The Berlin Secession (Berliner Secession) was an art association founded by Berlin artists in 1898 as an alternative to the conservative state-run Association of Berlin Artists. That year the official salon jury rejected a landscape by Walter Leistikow, who was a key figure amongst a group of young artists interested in modern developments in art. Sixty-five young artists formed the initial membership of the Secession.
In 1901 Bruno Cassirer resigned from the Secession, so that he could dedicate himself entirely to the Cassirer publishing firm. Paul took over the running of the Cassirer gallery, and supported various Secessionist artists including the sculptors Ernst Barlach and August Gaul, as well as promoting French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.