was a modernist art movement
that sought to represent the way subjective experience feels rather than how it looks. In this sense the artists involved distanced themselves from Impressionism
’s goal to paint images of the natural world constantly in flux. Instead, with vivid color, textured form, and strange angles, the Expressionists privileged the internal emotional landscape
of the individual. Expressionism has early antecedents, for example in the work of El Greco. The classic period of the movement however lasted from the early 1900s to 1930s, although work in the Expressionist style continued afterwards. In particular the German groups of the Weimar Republic era, Die Brücke
(The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter
(The Blue Rider), ground the movement in the early twentieth century.
Screaming, writhing, and warping, many key Expressionist works detail states of extreme emotion at the expense of ‘objective’ reality. Expressionist artworks have a fraught relationship to Realism
and Naturalism and the dominant conventions of representation. Along with other artistic groups, like Cubism
, and Dadaism
, Expressionist artists conjured a collective anxiety felt about the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and the absence of authenticity and spirituality. Many works depict the individual alienated by life in the city
. Expressionist works have a knack for appearing as precursors to, during, and in the aftermath of times of social upheaval and war. Artists worked across painting, film, theatre, literature, architecture, and dance.
on Expressionism include a wide range of Basic Art Series titles
detailing the careers of prominent artists like Max Beckmann, Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh
, Caspar David Friedrich, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Le Corbusier, Franz Marc, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud. Taking its place in the cannon of Art History, Expressionism
came to define the agonies and grotesque nature of life in the modern world.