German painter. He was born in Speyer, son of the painter GeorgHeinrichPurrmann (1844–1900), and trained with his father and then in Karlsruhe and Munich. From 1906 to 1914 he lived in Paris, where he became a friend of Matisse and helped to run his art school. He was one of Matisse's most talented followers and he wrote of the master: ‘In my personal contact with Matisse, I noticed how strictly he examined and judged the effect as a whole. He always seemed to ask himself how he should fill his canvases to create something expressive, clear and penetrating, without any superfluous ballast.’ Until 1935 Purrmann worked mainly in Berlin, then moved to Italy, his work having been declared degenerate by the Nazis. From 1944 he lived mainly in Switzerland. In his later work he moved from the bright Fauvist colour inspired by Matisse to a mellower style akin to that of late Renoir.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.