The earliest German Expressionist group, called Die Brücke [The Bridge] was founded by a number of young artists whose principal aim was that of creating a bridge between life and art. Their permanent quest for a primeval harmony resulted in their summer trips in which they left Dresden for distant locations. Erich Heckel and his fellow group member Karl Schmidt-Rottluff focused on the small coastal town of Dangast on the North Sea.
Located in that region, the brick factories had tall chimneys and were a bright red colour that contrasted strongly with the surrounding green landscape. They were depicted for the first time by Heckel in this canvas in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and would soon become one of his preferred subjects. The loose handling, with its spontaneous brushstrokes heavily charged with unrealistic colours, recalls Van Gogh, whose work Heckel encountered in an exhibition held in Dresden in 1905, but differs in the less ordered and systematic application of the strokes.