Together with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel founded the artists' group 'Brücke' in 1904. Heckel's works were largely influenced by the experience of nature in its most pristine form as well as by his life in the big city of Berlin. After the ending of 'Die Brücke' in 1913 and Heckel's military service in World War I, the structure of his paintings became more consolidated, and he rendered scenes of landscapes, harbours, and cities in a cosmopolitan and realistic style. The female nude at the beach remained a recurrent theme in his paintings. From 1949 to 1955, he accepted a lectureship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe; among his students were Peter Dreher and Klaus Arnold. In the year 1955, Heckel took part in documenta.