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Art History and Artists

Expressionism

History >> Art History

General Overview

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 Scream
(Click image to see larger version)

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.


The Large Red Horses
(Click image to see larger version)

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.


Lady in a Green Jacket
(Click image to see larger version)

Famous Expressionist Artists Interesting Facts about Expressionism
Note: Any artwork used that is not public domain is used under the U.S. fair use laws because this is an educational article about the painting or image. The images used are low resolution. If you own the copyright and have issues with us using the artwork, please contact us and it will be removed promptly.

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Works Cited

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