7 Nisan 2012 Cumartesi


For I have represented them, I have taken their place and put on their semblance through my visions. It is the psyche which speaks.

'Bride of the Wind', oil on canvas
painting by Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka

Expressionism is a term that has been widely applied to drama, visual arts and literature at the beginning of the 20th century, in varying senses. Expressionism filtered into common usage as an alternative to Post-Impressionism, to refer to the new anti-Impressionist tendencies in the visual arts that were developing in different countries from around 1905. These new art forms, which used colour and line symbolically and emotively, were in a sense in the opposite way of Impressionism: instead of capturing an impression of the world around him, the artist impressed his own temperament on his view of own world. This concept of art was so revolutionary that 'expressionism' became a synonym for 'modern art' in general.

Paula Modersohn-Becker 
With its emphasis on subjective emotions, its origin is from Symbolism and the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and the Nabis movement. In its expreimentation with the power of pure colour, it also related to Neo-Impressionism and the Fauves. It is characterized by the usage of symbolic colours and exaggerated imagery.

The most important native precursor of Expressionism in Germany was Paula Modersohn-Becker who based herself in the artists' colony at Worpswede, in Bremen,Germany. Her reading of Nietzsche, her friendship with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and her encounters with the work of the French Post-Impressionists all effected her and she abondened the visions of Worpswede and used colors symbolically.

"the principal thing is my personal vision" she stressed in her journal in 1902.

Self-portrait Pregnant, 1906,
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Mysticism is another significant theme. Emil Nolde is the first name to think about in this area. His paintings combine simple, dynamic rhythms and dramatic colours.

The new art was promoted in Berlin by the writer and composer Herwarth Walden. Works by Oskar Kokoschka were exhibited in there in 1912. By Walden's help Berlin became an important centre of the international avant-garde in the years preceding World-War-I.

Another important Expressionist was the Frenchman Georges Rouault who began his artistic career as an aprentice to a maker of modern stained glass who also restored medieval stain-glassed windows. At the same time he took evening classes at the Ecole dés Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and later studied with Henri Matisse under Gustave Moreau.

Emil Nolde
Georges Rouault
Nolde masks, 1911
A painting by Georges Rouault