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Not to be confused with Expressivism. Expressionism_sentence_0

Expressionism is a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Expressionism_sentence_1

Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionism_sentence_2

Expressionist artists have sought to express the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality. Expressionism_sentence_3

Expressionism developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. Expressionism_sentence_4

It remained popular during the Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin. Expressionism_sentence_5

The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including expressionist architecture, painting, literature, theatre, dance, film and music. Expressionism_sentence_6

The term is sometimes suggestive of angst. Expressionism_sentence_7

In a historical sense, much older painters such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco are sometimes termed expressionist, though the term is applied mainly to 20th-century works. Expressionism_sentence_8

The Expressionist emphasis on individual and subjective perspective has been characterized as a reaction to positivism and other artistic styles such as Naturalism and Impressionism. Expressionism_sentence_9

Origin of the term Expressionism_section_0

While the word expressionist was used in the modern sense as early as 1850, its origin is sometimes traced to paintings exhibited in 1901 in Paris by obscure artist Julien-Auguste Hervé, which he called Expressionismes. Expressionism_sentence_10

An alternative view is that the term was coined by the Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910 as the opposite of impressionism: "An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself... (an Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures... Impressions and mental images that pass through ... people's soul as through a filter which rids them of all substantial accretions to produce their clear essence [...and] are assimilated and condense into more general forms, into types, which he transcribes through simple short-hand formulae and symbols." Expressionism_sentence_11

Important precursors of Expressionism were the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), especially his philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1892); the later plays of the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg (1849–1912), including the trilogy To Damascus 1898–1901, A Dream Play (1902), The Ghost Sonata (1907); Frank Wedekind (1864–1918), especially the "Lulu" plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) (1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box) (1904); the American poet Walt Whitman's (1819–1892) Leaves of Grass (1855–1891); the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881); Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863–1944); Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890); Belgian painter James Ensor (1860–1949); and pioneering Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Expressionism_sentence_12

In 1905, a group of four German artists, led by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, formed Die Brücke (the Bridge) in the city of Dresden. Expressionism_sentence_13

This was arguably the founding organization for the German Expressionist movement, though they did not use the word itself. Expressionism_sentence_14

A few years later, in 1911, a like-minded group of young artists formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in Munich. Expressionism_sentence_15

The name came from Wassily Kandinsky's Der Blaue Reiter painting of 1903. Expressionism_sentence_16

Among their members were Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, and Auguste Macke. Expressionism_sentence_17

However, the term Expressionism did not firmly establish itself until 1913. Expressionism_sentence_18

Though mainly a German artistic movement initially and most predominant in painting, poetry and the theatre between 1910 and 1930, most precursors of the movement were not German. Expressionism_sentence_19

Furthermore, there have been expressionist writers of prose fiction, as well as non-German-speaking expressionist writers, and, while the movement had declined in Germany with the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, there were subsequent expressionist works. Expressionism_sentence_20

Expressionism is notoriously difficult to define, in part because it "overlapped with other major 'isms' of the modernist period: with Futurism, Vorticism, Cubism, Surrealism and Dadaism." Expressionism_sentence_21

Richard Murphy also comments, “the search for an all-inclusive definition is problematic to the extent that the most challenging expressionists such as Kafka, Gottfried Benn and Döblin were simultaneously the most vociferous `anti-expressionists.' Expressionism_sentence_22


What can be said, however, is that it was a movement that developed in the early twentieth century, mainly in Germany, in reaction to the dehumanizing effect of industrialization and the growth of cities, and that "one of the central means by which expressionism identifies itself as an avant-garde movement, and by which it marks its distance to traditions and the cultural institution as a whole is through its relationship to realism and the dominant conventions of representation." Expressionism_sentence_24

More explicitly, that the expressionists rejected the ideology of realism. Expressionism_sentence_25

The term refers to an "artistic style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse within a person." Expressionism_sentence_26

It is arguable that all artists are expressive but there are many examples of art production in Europe from the 15th century onward which emphasize extreme emotion. Expressionism_sentence_27

Such art often occurs during times of social upheaval and war, such as the Protestant Reformation, German Peasants' War, and Eighty Years' War between the Spanish and the Netherlands, when extreme violence, much directed at civilians, was represented in propagandist popular prints. Expressionism_sentence_28

These were often unimpressive aesthetically but had the capacity to arouse extreme emotions in the viewer. Expressionism_sentence_29

Expressionism has been likened to Baroque by critics such as art historian Michel Ragon and German philosopher Walter Benjamin. Expressionism_sentence_30

According to Alberto Arbasino, a difference between the two is that "Expressionism doesn't shun the violently unpleasant effect, while Baroque does. Expressionism_sentence_31

Expressionism throws some terrific 'fuck yous', Baroque doesn't. Expressionism_sentence_32

Baroque is well-mannered." Expressionism_sentence_33

Expressionist visual artists Expressionism_section_1

Some of the style's main visual artists of the early 20th century were: Expressionism_sentence_34


Expressionist groups of painters Expressionism_section_2

The style originated principally in Germany and Austria. Expressionism_sentence_35

There were a number of groups of expressionist painters, including Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke. Expressionism_sentence_36

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider, named for a painting) was based in Munich and Die Brücke was originally based in Dresden (although some members later relocated to Berlin). Expressionism_sentence_37

Die Brücke was active for a longer period than Der Blaue Reiter, which was only together for a year (1912). Expressionism_sentence_38

The Expressionists were influenced by various artists and sources including Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, and African art. Expressionism_sentence_39

They were also aware of the work being done by the Fauves in Paris, who influenced Expressionism's tendency toward arbitrary colours and jarring compositions. Expressionism_sentence_40

In reaction and opposition to French Impressionism, which emphasized the rendering of the visual appearance of objects, Expressionist artists sought to portray emotions and subjective interpretations. Expressionism_sentence_41

It was not important to reproduce an aesthetically pleasing impression of the artistic subject matter, they felt, but rather to represent vivid emotional reactions by powerful colours and dynamic compositions. Expressionism_sentence_42

Kandinsky, the main artist of Der Blaue Reiter group, believed that with simple colours and shapes the spectator could perceive the moods and feelings in the paintings, a theory that encouraged him towards increased abstraction. Expressionism_sentence_43

The ideas of German expressionism influenced the work of American artist Marsden Hartley, who met Kandinsky in Germany in 1913. Expressionism_sentence_44

In late 1939, at the beginning of World War II, New York City received a great number of major European artists. Expressionism_sentence_45

After the war, Expressionism influenced many young American artists. Expressionism_sentence_46

Norris Embry (1921–1981) studied with Oskar Kokoschka in 1947 and during the next 43 years produced a large body of work in the Expressionist tradition. Expressionism_sentence_47

Norris Embry has been termed "the first American German Expressionist". Expressionism_sentence_48

Other American artists of the late 20th and early 21st century have developed distinct styles that may be considered part of Expressionism. Expressionism_sentence_49

Another prominent artist who came from the German Expressionist "school" was Bremen-born Wolfgang Degenhardt. Expressionism_sentence_50

After working as a commercial artist in Bremen, he migrated to Australia in 1954 and became quite well known in the Hunter Valley region. Expressionism_sentence_51

American Expressionism and American Figurative Expressionism, particularly the Boston figurative expressionism, were an integral part of American modernism around the Second World War. Expressionism_sentence_52

Major figurative Boston Expressionists included: Karl Zerbe, Hyman Bloom, Jack Levine, David Aronson. Expressionism_sentence_53

The Boston figurative Expressionists post World War II were increasingly marginalized by the development of abstract expressionism centered in New York City. Expressionism_sentence_54

After World War II, figurative expressionism influenced worldwide a large number of artists and styles. Expressionism_sentence_55

Thomas B. Hess wrote that "the ‘New figurative painting’ which some have been expecting as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism was implicit in it at the start, and is one of its most lineal continuities." Expressionism_sentence_56


Selected expressionist paintings Expressionism_section_3


  • Expressionism_item_2_37
  • Expressionism_item_2_38
  • Expressionism_item_2_39
  • Expressionism_item_2_40

In other arts Expressionism_section_4

The Expressionist movement included other types of culture, including dance, sculpture, cinema and theatre. Expressionism_sentence_57

Dance Expressionism_section_5

Main article: Expressionist dance Expressionism_sentence_58

Exponents of expressionist dance included Mary Wigman, Rudolf von Laban, and Pina Bausch. Expressionism_sentence_59

Sculpture Expressionism_section_6

Some sculptors used the Expressionist style, as for example Ernst Barlach. Expressionism_sentence_60

Other expressionist artists known mainly as painters, such as Erich Heckel, also worked with sculpture. Expressionism_sentence_61

Cinema Expressionism_section_7

Main article: German Expressionism Expressionism_sentence_62

There was an Expressionist style in German cinema, important examples of which are Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920), Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and F. Expressionism_sentence_63 W. Murnau's Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922) and The Last Laugh (1924). Expressionism_sentence_64

The term "expressionist" is also sometimes used to refer to stylistic devices thought to resemble those of German Expressionism, such as film noir cinematography or the style of several of the films of Ingmar Bergman. Expressionism_sentence_65

More generally, the term expressionism can be used to describe cinematic styles of great artifice, such as the technicolor melodramas of Douglas Sirk or the sound and visual design of David Lynch's films. Expressionism_sentence_66

Literature Expressionism_section_8

Journals Expressionism_section_9

Two leading Expressionist journals published in Berlin were Der Sturm, published by Herwarth Walden starting in 1910, and Die Aktion, which first appeared in 1911 and was edited by Franz Pfemfert. Expressionism_sentence_67

Der Sturm published poetry and prose from contributors such as Peter Altenberg, Max Brod, Richard Dehmel, Alfred Döblin, Anatole France, Knut Hamsun, Arno Holz, Karl Kraus, Selma Lagerlöf, Adolf Loos, Heinrich Mann, Paul Scheerbart, and René Schickele, and writings, drawings, and prints by such artists as Kokoschka, Kandinsky, and members of Der blaue Reiter. Expressionism_sentence_68

Drama Expressionism_section_10

Main article: Expressionism (theatre) Expressionism_sentence_69

The artist and playwright Oskar Kokoschka's 1909 playlet, Murderer, The Hope of Women is often termed the first expressionist drama. Expressionism_sentence_70

In it, an unnamed man and woman struggle for dominance. Expressionism_sentence_71

The man brands the woman; she stabs and imprisons him. Expressionism_sentence_72

He frees himself and she falls dead at his touch. Expressionism_sentence_73

As the play ends, he slaughters all around him (in the words of the text) "like mosquitoes." Expressionism_sentence_74

The extreme simplification of characters to mythic types, choral effects, declamatory dialogue and heightened intensity all would become characteristic of later expressionist plays. Expressionism_sentence_75

The German composer Paul Hindemith created an operatic version of this play, which premiered in 1921. Expressionism_sentence_76

Expressionism was a dominant influence on early 20th-century German theatre, of which Georg Kaiser and Ernst Toller were the most famous playwrights. Expressionism_sentence_77

Other notable Expressionist dramatists included Reinhard Sorge, Walter Hasenclever, Hans Henny Jahnn, and Arnolt Bronnen. Expressionism_sentence_78

Important precursors were the Swedish playwright August Strindberg and German actor and dramatist Frank Wedekind. Expressionism_sentence_79

During the 1920s, Expressionism enjoyed a brief period of influence in American theatre, including the early modernist plays by Eugene O'Neill (The Hairy Ape, The Emperor Jones and The Great God Brown), Sophie Treadwell (Machinal) and Elmer Rice (The Adding Machine). Expressionism_sentence_80

Expressionist plays often dramatise the spiritual awakening and sufferings of their protagonists. Expressionism_sentence_81

Some utilise an episodic dramatic structure and are known as Stationendramen (station plays), modeled on the presentation of the suffering and death of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross. Expressionism_sentence_82

August Strindberg had pioneered this form with his autobiographical trilogy To Damascus. Expressionism_sentence_83

These plays also often dramatise the struggle against bourgeois values and established authority, frequently personified by the Father. Expressionism_sentence_84

In Sorge's The Beggar, (Der Bettler), for example, the young hero's mentally ill father raves about the prospect of mining the riches of Mars and is finally poisoned by his son. Expressionism_sentence_85

In Bronnen's Parricide (Vatermord), the son stabs his tyrannical father to death, only to have to fend off the frenzied sexual overtures of his mother. Expressionism_sentence_86

In Expressionist drama, the speech may be either expansive and rhapsodic, or clipped and telegraphic. Expressionism_sentence_87

Director Leopold Jessner became famous for his expressionistic productions, often set on stark, steeply raked flights of stairs (having borrowed the idea from the Symbolist director and designer, Edward Gordon Craig). Expressionism_sentence_88

Staging was especially important in Expressionist drama, with directors forgoing the illusion of reality to block actors in as close to two-dimensional movement. Expressionism_sentence_89

Directors also made heavy use of lighting effects to create stark contrast and as another method to heavily emphasize emotion and convey the play or a scene's message. Expressionism_sentence_90

German expressionist playwrights: Expressionism_sentence_91


Playwrights influenced by Expressionism: Expressionism_sentence_92


Poetry Expressionism_section_11

Among the poets associated with German Expressionism were: Expressionism_sentence_93


Other poets influenced by expressionism: Expressionism_sentence_94


Prose Expressionism_section_12

In prose, the early stories and novels of Alfred Döblin were influenced by Expressionism, and Franz Kafka is sometimes labelled an Expressionist. Expressionism_sentence_95

Some further writers and works that have been called Expressionist include: Expressionism_sentence_96


Music Expressionism_section_13

Main article: Expressionist music Expressionism_sentence_97

The term expressionism "was probably first applied to music in 1918, especially to Schoenberg", because like the painter Kandinsky he avoided "traditional forms of beauty" to convey powerful feelings in his music. Expressionism_sentence_98

Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, the members of the Second Viennese School, are important Expressionists (Schoenberg was also an expressionist painter). Expressionism_sentence_99

Other composers that have been associated with expressionism are Krenek (the Second Symphony), Paul Hindemith (The Young Maiden), Igor Stravinsky (Japanese Songs), Alexander Scriabin (late piano sonatas) (Adorno 2009, 275). Expressionism_sentence_100

Another significant expressionist was Béla Bartók in early works, written in the second decade of the 20th-century, such as Bluebeard's Castle (1911), The Wooden Prince (1917), and The Miraculous Mandarin (1919). Expressionism_sentence_101

Important precursors of expressionism are Richard Wagner (1813–1883), Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), and Richard Strauss (1864–1949). Expressionism_sentence_102

Theodor Adorno describes expressionism as concerned with the unconscious, and states that "the depiction of fear lies at the centre" of expressionist music, with dissonance predominating, so that the "harmonious, affirmative element of art is banished" (Adorno 2009, 275–76). Expressionism_sentence_103

Erwartung and Die Glückliche Hand, by Schoenberg, and Wozzeck, an opera by Alban Berg (based on the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner), are examples of Expressionist works. Expressionism_sentence_104

If one were to draw an analogy from paintings, one may describe the expressionist painting technique as the distortion of reality (mostly colors and shapes) to create a nightmarish effect for the particular painting as a whole. Expressionism_sentence_105

Expressionist music roughly does the same thing, where the dramatically increased dissonance creates, aurally, a nightmarish atmosphere. Expressionism_sentence_106

Architecture Expressionism_section_14

Main article: Expressionist architecture Expressionism_sentence_107

In architecture, two specific buildings are identified as Expressionist: Bruno Taut's Glass Pavilion of the Cologne Werkbund Exhibition (1914), and Erich Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany completed in 1921. Expressionism_sentence_108

The interior of Hans Poelzig's Berlin theatre (the Grosse Schauspielhaus), designed for the director Max Reinhardt, is also cited sometimes. Expressionism_sentence_109

The influential architectural critic and historian Sigfried Giedion, in his book Space, Time and Architecture (1941), dismissed Expressionist architecture as a part of the development of functionalism. Expressionism_sentence_110

In Mexico, in 1953, German émigré Mathias Goeritz published the Arquitectura Emocional ("Emotional Architecture") manifesto with which he declared that "architecture's principal function is emotion". Expressionism_sentence_111

Modern Mexican architect Luis Barragán adopted the term that influenced his work. Expressionism_sentence_112

The two of them collaborated in the project Torres de Satélite (1957–58) guided by Goeritz's principles of Arquitectura Emocional. Expressionism_sentence_113

It was only during the 1970s that Expressionism in architecture came to be re-evaluated more positively. Expressionism_sentence_114

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