The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner


One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

German  Expressionist Painter and one of the founding member of the Dresden based artists called Die Brücke ("The Bridge")

Education: Technische Hochschule  in Dresden, Germany

Mental Health:  He was emotionally fragile and suffered several mental breakdowns throughout his life.

Cause of Death - Depressed over the rise of Nazism and the destruction of Modern Art, he committed suicide in Switzerland.  The Nazis defamed his work as “Entartete Kunst” in 1937 and seized all of his paintings  on exhibit in public museums.

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

Information About The Expressionist Art Movement

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

The Expressionist art movement was conceived in opposition to Impressionism.  The Expressionist painters required emotional drama, pure color and innovation.  James Ensor, Belgian, Expressionist  Painter observed, "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. " 

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. Franz Marc declared "Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the colour to be opposed and overcome by the other two."

The Greatest Expressionist Painters of All Time

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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