Movement Expressionism

Unlike Impressionism, Expressionism sought not to reproduce a depiction of the world but rather illustrate the artist's emotional response to their surroundings. Garish colours, dynamic brush stokes, distorted compositions, primitive influences, strident and even violent subject matter; the Expressionists replaced visual reality for their own emotionally-charged perceptions of the truth. Expressionism first manifested itself in Germany in 1910, embodying the increasing anxiety that surrounded humanity's cacophonous relationship with spirituality and the world. The rapid urbanisation of the world and increasingly afflictive relationship to nature, inspired the Expressionists to explore the subjects alienated by industrialisation. Lonely products of capitalism, emotionally starved individuals, prostitutes and solitary souls were depicted through inflated and distorted brush strokes. 

German Expressionism in particular can be divided into two distinctive groups: Die Brücke et Der Blaue Reiter. Despite their different approaches, these two movements are often merged into the single German Expressionist movement. Die Brücke (“The Bridge") was formed in 1905 in Dresden. It explored an emotional sensitivity that was divorced from intellect, and the weariness surrounding the German society that edged towards an inherent collapse. Artists leading the movement were Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Erich Heckel. Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider") came after Die Brücke, and was a product of thinkers and philosophers. Intellectuals interrogated the boundaries of art and the power it had on society. It lasted from 1912 to 1914, and its key artists included Vassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Munter, Franz Marc, August Macke, and Alexej von Jawensky.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: one of the most important figures of the Die Brücke movement. Through his use of unusual compositions, figures in motion, stimulated renderings  of the human form, an inflated hypersensitivity and vivid colours, Kirchner depicted Berlin's transforming bohemian life. 

Emil Nolde: a significant painter of the movement, who was heavily influenced by Vincent Van Gogh. Nolde found inspiration in primitive art, and Van Gogh's influence can be felt in his acute preoccupation with flowers in his work. Golden hues and deep maroons resonate on his canvas, transforming these otherwise muted tones into vivid and captivating works of art. 

Wassily Kandinsky: intensely inspired to create art that surpassed physical frontiers, he explored profound levels of spirituality in his work. His heavily abstracted compositions depict the vast extent of human emotion, and he considered music as the ultimate form of non-objective art.  

Edvard Munch: a key figure in Expressionism, and an endlessly troubled artist, Munch was plagued by thoughts of death, illness, sex and religion. He channelled his agitated thoughts through complex and vivid compositions and subject matter, using the depiction of sex to convey the increasingly bohemian habit of using sexual experiences as a means of  liberating oneself from social resignation. 

Enter the distorted and hyperbolic psyches of the great Expressionist masters through our talented contemporary artists. Whether you're guided by Caroline Vis' colours, captivated by Alexander Bagrat's visceral nudes, or hypnotised by Joëlle Kem Lika's psychologically-charged compositions; Artsper has the Expressionism-inspired work for you.

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