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Expressionism

(style, 1905-present)

Expressionism is the art of the emotive. It is a type of art provoked by the consciousness of the tensions and forces that surround modern humankind. The inevitability of world war, the new power of capitalism, the rise of industrialization – all of these things weighed greatly on the minds of men at the beginning of the century, especially in Germany. During the early 20th-century Northern European art movement in Germany (circa 1905-1925), artists such as Rouault, Schiele, and Kokoschka, painted in this manner.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

History

The word expressionist was first used in 1850, mostly to describe the paintings where an artist’s strong emotions were clearly depicted. The popularity of Expressionism increased even more with Julien Auguste Herve’s abstract painting entitled ‘Expressionismes’. It was Antonin Matejcek, a Czech art historian, who defined Expressionism as the opposite of Impressionism.

This particular form of abstract art was believed to have been formalized when a group of German artists founded the Die Brucke in 1905. The organization, which is founded by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, became the foundation of the German Expressionist movement. Six years later, it had inspired many young artists who in turn, founded Der Blaue Reiter in Munich.1 Since then, Expressionism became a widely recognized form of modern art.

View of Toledo by El Greco

As an Art Form

Expressionism is defined as an artistic style wherein the artist doesn’t depict objective reality in his works. Rather, he attaches his own emotions and personal responses to them. This is normally achieved through exaggeration, distortion, fantasy, and primitivism, or by the use of vivid, violent, jarring, or dynamic representation of formal elements.2

This modern art form is highly associated to Baroque, although many modern artists, historians, and critics beg to disagree. Alberto Arbasino, an Italian writer, essayist, and art critic, stated that Baroque is much more well-mannered than Expressionism.

On White II by Wassily Kandinsky

Famous Artists

One of the most notable modern artists of Expressionism is Vincent Van Gogh3, a Dutch painter who lived from 1853 to 1890. He is believed to have started Expressionism in the manner that many other notable artists followed. Other very good examples of Expressionist artists are Edvard Munch, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, and Henry Moore. Pablo Picasso is also believed to have used this abstract art form in his masterpieces as well.

Fighting Forms by Franz Marc

Famous Works

There are many Expressionism paintings that were made very popular then and now. For one, Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ (1893) had inspired many modern artists during the 20th century. But do note that there are a handful of abstract arts and paintings that can be unmistakably identified as Expressionist, which were very popular way before Munch. Among them are Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘On White II’ (1923) and Franz Marc’s ‘Fighting Forms’ (1914). Another very notable Expressionism painting is the one created by El Greco entitled ‘View of Toledo’. His work is regarded to have the most striking resemblance to 20th century Expressionism.

Paul Klee
Paul Klee’s paintings, quote, and biography.Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch’s paintings, quote, and biographyExpressionism
Expressionism, an international movement in the visual arts as well as in literature, film, and theater, flourished in Germany between 1905 and 1925. The artists championed idealist values and sought to break free from the traditional restrictions of bourgeois society. They were principally concerned with expressing emotion and inner psychological truth.

The German expressionists conducted prolific experiments in the graphic arts, introducing new techniques, vibrant colors, and disturbing, sometimes controversial subject matter in their prints. Woodcuts provided a way to confirm effects later appearing in their canvases: compositional structure, dramatic contrasts of light and color, the flat picture plane…MOMA: Expressionism
Artists of ‘Die Brucke’: Grouped around eight themes central to the Expressionist movement, it’s an interactive study of the seminal modern movement and contains more than 125 works in over 50 comparative groupings. Designed specifically for the Web in presentation and distribution, it accomplishes it’s goals—to entertain, educate and inspire—beautifully. The prints are brought to life through animation, music, narrated quotes, and large, high-quality images.

References

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism#Origin_of_the_term

2 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/198740/Expressionism

3 http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/e/expressionism


Expressionism Artists

Gershon Iskowitz
September 12, 2011 / By The Artists
Paul Camenisch
August 2, 2011 / By The Artists
Albert Muller
August 2, 2011 / By The Artists
Hermann Scherer
August 2, 2011 / By The Artists
Paula Modersohn-Becker
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Alexej von Jawlensky
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Franz Marc
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Heinz Trokes
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
George Grosz
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Oskar Kokoschka
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Richard Gerstl
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Asger Jorn
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Max Beckmann
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
August Macke
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Emilio Vedova
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Chaim Soutine
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Edvard Munch
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Wassily Kandinsky
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Otto Dix
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Joseph Solman
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Henk Chabot
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Erato Tsouvala
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Bela Kadar
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Wilhelm Thony
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Anton Kolig
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Hans Bohler
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Albin Egger-Lienz
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Cinzia Cremonesi
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Cesar Klein
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Martha Marshall
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
John Fitzsimmons
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Tom Curtis
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Georg Tappert
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Conrad Felixmuller
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Judy Jones
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Dianna Simms
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
George McNeil
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Magdi El-Din
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Joseph Matar
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Robert Firestone
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Anton Raderscheidt
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Ottone Rosai
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Georg Scholz
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Gustave de Smet
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Roderick Sauveur
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Frits van den Berghe
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Kathe Kollwitz
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Paul Klee
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Emil Nolde
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Wilfredo Lam
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Heinrich Campendonck
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Anton Faistauer
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists

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