous breakdown. He went on to exhibit extensively and in 1932 received the State Prize fo the German Government. He founded the New Secession group and became its president, exhibited with Blaue Reiter and published in Der Sturm, co-founded the Institute for Modern Teaching of Painting, and eventually taught at the Berlin School of Fine Arts. It is thought that his success contributed to his expulsion from Die Brücke in 1912.
In 1933 he was labeled a "degenerate" artist, his works were confiscated and he was forbidden to exhibit in Germany. Despite these obstacles however, Pechstein was quite successful during his lifetime. Pechstein began printmaking early in his artistic career, producing his first hand-colored woodcut in 1905. In his 74 years, he produced around 400 lithographs, 300 woodcuts, and 170 intaglio prints. Some of his graphic works were illustrations for radical journals, but many were independent artworks.