The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters

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The Expressionist Art Movement

"To restrict the artist is a crime. It is to murder germinating life." - Egon Schiel

The Expressionist art movement was conceived in opposition to Impressionism.  The Expressionist painters required emotional drama, pure color and innovation. Emil Nolde, German, Expressionist Painter observed, "The art of an artist must be his own art. It is... always a continuous chain of little inventions, little technical discoveries of one's own, in one's relation to the tool, the material and the colors." 

They disdained dreamy landscapes, water lilies and Japanese bridges. Controversial Austrian Expressionist Painter, Egon Schiele  asserted, "I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds." Expressionist painters looked inward at their own emotions, and less upon the outside world for inspiration. Painters of the Expressionist generation grew up on the battlefield, witnessing wartime atrocities and returning to war ravaged countries. 

The German Expressionists, 
George Grosz,
 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde   dominated the art scene with powerful, emotional work based on the human struggle and futility of war. Their art-work was born in a world of confusion and social collapse. 
James Ensor declared "My art tends toward the literary. My pictures tend toward the outskirts of painting: But why generalize? It is possible to realize one thing or another, according to the impressions gained from one point of view or another. But it is too difficult to make a general rule."

Characteristics and  Descriptive Words and Phrases associated with Expressionist Painting -   Germany, early 20th century, emotional effects, emotional experience, avant-garde, emotional angst, Herwarth Walden, Der Sturm, Entartete Kunst, graphic art, Die Brücke, Der Blaue Reiter, Friedrich Nietzsche, psychological depths, symbolic colors, exaggerated imagery, human psyche, exaggeration, primitivism, jarring colors, self-expression, expression intensity, printmaking, psychological,emotional themes, existential anguish, industrial modern age, individual genius, sense of movement, energy

Famous Expressionist Painters 

James Ensor  Belgian, 1860-1949  Expressionist Painter

Alexei Jawlensky  Russian, 1864-1941  Expressionist Painter

Ernst Kirchner  German, 1880-1938   Expressionist Painter

Paul Klee  Swiss, 1879-1940 Expressionist Painter

August Macke  German, 1887-1914   Expressionist Painter

Franz Marc  German, 1880-1916  Expressionist / Fauvist

Edvard Munch Norwegian, 1863-1944  Symbolist/Expressionist

Emil Nolde German, 1867-1956  Expressionist Painter

Rouault  French, 1871-1958   Expressionist Painter

Egon Schiele Austrian, 1890-1918   Expressionist Painter


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