Famous Expressionist Artists And Their Paintings
What is expressionism in art?
Expressionism is a style of art in which the artist distorts the appearance of reality to portray his or her inner feelings or ideas.
Color, in particular, can be vivid and non-naturalistic in expressionist art; brushwork is often loose, and paint application is abundant and textured. Expressionist art is often emotive and mystical. It can be considered a continuation of Romanticism.
Famous Expressionist Artists
- Edvard Munch
- Wassily Kandinsky
- Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
- Franz Marc
- Emil Nolde
- Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
- August Macke
Edvard Munch was an expressionist painter who was born in Norway. The Scream, his most famous piece, has become one of the most iconic images in global art. He was a major figure in German expressionism and the art style that followed in the late twentieth century, owing to the deep mental suffering that was evident in many of his works.
Munch spent most of his time between 1892 and 1908 in Paris and Berlin; in 1909, he decided to return to his hometown and return to Norway. Much of Edvard Munch's work during this time reflected his love in nature, and it was also noticed that the tones and colors he used in these paintings added more color and seemed a little more cheerful than most of the prior works he had done in earlier years.
The negative tone that had been apparent in many of his earlier works had faded somewhat, and it appears that he was adopting a more colorful, whimsical, and cheerful tone with the pieces he was creating, rather than the dark and somber manner that he had tended to work with earlier in his career.
Edvard Munch remained in Norway from this time until his death, and most of his work from this time on seems to take on the same colorful tone that he had taken since returning home in 1909. Many of Munch's paintings represent life and death scenes, love and terror, and viewers will notice that his work patterns frequently focus on the emotion of loneliness.
The contrasted lines, deeper colors, blocks of color, melancholy tones, and a concise and exaggerated form, which reflected the darker aspect of the art he was making, conveyed these emotions. Munch is sometimes likened to Van Gogh, who was one of the first artists to paint "the enigmatic centers of the mind," as the French artist put it.
However, Sigmund Freud, a near contemporary, may have had a more far-reaching influence. Many aspects of human behavior were explained by Freud by linking them to childhood experiences. Munch's mother died of tuberculosis when he was five years old, and his sister Sophie died of the sickness at the age of fourteen. By not directly expressing what he had experienced, Munch gives By the Death Bed and Death in the Sickroom a universal cast. His sister appears in several versions of The Sick Child.
The Scream is autobiographical, an expressionistic construction based on Munch's true experience of a piercing scream cutting through nature while on a walk, after his two companions, seen in the background, had abandoned him. Munch represents the sound in a way that, if taken to extremes, can destroy human integrity, fitting the reality that it must have been heard when his mind was in an aberrant state.
As previously said, art nouveau's flowing curves symbolize a subjective linear fusion imposed on nature, in which a plethora of details are combined into a totality of organic suggestion with feminine connotations. However, man is a part of nature, and being absorbed into such a vast whole dissolves the individual. Munch began to include art nouveau themes into several of his paintings about this time, albeit only in restricted or modified forms.
In showing his own sick experience, he has let go, allowing the foreground figure to be deformed by the subjectivized flow of nature; the scream could be understood as reflecting the agony of human personality being obliterated by this unifying force. Interestingly, although the protagonist is based on Munch, the protagonist has no resemblance to him or anyone else.
The creature in the foreground has either been depersonalized and crushed into sexlessness, or has been imprinted with a trace of the world's femininity that has come close to integrating it.
Wassily Kandinsky, a pioneer of abstract contemporary art, used the evocative interplay between color and shape to create an aesthetic experience that engaged the public's sight, sound, and emotions. He believed that total abstraction allowed for profound, transcendental expression, and that copying from nature merely slowed the process down.
He invented a pictorial language that only loosely related to the outside world but expressed volumes about the artist's interior experience, driven by a strong desire to produce art that communicated a universal feeling of spirituality.
From his early, representational canvases with their divine symbolism through his ecstatic and operatic compositions to his late, geometric and biomorphic flat planes of color, his visual language evolved through three phases. From his Bauhaus pupils to the Abstract Expressionists after WWII, Kandinsky's paintings and ideas influenced several generations of artists.
Through forms and lines, Composition VIII creates an abstract contrast between tranquility and turmoil. The painting features a variety of geometric patterns, colors, and straight and curved lines against a cream backdrop that blends into areas of pale blue at certain points.
The painter's belief in the mystical characteristics of geometric shapes is shown in the use of circles, grids, rectangles, semicircles, triangles, and other mathematical forms in the artwork, while the colors on exhibit were chosen for their emotional impact.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German expressionist painter and printmaker who was a founding member of the artists' group Die Brücke, or "The Bridge," a pivotal organization in the development of Expressionism in twentieth-century art.
He volunteered for army service during WWI, but was shortly released due to a nervous breakdown. In 1933, the Nazis labeled his work as "degenerate," and in 1937, more than 600 of his pieces were sold or burned. Kirchner's work was first shown publicly in the United States in 1913 at the Armory Show, which was also the first significant exhibition of modern art in the United States.
Museums in the United States began to collect his work in 1921, and they continued to do so in increasing numbers thereafter. In 1937, he had his first solo museum show in the United States at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1969, the Seattle Art Museum, the Pasadena Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosted a significant retrospective of paintings, drawings, and prints.
Street, Berlin (1913)
Kirchner depicts a lively street scene with men and women walking down the sidewalk in Street, Berlin (1913). Kirchner paints two women in the foreground of the painting, and their bodies take up a substantial section of the canvas, making them the piece's focal point.
The woman on the left is dressed in a purple outfit, a bright contrast to the largely black attire of the guys who surround them. The mass of males in the background lack any distinguishing traits and appear to be carbon copies of one another. Because they are the only two with a feeling of individuality, their outfits blend together and their non-distinct facial features cause you to connect with the women.
The complexion of the characters, which ranges between colors of pink and orange, as well as the blue and pink shades in the countryside, are examples of Kirchner's anti-naturalistic color choices in this piece. The anti-naturalistic tones are prevalent in German Expressionism and other of his works from this time period. Kirchner uses a lot of free, apparent brushwork in his paintings.
The brushwork adds a sense of movement to the street scene, allowing for an element of hustle and bustle to be incorporated. The perspective's downward tilt and the brushwork's contrasting diagonals produce distortion and a sensation of motion. The viewer is confronted by the people on the street, who appear to be going to flow off the canvas and into our space.
This artistic choice also makes you feel closer to the women while keeping you further away from the background's faceless masculine characters. Expressionist ideas in German painting may be traced back to Grünewald and Kandinsky, and Kirchner incorporates expressive brushwork and movement into his work.
He was a co-founder of The Blue Rider, a monthly publication series that concentrated on the movement, and was well recognized for being linked to a small number of artists who were responsible for posting photographs and breaking stories during the magazine's life in Germany.
Although he was young at the height of his success, Franz Marc had an extraordinarily brief life, dying at the age of 36. During his twenties, he married twice and had several turbulent relationships.
In terms of his work, he visited Mt. Athos and other Greek locations with his brother Paul in 1906. Many of the pieces he created during this period of his career reflected this; in 1910, he met Auguste Macke, who influenced not just his work but also his aesthetic style. Franz Marc produced roughly 60 lithographs and woodcuts over his career. Many of his paintings showed animals in their natural habitats. His works were also known for their use of strong, vibrant colors.
In the display and creation of the animals he depicted in his works, he took a cubist approach; simplicity was often seen as a means to his creative process, as most pieces simply focused on the animal and the raw emotion, rather than drawing in from external factors, to create the printed artworks during his career.
This painting, which depicts three brightly colored blue horses staring down in front of a scene of rolling red hills, is distinguished by its use of primary colors, simplicity, and a strong feeling of emotion.
"The powerfully simple and rounded shapes of the horses are repeated in the rhythms of the landscape background, integrating both animals and setting into a vibrant and harmonious organic whole," according to the "Encyclopaedia Britannica."
The curving lines employed to illustrate the subject are considered to suggest "a sense of harmony, tranquility, and balance" in a spiritually pure animal world, and that human beings might join this harmony by observing it.
Marc gave the colors he employed in his work an emotional or psychological meaning or purpose: blue symbolized masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine delight, and red encapsulated the sound of violence and basic stuff. Marc utilized blue to symbolize spirituality throughout his career, and his use of vibrant hue is supposed to have been an attempt to avoid the material world to conjure a spiritual or transcendental essence.
This oil painting on canvas is unsigned and measures 41.625 inches by 71.3125 inches (unframed). This is the most notable of Marc's series of portraits of horses in various hues and one of his earliest major works featuring animals.
Marc was said to believe that animals were more pure and beautiful than humans and that they represented a greater pantheistic sense of the divine or spirituality.
Emil Nolde was a painter and printmaker of German-Danish ancestry. He was one of the first Expressionists, a member of Die Brücke, and one of the first oil and watercolor painters to experiment with color in the early twentieth century.
He's noted for his expressive color choices and brushwork. Golden yellows and deep reds show frequently in his art, giving normally dark tones a brilliant appearance. His watercolors contain vibrant blooms and somber stormscapes.
The Last Supper
The Last Supper exemplifies the artist's extraordinary ability to translate emotion into color. As all thirteen of Jesus' apostles crowd around the smushed red-haired messiah as he drinks a chalice of wine, the composition of this artwork is unique. Even at the time, this picture was popular and rapidly regarded as a masterpiece by Nolde. For a fascist Hitler sympathizer, it's not bad.
“I followed an overpowering urge for a representation of the deepest spirituality, religion, and fervor, without much knowledge of deliberation,” Nolde was quoted as saying regarding his religious paintings.
The utter lack of typical iconography, which we find often throughout religious art history, is what makes this religious picture so remarkable. Nolde, like Caravaggio, depicted Jesus and his Thirteen Apostles using subjects from his local community.
Even though this artist has a checkered past, no one can deny that he took a squashed, too basic account of The Last Supper and transformed it into a spectacular example of religious painting that expresses a real spirituality via color and brushstrokes. But, no matter how beautiful Nolde's artwork is, no one can deny that he chose to be on the wrong side of history and paid a high price for it by having his work taken by the Nazis.
Aside from his terrible politics and being a poor human, he is a wonderful artist, and we are fortunate that the rest of Nolde's works exist and can be found in museums throughout the West.
He and his colleagues shared a desire to reject both the restrictive social conventions of the time and the traditional aesthetic conventions and academic training provided by art schools, along with other artists in Munich and Vienna who together defined the multifaceted style known as German Expressionism. Schmidt-Rottluff retained his avant-garde principles throughout his career, although the Brücke artists went to Berlin and disbanded the group not long after.
He served in World War I, and was obliged by circumstance and tragedy to limit his production to woodcut prints, but he was a big hit in the years after as Expressionism grew more popular with collectors and museums. Schmidt-Rottluff was one of the "degenerate" painters labeled by the Nazi dictatorship, but after WWII, with increased interest, he helped build a museum in Berlin dedicated to the Brücke artists' work.
Houses at Night
In Houses at Night, he depicts an empty street lined with houses, whose strong angles and diagonals, as well as dazzling colors, add emphasis and vitality to what would otherwise be a calm setting. The disorienting set design for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is similar to the protruding geometrical shapes in this picture.
He lived in a period of German art when it was extremely innovative: he witnessed the development of the main German Expressionist movements as well as the advent of the subsequent avant-garde movements that were forming in the rest of Europe. Macke, like a real artist of his period, knew how to incorporate the elements of the avant-garde that he was most interested in into his paintings. He was one of the young German artists who died in the First World War, along with his friends Franz Marc and Otto Soltau.
People on the Blue Lake
This artwork was most likely begun and completed at Hilterfingen. Three people, a man, and a woman, presumably a couple, are seen in the artwork, from right to left, with the woman talking to her daughter. A tree can be seen behind the man, while another can be seen partially to the right.
Macke pushes the bounds of impressionism and fauvism's influence on his own work in this artwork, continuing his quest for the highest expression of his grasp of color in painting. The primary hues of the picture are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, which are created by decomposing white light. They travel freely, without clear borders, into one another, forming a twelve-sector color circle.
Macke embraces the rules of the color circle in his painting, which depicts the mutual impact of one hue on another, their harmonic and disharmonious combinations. The viewer eventually comprehends the entire composition by considering color combinations.
“The painting's uniqueness is both simultaneous and sequential,” Macke stated. The eye wanders with each successive sequence in the painting." August was fascinated by the task of conveying dynamics in painting at the time, according to his wife Elizabeth Macke, and its solution not through perspective construction, but through the use of the "play of shades" - this should happen even within the framework of a single color, such as green: "without a single red spot, the color should work, vibrate, live."
Macke's goal was to produce harmony and generalization through the coordination of pure colors. The key premise in his later paintings was the liveliness of the viewer's holistic perception of the work, which was achieved solely through the mutual effect of colors, rather than perspective or cut-off modeling.