Art History and Artists
The Expressionist movement started in Germany. These artists wanted to paint about emotion. It could be anger, anxiety, fear, or peacefulness. This wasn't a completely new idea in art. Other artists like Vincent van Gogh had been doing the same thing. However, this was the first time this type of art had been given a name.
When was the Expressionism movement?
The Expressionist movement occurred during the early part of the 1900s.
What are the characteristics of Expressionism?
Expressionist art tried to convey emotion and meaning rather than reality. Each artist had their own unique way of "expressing" their emotions in their art. In order to express emotion, the subjects are often distorted or exaggerated. At the same time colors are often vivid and shocking.
Examples of Expressionist Art
The Scream (Edvard Munch)
This painting shows a man standing on a bridge. His hands are on his face and he is screaming. The sky behind him is red and swirling. The picture expresses the emotion of a person alone in their anguish and anxiety. Munch made four versions of this picture. One of them sold for over $119 million in 2012.
The Large Red Horses (Franz Marc)
The Large Red Horses uses color and movement to express the energy and power of nature. Franz Marc often used colors to represent certain emotions; blue meant spirituality, yellow femininity, and red power and violence. He also painted a lot of pictures of horses and other animals.
Lady in a Green Jacket (August Macke)
In this painting a lady is standing in the foreground wearing a dark green jacket. She is looking sort of down and to the side. There are two couples in the background walking away from her. You get the feeling that maybe she is lonely or has lost someone recently. One of the ladies in the background has turned to look back at her, perhaps feeling sorry for her.
Famous Expressionist Artists
- Max Beckman - Beckman was a German painter who was against the Expressionist movement. However, many of his paintings are described as Expressionist.
- James Ensor - A Dutch painter who had great influence on the Expressionist movement in Germany.
- Oskar Kokoschka - An Austrian artist whose artwork was displayed in the German magazine The Storm when Expressionism became a true art movement.
- August Macke - A leading member of the Expressionist group The Blue Rider in Germany, he also painted some Abstract Art.
- Franz Marc - A founding member of The Blue Rider group, Franz Marc was one of the leaders in the Expressionist movement.
- Edvard Munch - A Symbolist and Expressionist, Munch is best known for his famous painting The Scream.
- Egon Schiele - An early adopter of Expressionism, Egon died at the young age of 28.
- Another movement was taking place in France at the same time called Fauvism. It was led by artist Henri Matisse.
- Groups of Expressionist artists formed in Germany. One was called The Bridge and the other The Blue Rider.
- Many Expressionist artists also overlap into other movements such as Fauvism, Symbolism, Abstract Art, and Surrealism.
- There was also Expressionist literature, dance, sculpture, music, and theatre.
- Many of the German Expressionists artists had to flee Germany during World War II.
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