The group was founded by Gerd Arntz, Heinrich Hoerle and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert. The group related their attitude to art to their political activism. As Wieland Schmied put it, they "sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement, and which perhaps approximated most to the forward looking of New Objectivity [...] ". They originated Figurative Constructivism.
This concept comes from their concern not merely to communicate social and political necessities, but also to ensure that their artworks could be turned toward the viewers sensible reality and become tenable as an argument. This is tied to their political commitment to proletarian culture in the specific context of the Rhineland during the tumults of the 1920s.
- Everett, Martin. "Art as a weapon: Franz Seiwert and the Cologne progressives". Lib Com. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Wieland Schmied: "Neue Sachlichkeit. Der deutsche Realismus der zwanziger Jahre", in: Kritische Grafik in der Weimarer Zeit, Op. cit., p. 21. As cited in: August Sander 1876–1964. Lange, Susanne, p. 108. ISBN 3-8228-7179-6
- Roth, Lynette (2008). Painting as a weapon : progressive Cologne 1920-1933 : Siewert, Hoerle, Arntz (translation, Uta Hoffman ed.). Köln: Walther König. ISBN 9783865603982.