Expressionism Art Movement

Germany, 1901 - 1970

Expressionism Art Movement, Expressionist Oil Paintings & Artists.

Expressionism Art Movement or Expressionist art is one of the earliest avant-garde art movements, with Fauvism being the earliest. German Expressionism was influenced by Fauvism, and both are known for their bold, intense colors and techniques. The dawn of the twentieth century marked a time of increased anxiety, tension, and neurosis for Germany. The expressionist movement, originating in the German cultural centers, spread rapidly through Europe and illustrated the growing anguish and frustration of modern man. Expressionism also took hold in literature, theater, and cinema.

The Expressionist art movement centered on the expression of feelings through intense, violent colors to show emotional angst; they abstracted their forms; and attempted to express modern and contemporary ideas through the emotional subject matter in their oil paintings. This movement is one of the first examples of abstract art, preceding Cubism, another influential modern art movement in history.

Expressionism’s two main groups were created in Germany in response to the impact of industrialization and urbanization on the human condition. The German Expressionists rejected realism in favor of the representation of emotion and shared many other ideas with other avant-garde movements of the time, such as Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.

The Bridge, Die Brücke, it's All About the Subject.

The first official Expressionist group Die Brücke, "The Bridge." was founded in Dresden in 1905 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.The movement was characterized by its use of tormented, angular lines, distorting its figures almost to the point of caricature, and a taste for harsh, emotionally charged colors. In the past century, it became more closely identified with Fauvism. It is often contrasted with it because of their enthusiasm for primitive art, the use of unnatural colors, and the fact that neither was abstract. The defining distinction was in the subjects and settings. Die Brücke was bolder and dealt with more intense and uncomfortable subjects. Die Brucke moved from Dresden to Berlin in 1911 but disbanded in 1913. Its members all continued on to pursue independent artistic careers.

The Blue Rider, Der Blaue Reiter, it's All About the Color.

Within the overall dynamics of German Expressionism, the group in Munich centered around the publication, Der Blaue Reiter, "The Blue Rider," from 1910 to 1916 and strongly contrasted with Kirchner and the artists of the Berlin avant-garde. It was composed of expatriate Russians living in Germany and was co-founded by Wassily Kandinsky. It was a movement first based on color. In this respect, there are strong similarities between this group and the parallel explorations of Matisse, the Fauves, Delaunay, and Klee. Along with Kandinsky, whose work was already moving toward Abstract Art, this historic group included Franz Marc, August Macke, and to a lesser degree Aleksey von Jawlensky. Marc was a passionate lover of animals and would have preferred to name it after a horse. However, Kandinsky insisted on the rider, at least they agreed on the choice of blue as it was the favorite color of both artists. The artists strove to express spiritual truth within their art, to remain free of strict or traditional artistic values, to promote modern art, and to be spontaneous. They were influenced and inspired by medieval art and primitive art, and as they grew, were influenced by other avant-garde movements toward abstraction. Macke and Marc were sent to the French front during WWI. Even there, the painters sought moments of relief from the anguish of the trenches in their favorite motifs: Marc painted animals while Macke painted figures communing with nature. Both were killed on the front lines.

Other famous Expressionism artists include: Max Beckmann, Fernando Botero, Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, James Ensor, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Gabriele Münter, Max Pechstein, Constant Permeke, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault

Adapted in part from

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Expressionism Art Movement Painters Biography & Painting Reproductions

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