Karl Schmidt was born in Rottluff, today a district of Chemnitz, (Saxony), and began to call himself Schmidt-Rottluff in 1905. On 7 June 1905, the group of artists known as Die Brücke ("the bridge") was created by the architecture students Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl and Erich Heckel in Dresden. In November 1905 the first exhibition of Die Brücke followed in Leipzig. The group dissolved in 1913. In 1937, 608 of his paintings were seized from museums by the Nazis and several of them shown in exhibitions of "degenerate art" ("Entartete Kunst"). In 1947, Schmidt-Rottluff was appointed a professor at the University of Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg. He was a prolific printmaker, with 300 woodcuts, 105 lithographs, 70 etchings, and 78 commercial prints described in the Rosa Schapire Catalogue raisonné. He died in Berlin in 1976.