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h<.

'V.

NORBERT WOLF

TASCHEN

The Author
Norbert Wolf
is

of

(b.

1949), graduated

in ai

Regensburg and Munich. He took

medievc

his doctora'

Munich on the carved 1 4th-century retabel". Subsequently held


Marburg, Frankfurt a.M., Leipzig, Diisseldorf and Nuremberg-

"habilitation" in

University of Innsbruck, and an author of scholarly works. Works


already published by TASCH
Painting of the Romantic Era, 1999; Diego Velazquez, 1999; Codices
illustres. The world's most

famous illuminated manuscripts, 2001


2003; Caspar David

Friedrich,

(in

collaboration with Ingo

F.

Walther); Ernst

Ludwig

Kirchner,

2003.

The Editor
Uta Grosenick
publications for

Riemschneider);

(b.

960)

TASCHEN:

Women

is

a freelance editor based

in

Art at the Turn of the Millennium,

Artists,

2001;

ART NOW,

Cologne. She has edited the following

1999

(in

collaboration with Burkhard

200.

Schneider); Buttner, 2003.

"cubism and Futurism were


minced up to create mock hare,
that metaphysical German
meatloaf known as Expressionism."
El Lissitzky

& Hans

AUGUST MACKE

Arp,

925

DC A

BlA(/eRf76fc

ftLr>p'-y

Expressionism
NORBERTWOLF
UTAGROSENICK(ED.)

TASCHEN
KOLN LONDON LOS ANGELES MADRID PARIS TOKYO

contents

Metaphysical German Meatloaf


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94

The Refugee

MAX BECKMANN
Scene from the "Earthquake
Messina"
MAX BECKMANN The Night
HEINRICH CAMPENDONK Bucolic Landscape
LOVIS CORINTH The Red Christ
OTTO DIX
a Soldier
OTTO DIX Prager
LYON EL FEININGER Market Church Halle
GEORGE GROSZ Dedicated to Oskar Panizza
ERICH HECKEL Pechstein Asleep
ERICH HECKEL Glass Day
ALEXEI VON AWLENSKY
of the Dancer Alexander Sacharoff
WASSILY KANDINSKY
Ludwig's Church
Munich
WASSILY KANDINSKY Improvisation Klamm
ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER
(Marcella)

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER


Potsdamer
PAUL KLEE Foehn Wind Marc's Garden, 1915, 102
OSKAR KOKOSCHKA
of Herwarth Walden
OSKAR KOKOSCHKA The Tempest
WILHELM LEHMBRUCK The Fallen Man
AUGUST MACKE Lady a Green Jacket
FRANZ MARC The Small Yellow Horses
FRANZ MARC Tyrol
LUDWIG MEIDNER Apocalyptic City
with Camelia Sprig
PAULA MODERSOHN-BECKER
OTTO MUELLER Gypsies with Sunflowers
GABRIELE MUNTER Schoolhouse, Murnau
EMIL NOLDE The Legend of
Maria Aegyptiaca
EMIL NOLDE Tropical Sun
MAX PECHSTEIN Palau Triptych
CHRISTIAN ROHLFS Acrobats
EGON SCHIELE Standing Male Nude
of Rosa Schapire
KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG The Red Gaze
MARIANNE VON WEREFKIN
ERNST BARLACH

in

Self-portrait as

Strasse

in

Portrait

in

St.

Artiste

Platz

in

Portrait

in

Self-portrait

St.

(Self-portrait)

Portrait

Self-portrait

Metaphysical German Meatloaf

MATTHIAS GRUNEWALD

1)

The

Crucifixion

from the Isenheim Altarpiece

between 1512 and


269 x 307 cm

1516, Oil

on wood

panel,

Colmar, Musee d'Unterlinden

WASSILY KANDINSKY

2)

Improvisation 9
1910, Oil

on canvas, 110 x 110 cm

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

"What does my shadow matter? Let


run

..."

it

This proud credo

Nietzsche (1844-1900),

it

was penned

in

shall out-

1890s by

Friedrich

run after me!

in

the

Thus Spake Zarathustra. Twenty years

Expressionist artists took the philosopher they idolized at his

later,

word and outran the shadow

of

academic

bourgeois taste, and

rules,

the backward-looking costume plays of Historical Revival

The words "expressionism" and


up

the art literature around 1911,

in

avant-garde
sirer

"expressionist"

art in

Europe around the

(1871-1926), the Berlin

initially

1944),

in

cropped

as blanket terms for

turn of the century. Paul

Cas-

Munch (1863-

order to distinguish the Norwegian's work from Impression-

The same word was used by art historian Wilhelm Worringer


88 - 965), in the journal Sturm for August 9
to characterize

ism.
(

the art of Paul

Secession exhibition of

der this rubric, from Pablo Picasso

vanguard.

In

In

the catalogue to the

88 - 973)
1

of

French Cubists and the Blauer Reiter

subsumed under

German Autumn

this term. Yet five

fell

un-

and thus

limited this stylistic

this

regard

was Paul

become

the

rule.

breakthrough

(1880-1958) 1914 book, DerExpres-

Fechter's

191

1,

and a year

staged,

in

Sohn (The

later,

the

first

term became current around

"German Expressionist drama" was

the shape of Walter Hasenclever's

(1890-1940)

play

By the outbreak

of the First

World War,

in

other words,

Expressionism had become almost synonymous with the German


contribution to current international developments
ture. This national restriction

ous impulses that German

in art

and

art

like

the Russian El Lissitzky


of Alsace

many

received from abroad. Although

on the German scene denied such influences, cosmopolitan

(1887-1966)

litera-

took place despite the great and obvi-

artists

(1890-1941) and Hans (Jean) Arp

saw them very

clearly,

while scoffing that

1918, Expres-

Isms, 1925, the two authors declared, "Cubism and Futurism

Point

in Art),

Munich were

years previously, at the

artists

minced up

known as

had only half-digested them.

to create

mock

In

their

hare, that metaphysical

book The Art


were

German meatloaf

Expressionism."

Nevertheless, the myth had long since been born; or perhaps

"First

Salon" of 1913, Walden had introduced the Blauer

Der

Son).

German

in

in

sionismus, which focused on the art of Die Brucke and Der Blaue

young French

to the

Kunstwende (Expressionism, the Turning

Italian Futurists,

1905

Cubist and Fauvist artists

Herwarth Walden's (1879-1941) book

sionismus, die

all

Cezanne (1839-1906), Vincent van Gogh (1853-

1890) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954).


Berlin

This tendency would soon

reputedly applied the term to

art dealer,

the emotion-charged paintings and prints of Edvard

Expressionists",

Reiter. In the field of literature, too, the

art.

first

"German

Reiter group as

category to the German-speaking countries.

rather,

a myth that had existed since the Sturm und Drang of the late

Russo-Japanese War ends with Japan's victory


1905 Robert Koch receives Nobel Prize
Medicine for his tuberculosis research
1906
France, the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus, accused of treason,
rehabilitated
in

In

is

eighteenth century had received tresh


of

Germans

Now, about

were seen as

905, German

fuel:

the supposed prerogative

extreme emotional states

for the expression of

artists

their Faustian gifts into

appeared

modern

declared Kasimir Edschmid; that


tive rather

in art.

to be bringing what

art with revolutionary

of their

since

it

was supposedly an outpouring from

Expressionism could be explained

demonic man per se

So

1958),

in

like this:

how

'German man

demonism

of

is

Be-

(1881-

- charged

Heilige Reich der


in

Pechstein.

In

Deutschen (The Holy Empire

925. Back

by such mental "buffeting"

the

in

of the

920, the creative urge spurred

was evoked by the former Brucke

similarly agitated staccato,

painter

Pechstein exclaimed:

"Work! Intoxication! Brain racking! Chewing, eating, gorging, rooting up!


birth

pangs! Jabbing of the brush, preferably right through

the canvas. Trampling on paint tubes

."
.

Shock, provocation, a revolt of

the young against the hidebound establishment - these, not only Pechstein believed,

were the

driving force behind Expressionism.

feverish restlessness, an

to mysticism

destine

1906

it

- elements

for the

new

style.

San Francisco

killing

of the

about 80,000 of

"German psyche"

that

tendency

seemed

to pre-

"The Expressionist does not look, he sees,"

hit

by a devastating earthquake

its

120,000 inhabitants.

In Siberia,

their

view of the world out

effect "created" reality by dint of their

in

vi-

its

tele-

exclamations and explosive, brief phrases not only

meaning

is

of words,

deceptive.

with symbols and metaphors

and obscure, comprehensible only


acter of Expressionist diction

the movement. But


told

some

In reality,

it

was

meta-

exalted, harsh char-

As August Macke

means

in

already

of expression they used

what they wanted

What would be gained by

The

fact an elixir for those involved

also invited criticism.

"too big for

inflated the

- remained purposely dark

to initiates.
in

of his fellow painters, the

were perhaps

it

generated arbitrary verbal sequences, and

to say".

taking Expressionism at

its

word and

raising the expression of emotions to the main criterion of good art?

Wouldn't this be tantamount to exalting a mania into a style? What


implied by describing the effect of art metaphorically, as a slap

emphasis on the painting process

rather than on the creation of serene, self-contained form, a

its

ideas. Yet this impression

stated the idealist philosopher Leopold Ziegler

is

who

blasted traditional syntax but apparently conveyed clear and lucid

physical

Das

Rapturous

style,

to other

this

volition,

Expressionist artists were forma-

Judging by such examples, Expressionist diction with

gram

German appears

Germans), published

Max

language

Driven, buffeted by such a

...

coming and never Being peoples."

in

the national psyche,

own

is,

who shaped

sionary powers.

verve, finally establishing a counterweight to the French avant-garde.

And

than imitative minds

public's face,

an attack on the audience?

gave a terse

definition of Expressionist

In

art,

is

not so apt as

1908

it

might seem.

is

the

1917 Herwarth Walden


saying that

"impression from outside" but an "expression from


this definition

in

it

was

inside."

When we

not an

Yet again,

think about

it,

it

Messina destroyed by an earthquake,

a giant meteorite causes widespread devastation

3)

FRANZ MARC

Forms
on canvas, 91 x 131.5 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst
Fighting

1914, Oil

4)

GEORGE GROSZ

The

Street

on canvas, 45.5 x 35.5 cm

1915, Oil

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

applies just as well to countless past works of

art,

from the figures of

Michelangelo to the prints of Albrecht Durer, or from the


ings of Matthias
El

Greco

sionists.
ly

Grunewald

1475/80-1528;

(c.

1541-1614), two

(c.

What

justifies

twentieth-century

us

in

characterizing the expressiveness of ear-

"ism",

not simply as a neurotic ad-

an established style?

Art historians have always had their difficulties

One need

Expressionism as a

style.

Kirchner, Kandinsky,

Kokoschka and Dix

no formal

common

ground. This

dency", a manifestation of a
just as

is

only
to

force field of

modern

art,

peak - suggesting

feeling for

This art

life.

And as

1909

The

them up

that they

to date,

in

Blaue

Reiter,

artists'

groups that appeared

in

Ger-

the years prior to the First World War, Die Brucke and Der

attempted nothing less than to

to a

and without

directly

In

"new generation

anyone who was capable

realize the ideal of a fu-

their manifesto, the Brucke artists

of both creators

and lovers of

of expressing "what urges

adulteration", as

progressive religion of

Between

developing them to a

were not able

to outrun that

them

welcome adepts

art",

to

to create,

of a

new and

art.

Distortion

and Abstraction

like

shadow over them. His

The revolutionary philosopher presented a prime

six-day bicycle race

in

The dogmas
a good and true

of this

life,

art, this

Germany takes place


191

in

Berlin

immersion

the characters

art,

who

acted as

if

1910

German gunboat "Panther"

is

in

in

its

contradictions.

subjectivity;

and submission

individual

flected

in

religion of art with

were fraught with

hand stood means of extreme

all.

Nietzsche himself loomed

first

The two most important

many

frequently

suggestive forms within the

books were enthusiastically consumed by the younger generation, es-

"On Psychoanalysis"

of

anxiety as reflect nostalgia for

new and

"shadow" invoked by Nietzsche after

pecially Zarathustra.

ples.

appealed

prefer

was the earthquake

also presented countless problems to Nietzsche's enthusiastic disci-

ture existential world order.

now

"...

generation." Yet such an overweening "superego"

to

art historians

Nietzsche

they just as frequently thought through old

familiar formulas, bringing

In fact,

my

of

why many

much be suffused by urban

the epoch for

later recall,

see that they have next

young generation's

as the Expressionists probed

radical

accepting

narrow-mindedess, materialist thinking. As the poet Gottfried Benn

(1886-1956) would

compare the paintings

a past Golden Age, a paradisal state of innocence.

and

in

Expressionism less as a style than as a "direction" or "ten-

to describe

can

altar paint-

the work of

1) to

much admired by the Expres-

artists

German modernism

venture but as a serious

fig.

of self-liberation from authoritarian constrictions, bourgeois

example

on the

to the

projection of

On

the one

other, a desire for

cosmos. This was

re-

Expressionist literature, stage plays and

they were marionettes of universal forces. The

Sigmund Freud publishes his pioneering essay,

sent to Agadir, triggering the second Morocco Crisis

5)

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER

Winter
1919,

Moon Night

Colour woodcut, 31 x 29.5

Basel, Offentliche

cm

Kunstsammlung,

Kupferstichkabinett

6)

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER

Standing Female Figure


1912,

Wood

(alder),

98 x 23 x 18

Museen zu

Berlin, Staatliche

cm

Berlin -

Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie

spontaneous, agitated expression aimed at

Werner Hofmann has

both cases led to what

in

called "elementary gestures of sensation

and

instinct".

ual

passive depictions of nature a

la

Impressionism and tap

individ-

emotional powers, by employing brash bright colours and "brutally"

reduced forms. The laws of perspective, faithfulness to anatomy, natural

appearances and colours counted

for

and exaggeration became an equivalent


world transparent to the psyche.
vealing

title

Kandinsky gave

1910 and published


che,

in

On

to the

the Spiritual

1911. The development of an

what Kandinsky termed

(fig.

"Nordic man",
that regard,

1908

was

2)

Art

in

opened

"spiritualization",

and the Blauer Reiter

who yearned

in
in

in

the psy-

to painting the

art history for

Munich

(fig.

which

3) stood.

for insight into the spiritual and,

related to "the Oriental", explained Worringer

dissertation Abstraction

re-

finished

art of

and Empathy

"feels

veil

himself and nature," and therefore strives for an abstract


ingly,

was the

now-famous book he

art.

in

in

his

between
Accord-

abstraction and expression would enter a "Faustian" marriage.

Not only with regard


sciousness of

artists,

to the ecstatically

heightened self-con-

but also with regard to their symbolic inter-

pretation of the world, their search for metaphysical foundations or

1911

Marie Sklodovska-Curie awarded Nobel Prize

becomes

first

man

to reach the

South Pole

in

Kandinsky, for instance,

"Romanticism"

term

was

of

many an

greatly pleased

connection

in

idea that originated

them were

with

quite

when a
his

aware
critic

work.

in

of this.

used the

Moreover,

Expressionism shared the penchant of one branch of Romanticism


for things

dark and aberrant.

case

in

point

Alfred Kubin

is

(1877-1959), an eccentric

artist distantly

associated with the movement. Born

Litomerice)

Bohemia, the young Kubin enjoyed torturing small

mals,

in

watched

flayers

natural disasters
father. In
Reiter.

and butchers

- probably an

at work,

in

Leitmeritz

(now
ani-

and was fascinated by

instinctual reaction to

an overly

1911 Kubin was among the founding members

of

strict

Der Blaue

Years previously he had illustrated ghost and horror tales by

the likes of Dostoyevsky, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Edgar Allan Poe, and

Oskar Panizza,

primarily

watercolours or

oils.

in

pen-and-ink drawings, but occasionally

magorical and nightmarish realm that

seemed

to spring straight

from

the "black" or "gothic" Romanticism of the early nineteenth century.

twelve

weeks

of the year

In

907, he wrote the novel The Other Side, a

paraphrase of the Apocalypse


spirits

in

Kubin's spidery, scratchy stroke invoked a phantas-

the reader into a dream

in

city

highly expressive diction. Kubin

by the

name

of Pearl,

in

far distant

for her discovery of radium and polonium


1911 Roald Amundsen
Passenger ship "Titanic" sinks after colliding with an iceberg

Chemistry

1912

for a rebirth of unadulterated cre-

the Expressionists developed

German Romanticism. Some

for rendering the material

realm of abstract symbolism, a turning point


both Kandinsky

or nothing; distortion

little

hoped

history from which they


ativity,

At the onset of the development, the crucial thing was to over-

come

cosmological orders, Utopian designs and elementary realms beyond

Asia.

As the

ot a

meaning

inhabitants search tor a hidden

lessness ot their existence, the devil appears

"manager" and takes over the helm. The

begins

its

in

with folk

city

inexorable demise.

ly

Overexcitedness was characteristic not of

many

but of

all

of Expressionist activity. Recall the agitated figures

art,

in

reli-

children's drawings

- advanced

ill

1913 on an

fields

Nolde's

in

in

the art of the

world's indigenous peoples. Masks, fetishes, ancestor figures

the guise

and the

plot turns

sumably unspoiled principles of design, embodied

the sense-

in

among them

to the centre of artists'

expedition to

the Palau Islands

number

in

New

- along

and the picturemaking of the mentalconcerns. Nolde set off

in

Guinea. Pechstein considered settling

1914. Aesthetically, such interests resulted not

wood

gious compositions, the apocalyptic landscapes of Schmidt-Rottluff,

least

Heckel, and especially Meidner, or the masklike, distorted big-city

sculptures were probably inspired by Carl Einstein's book Negerplas-

faces of Grosz

(fig.

4) or Dix. Overexcitedness also

marks the highly

contrasting planes or nervous, angular forms and hatching


prints,
(fig.

many

5).

An

of which are

among

the "beautiful and

ous decoration

true",

for

hand with an urge

came

artists' part to liberate art

where

home and

it

tik

had degenerated

ist

to the fore. This

for the "elemental", everything exotic

and

of Expressionist carvings. Schmidt-Rottluff's

Museums

inspiration, as did the

in

1915. Kirchner,

too, created similar

became sources

of ethnology

performances of "exotic

magazine photographs

of

of Expression-

artistes" at the circus

"Negro combos".

lips

and pointed

chins,

an emphasis on the roughhewn that was com-

Yet such excessive tendencies were always paralleled by more

primitive,

domesticated approaches. Kirchner's oeuvre can stand

"naturalness" and the lust for

this regard.

As

dios with African


sire for

as a

1912

10

of Expressionist creation.

1905, French avant-garde

early as

terest themselves

in

artists

had begun

supposed primitiveness served two purposes

way

to revolt against the bourgeoisie,

Pacific. This

for

his art

de-

was

920, the

many

in

favour of

unearthed, and the original

is

underpinning of

began

to

suppress

a more considered approach. The

sulting decorative, flat structuring

is

intellectual

increasingly important to him; he


in

for

not the sheer emotionalist for which he his

re-

and serene, monumental composi-

tions belied the cliche of the Faustian

of pre-

Rudolf Steiner establishes the "Anthroposophical Society"


1912 Portrait bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti

became

the impulsive factor

bohemians:

and as a source

Kirchner

generally taken. Especially after

to in-

ethnological collections and adorned their stu-

masks and statues from the South

full

plemented by exaggerated gestures and poses.

in

which along with free sexuality were celebrated as an embodiment of


life

Primitivistic

traits entered depictions of faces especially, with angular noses,

into pretty, innocu-

went hand

(fig. 6).

or cabarets, or

from the ghetto of

fireside. This aesthetic

(Negro Sculpture), published

works

the

the high points of Expressionist art

aesthetic of the ugly and brutal

represented an appeal on

in

in

German modernism favoured by

brought to Berlin

7)

CONRAD FELIXMULLER

Worker on the Way Home


1921, Oil on canvas, 95 x 95 cm
Berlin, private collection

8)

MAX PECHSTEIN

Open

air (Bathers in

9)

The

Moritzburg)

on canvas, 70 x 79.5 cm
Duisburg, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum

who

later authors,

reer and excluded

it

Village Idiot

cm

1920/22, Oil on canvas, 92 x 65

1910, Oil

many

CHAIM SOUTINE

Avignon, Musee Calvet

accordingly disregarded this phase ot his ca-

trom the panorama ot Expressionism.

Prior to the First

World War, Expressionist experiments

and colour reflected above


moods. Only

later did

and

they turn clearly to social issues, depicting

vic-

tims of war, pillorying social injustice or political repression.

purging the world

began

artists

to

advance concrete arguments

the eve of World

War

in

retrospect: "War simply had to bring us

grandeur, strength, dignity. To us

it

seemed a masculine

shootout on blossoming, blood-bedewed meadows.

was there
to

some

in

the world

..."

Only a few

patriotic choir.

The

and Corinth,

in

contrast,

No

finer

death

added

immune

their voices to the

War euphoria swept through Europe from end

Futurists had long since declared

and

to this

war

to

to end.

be "the only

hygiene for the world". Marc expected the war to bring a worldwide

Beckmann and

willing to

go beyond the

artist's role

and engage

in

(fig. 7),

actual party

politics.

The Expressionist groupings, whether more

a merry

including Pechstein

artists,

extent Grosz, Meidner and Felixmuller, were

fascination. Barlach

act,

were

Now

for improving the

world. However, only a few, apart from Grosz and Felixmuller

1926, Ernst Junger (1895-1989) described the mood on

In

form

in

individual artists' mental states

all

loosely knit,

all

envisaged a community of

took of Romantic

ideals. Naturally

living

known through group

and publications. The Brucke painters

everything, from studios

more

they pursued more practical ends

as well, especially that of making their work


hibitions

closely or

and working that par-

and models

in

particular

ex-

shared

to painting materials, partly out of

a lack of funds but mainly because fraternal cooperation meant a


great deal to them. Living and working

in

town was interrupted

in

the

volunteered for service; Schmidt-Rottluff looked forward to the

summer months by extended country vacations, where they painted


from life, swam in the nude, and generally enjoyed themselves with

chance

their

models and

ture

(fig.

catharsis and a spiritual purging of humankind.

to "create

something as powerful as could

exalted visions rapidly gave


fields,

way

to

trauma

rank trenches, and overflowing

Flanders.

Many young

artists

in

be".

Dix

Yet such

view of the shell-holed

field hospitals of

France and

- Marc, Macke, Morgner - were never

girlfriends. This imitation of

an innocent state of na-

8) reflected artists' yearning for that unity of art and

life

which had been among the demands of the avant-garde ever since
the 1890s. This, too,

was an attempt

to purify

a materialistic world by

turning back to the utopia of an earthly paradise.

to return.

1913
1913

In

Premiere of Stravinsky's ballet Le sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring)

the U.S., Ford introduces the assembly line into automobile production

in

Paris provokes a scandal

EDVARD MUNCH

10)

The Scream
1893, Oil

on

canvas, 91

x 74 cm

Oslo, Nasjonalgallenet

11)

GEORGES ROUAULT
Eve

Fallen

1905, Watercolour and pastel, 25.5 x 21


Paris,

12)

Musee

d'Art

Moderne de

la Ville

cm

de

Paris

JAMES ENSOR

Still-life in

the Studio

canvas, 83 x 113 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne -

1889, Oil

on

Staatsgalerie

The Topography of Expressionism

Macke's contact with Der Blaue

Bonn and through

Many attempts have been made


sionism into clear domains.

sionists

is

in

The

problematical.

in

Nolde had

Alsen, and Rohlfs

on Dresden

in

considered an

knew each

consider

briefly

met Paula Modersohn-Becker


in

Soest

Soest and Hagen. Nolde,

affiliate of this

in

1907. Otherwise

in

in

in

view of

island

of

his brief,

Die Brucke, can properly be

tendency. Rohlfs, on the other hand,

is

the literature as a representative of "Rhenish Expres-

sionism".
In

purely geographical terms, the Rhineland

Folkwang,

in

founded

in

Hagen

in

(1874-1921), became a key centre

August Macke was active


in

1912,

in

fact played an

the chorus of Expressionist voices. The

in

1902 by

Karl

of the art

scene

Ernst

member

for the

is

It

was

not

permissible only

is
it

some

specifically

third

was no commonly

who

Surrealist

in

part of

when we remain
to

Rhenish brand of Exat the

where the key Expressionist

University,

title

Macke

tried to

marshal an

of "Rhenish Expressionists",

centre alongside Berlin and Munich. Yet there

held concept to weld together the sixteen candi-

apart from

Max

Macke as

1913, on the occasion of a show

group of friends under the

and establish a

dates,

Macke's attitude

would be even more imprecise

ideologist Wilhelm Worringer taught, that


existing

Ernst

Macke and Campendonk included the


89 - 976). The latter's characterization
1

a newspaper review

was

indicative.

The show

future
of the

revealed,

Ernst wrote, "how a series of powers are at work within the great

common

who have no outward


'direction' of thrust,

similarity to

one an-

namely the intention

to

give expression to things of the psyche (Seelisches) through form


alone."

Cologne "Sonder-

inaugurated

in

until

other but only a

at that period.

and

Cohen bookshop near Bonn

Osthaus

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie,

Canal, under construction by the U.S. since 1906,

pressionism.

leader

stream of Expressionism

bund" exhibition, Yet the literature tends to put more weight on

1914

Macke a

Museum

the Rhineland on several occasions, serv-

for instance, as a jury

is difficult,

his taste. Classifying

of his outsider's role. Yet

Bonn show

important part

ing

Der Blaue Reiter

painters concerned barely

Worpswede, Nolde mostly on the

in

cism they displayed was not to

aware

one-and-a-half year membership

in

to focus

the north lived at great distances from one another -

Modersohn-Becker

described

is

which he maintained from

Reiter,

his friendship with Marc. Actually,

Munich group was always ambivalent, and the romantic mysti-

of Expres-

1900 and encountered Rohlfs

the artists

it

to the

German group

attempt to define a Northern

other, although

Paris

As convincing as

of Expres-

Brucke) and Southern Germany or Munich (Der Blaue

or Berlin (Die
Reiter), the

map

to divide the

Moderner Kunst

The Austrian and Viennese


1

900
in

art

scene was dominated around

by Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau. Gustav Klimt

862-1 91

8)

was

1914 The Panama


Einstein develops his General Theory of Relativity

Sarajevo triggers World War

1915

(1

(Ely

mm;*** Ml

:'v?|

...*

.&

'

mm

""
4

jj

i**^

TJP

-3.

it:

^^ V 11

P
'-

i>

mmIt-

^^C^f'E

Wv

*# a

aw

>.;-->

;r

*3*

"

J*"

In^^"" jl

<|

*mk^t^^^

p3p

3i

the admired model for Kokoschka and Schiele,


pressionists idiom developed by
colour,

way

whose personal Ex-

of Klimt's daring form and

which the more conservative wing of the Viennese Secession

found subversive. Klimt also communicated an existential involvement


with subjects such as sexuality, illness
ists.

The influence

of

and death

to the Expression-

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis on the

environment of the day lent Austrian Expressionism


Countless components

made

the

map

its

artistic

special note.

lone wolves. For Kandinsky, Feininger, Dix and others, the style reprebrief

phase. Nor should

we

forget that expres-

sionists tendencies appeared beyond the borders of the

speaking world as

Permeke
Berghe

(1
1

886-1

well. In

German-

Belgium, for example, the work of Constant

952), Gustaaf de

883- 939) and


1

Smet

Albert Servaes

877-1 943),

(1
(

ists,

Frits

883- 966)
1

is

van den

spoken

of

Two further painters also deserve mention.


One was Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), a Lithuanian Jew who
worked from 1916 onwards in Paris. His friends, including Amedeo
(1884-1920), had connections with the

Sturm and were

familiar with publications

Soon Soutine began


imity with the

Modigliani's.

1916

it

is

Der

on German Expressionism.

prewar work of Ludwig Meidner

However,

Berlin journal

pursue aims that brought him

to

above

(fig.

into close prox9),

a friend of

uncertain whether Soutine ever

by the Abstract Expression-

slaughtered cattle

who admired Sou-

- Soutine was long

have influenced Oskar Kokoschka. This

is

believed to

incorrect for chronological

reasons alone, and was always vehemently denied by Kokoschka himself.

Nor can the occasional reversal

The second

artist

Georges Rouault

(1871-1958), has likewise frequently been compared


in

his

Dresden

period.

The French

tremely heavy contours and

be proven.

of this relationship

question, the Fauvist

in

to

Kokoschka

artist outlined his figures with

ex-

the spaces with strong colours.

In

1905, he began concentrating increasingly on religious subjects.

In

filled

these respects Rouault's work

French

paintings of Nolde or
Citing

names

Expressionism.

closer than that of any other

In

11), for

(fig.

instance the

Beckmann.

like

tempts have been made

ed an exhibition

came

German Expressionism

artist to

928,

titled

Soutine, Rouault and others, occasional atto define


in fact,

something

Galerie Alice

in

the nature of French

Manteau

in

Paris

Soutine, Modigliani, Vlaminck (1876-1958), Maurice Utrillo


1

955) and Marc Chagall

ise that

they

all

887- 985) were shown under


1

reflected a heightened

the dancer Mata Hari

1917

mount-

"L'Expressionisme Frangais", at which works by

and employed subjective means

In Paris,

France and the United States,

In

later, incidentally,

saw Ger-

Heavy fighting at Verdun


1917

all

the original.

in

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997),

tine's depictions of

as Flemish Expressionism.

Modigliani

Expressionist art

of Expressionism into a

many-coloured and complex tapestry. Accents were set by a series of

sented no more than a

man

where he was lauded -

awareness

of depiction

(1883-

the prem-

of an inner world

marked by energetic

The U.S. declares war on Germany


is

shot as a

German spy

13

VINCENT VAN

13)

The Church

GOGH

of Auvers

1890, Oil on canvas, 94 x 74

cm

Musee d'Orsay

Paris,

PAUL GAUGUIN

14)

Contes barbares (Exotic Legends)

mmim

cm

1902, Oil on canvas, 131.5 x 90.5

Museum Folkwang

Essen,

gestures, distortions of form, and orgies of colour

words, that had long been canonized

in

criteria, in

Germany as those

other

of Expres-

journals and collectors.

The Belgian James Ensor (1860-1949) and

who was

the Norwegian Edvard Munch,

long active

in

Germany,

like-

wise caused a sensation there.

sionism.

The Expressionists

and elsewhere welcomed any

Berlin

in

brand of painting that was based without reserve on subjective expe-

From the Reservoir

of the

European Avant-Garde

rience and

its

What was the

art

scene

like

stage? As a point of departure,

Brucke moved

in artistic

when

German

matters as well as

came on

the Expressionists

us take prewar Berlin, where Die

after their first years in Dresden. Wilhelm

Prussia and Kaiser of the

tone

let

Empire,
political,

II,

King of

duty-bound to set the

felt

despite the fact that pro-

tion of representing or illustrating


(fig.

ern

And

2),

who

mass

this held

especially.

torments of

loaded pomposities of Anton von Werner (1843-1915), his court


artist.

Anything that diverged from painstakingly rendered

costume scenes

or innocuous salon paintings

category of "gutter
Kollwitz

art",

was

from the socially committed prints of Kathe


of

Max

Lieber-

to the absolutely crazy Expressionists and, of

course, every foreign so-called "avant-garde". Most of the revolutionary advances

in

modern

had been presented

1917
in

art

to the Berlin public by

Lenin and Trotsky

Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm

14

had long since taken place

II

is

lay the

audacious

groundwork

forced to abdicate

in

Paris,

and

art dealers,

for the

appearances. This held for Ensor

revealed the depravity behind the masquerade of

mod-

even more

for the symbolistic art of

Munch

with

its

ex-

Munch's famous Scream of


life

into

child's

893

(fig.

0) projected

all

the

face distorted into an emblematic, unfor-

gettable grimace. Munch's inscription

in

the fiery red sky

is

indicative:

"Could only have been painted by a madman."

And again and

relegated to the

(1867-1945) and the earthy Impressionism

mann (1847-1935)

historical

conventional func-

pressive graphic abbreviations, which affected the art of Die Brucke

gressive minds thought he had the taste of "a cook or baker's boy".

on the throne enjoyed were the pedantic, over-

art's

society and by so doing deeply impressed Nolde, for one.

What

this dilettante

forms and colour

radical translation into expressive

arrangements, and that accordingly overcame

again,

it

was two

"fathers of

cast their spell over the Expressionists: Vincent van

Paul

Gauguin (1848-1903;

fig.

14),

Schneede has described as "The 'rough


spectives, flatness, deformations
itions

...

The 'rough

coarser canvas,

Communist Revolution

in

in

Russia

image':

made

...

1918

(fig.

3) and

who shared what Uwe


image',

whose

run counter to

of coarsely

rapidly applied,

modernism" who

Gogh

all

M.

distorted per-

well-worn trad-

rubbed pigment, on ever

broad brushstrokes, with parts of

Following the November Revolution

15)

PIERRE BONNARD

At the Circus
c.

1900, Oil on canvas, 54 x 65

cm

Paris, private collection

the canvas

left

uncovered

painting process

The

first

revealing the sequential character of the

.,

van

Gogh

exhibition

cannot be overstated, was mounted


Brucke, at Galerie Arnold

touched

off a notorious

in

in
in

Germany, whose significance

movement

905, the founding year of Die

be

Dresden. However, the same van Gogh

scandal

Gogh work was acquired by

in

Germany.

191

In

domination" of

renowned

artists,

German

strangely

1,

when a van

the Kunsthalle Bremen, the mediocre

painter Carl Vinnen launched a petition protesting at


"alien

Andre Derain (1880-1954), they were joined the following year by

Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Raoul Duty (1877-1953). A

..."

art.

The

petition

including

what he termed

was signed by

Kathe

Kollwitz.

several

Marc and

Kandinsky immediately organized a counterprotest, which was sup-

flat

briefly

that

planes

in

to essentials.

description,

power

was as

influential

described as painting

as

it

was

Fauvism might

short-lived,

colours deployed

rich in

in

luminous,

which figures and objects were abstracted and reduced

The colours were released from the task

and were therefore capable

of naturalistic

of developing an

enormous

of expression. At times, tense lines held the colour areas

together, yet often these strokes took a loose, approximate course,

not always forming definite contours and serving

more

to

accentuate

areas than to isolate them. The fascination exerted on the Fauves by

museum directors, art historians and artists and appeared in sub-Saharan African and Oceanic art strengthened their resolve to
the
summer of that year with Piper, Munich, under the title Im engender decorative effects by means as simple as possible.
necessary, they distorted forms or
rhythm of a composition made
Kampf urn die Kunst (The Struggle for Art).

ported by
print

by the

If

it

The
paintings,

thesis of

exotic,

if

Europeanized, mythical aura of Gauguin's Tahitian

on the other hand, struck the Expressionists as a perfect synlife

and

art.

They admired Gauguin's emotionally moving

fig-

ures and were inspired by his generous, sweeping planes and his ten-

dency

to the daringly decorative

kind which
In

critic

were

later

adopted

in

1905, a band of young

called

them

(1869-1954;

"les Fauves", or

fig.

16),

stylistic

means,

in

other words, of the

painting

artists

shocked Paris audiences. One

"The Savages", Led by Henri Matisse

In

the latter were absorbed into Hitler's

became

ation, in

relationships.

spatial

widely

Die Brucke and the

known

Neue

in

Around

Kunstlervereinigung, or

Munich. Fauvism

The representatives

became an
of

1908, Fauvist

Germany, through the mediation of

New

Artists Associ-

inexhaustible reservoir, from

which other Expressionists soon began to draw as

Gauguin's wake by the Nabis.

Georges Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck and


1918

employed "unnatural"

well.

Der Blaue Reiter and Rhenish Expres-

sionism tapped a different source: the Orphism of Robert Delaunay

(1885-1941). The
yet

highly respected

was disturbed by the

studio

Delaunay began with Cubism,

still-life

motifs on which Cubist

Germany, the Communist Party ("Spartacus League") and the "Steel Helmet League" are founded. In 1933,
1918
Czar Nicholas and his family are shot by the Bolsheviks
SA "stormtroopers"

II

15

%:^W\

SHU
-

^sM

^^fl

was demonsfrated. He was

facetting of form

and motion of the

big

city,

new

the simultaneity of

intrigued by the vitality


its

phenomena,

lighting,

and

its

transformed

into

a dynamic, increasingly abstract painting

tric

itely

balanced colours

The

perspectives

(fig.

rich

time and space, which he

exhibition

spectrum

in

Berlin

Cologne,

exquis-

mentioned

shaped the de-

of influences that

its

centre stood van Gogh, Munch,

Cezanne and Gauguin. Picasso, important


in

in

"What
able

for

and Munich, was likewise

the

Expressionists

well represented, as

great

is

in

Man

is

in

Man

that he

room and free

in

and a

half later.

Munch described

the exhibition
in

in

letter of

May 1912: "The

Europe are gathered here

is

lov-

..."

The

make "elbow

face of the established, older

became a member
in

In

1906 Pechstein

it

again only a year

left

1910.

in

906, was an appeal to

all

progressive makers of art to join forces and bring into being a revolutionary artistic existence.

well.

of Switzerland,

It

The appeal was too passionate

and was

who was

to

be

satis-

accordingly directed to artists outside

reached, for instance,

and Axel Gallen-Kallela

..."

"in

founding manifesto.

Otto Mueller

Germany as

iter.

themselves

their

The Brucke programme, published

fied with local effects,

wildest things being painted

a bridge and not a goal; what

joined the group, as did Nolde, who, however,

were on

and Expressionists from Die Brucke and Der Blaue Re-

is

a passing over and a passing under

is

lives" for

as stated

were the Cubists, Matisse and the Fauves. Kokoschka and Schiele
view,

that he

is

four viewed themselves as a chosen elite that set out to

forces,"

velopment of Expressionism. At

working both

elec-

7).

1912 "Sonderbund"

above, reflected the

in

its

Cuno Amiet

(1

868-1 961

very knowledgeable about the Parisian scene,


(1

865-1 931

man Kees van Dongen (1877-1968),

of Finland.

a Fauvist

In

(fig.

908, the Dutch19), joined as

an

member for a good year. The ardently wooed Edvard Munch


at least became a passive member, one of the friends and supporters
of the group who wasted no time in becoming active - mounting seventy group exhibitions from 905 to 9 3, in Germany and abroad.
Break up encrusted structures - that was the warcry. When
honorary

The chain of Revolts - a Review


On June 7, 1905, the students of architecture Fritz
(1880-1960) - who, however, was soon to turn his back on

Bleyl
art

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff formed


in

Dresden the

back
1919

to a

artists'

passage

in

group Die Brucke

Nietzsche's Thus

(fig.

18).

The name went

Spake Zarathustra

(1

883-85):

Kirchner and his friends painted from the model

in

group studio ses-

sions they used to change places frequently. This spontaneous

change

of viewpoint

and

their rapid

working speed

facilitated

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, leading German left-wing socialists, are assassinated by a rightist officer
1919 The "German Workers' Party", the germ of the Nazi Party,
seventh member
founded: Adolf Hitler becomes
is

16

its

an

16)

HENRI MATISSE

Seated Girl
1909, Oil

on canvas, 41.5 x 33.5 cm

Cologne,

Museum Ludwig

17)

18) ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER


A Group of Artists

ROBERT DELAUNAY

Window on

the City

1912, Oil on canvas, painted dead frame, 46 x 40 cm


Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle

almost automatic approach to drawing and a

and schooled

their

eye

Museum Ludwig

summary

painting style,

reduced form). Summers were

tor simplified,

spent at the Moritzburg Lakes outside Dresden, where the group

man and

envisaged a harmony of
sions of civilization,

doorstep

(fig. 8).

as

it

free of the compul-

were, a Gauguinesque Tahiti at their

looked back

still

were susceptible as much

who

in

awe

(fig.

tried to

to the greats of art his-

to Post-Impressionist

influences as to medieval woodcuts

dence

life

Yet the Expressionist revolutionaries

leave tradition behind


tory,

or,

nature, a

25).

that the styles of the individual group

It

and Fauvist

surely no coinci-

is

members

are hardly distinguishable from one another. They were

at this time

all

fascinated

by the art of the South Pacific and sub-Saharan African peoples,

which they studied

at the

Dresden Museum

of Ethnology.

The black

contours, angular figure types, masklike faces and

vital

poses of the

part from

this

experience.

figures

their

in

paintings derived

Kirchner discovered

in

in

an English illustrated volume examples of

ancient Indian painting and rapidly adapted them to his needs. The

Gauguin exhibition

at Galerie Arnold,

Dresden,

further impetus for the group's concern with the

and depiction of non-European

1911 the Brucke

In

Walden had

just

opened

moved

his gallery,

1919

In

to Berlin.

Britain

There Herwarth

Der Sturm, and begun publishing

the U.S., a prohibition on alcohol

independence from

Kokoschka. Through Der Sturm the Brucke

whose

comes

editors

into force

1921

was

artists

made

contacts with

Expressionism, and also with the radical anti-bourgeois circle

literary

around Franz Pfemfert and

painters' part

Die Aktion, established

his journal

March 1911. These contacts resulted

in

toward issues of content.

and

whose

writer

him famous

link

between Kirchner and

active

every

in

woodcut

big-city novel, Berlin Alexanderplatz,

1928. Such contacts

in

sionist artists to

endpapers,
for

book

in

An example was
frontispiece

began

initially

two-coloured

of poetry,

remained together

Umbra

to react in

The differences

in

Berlin, diver-

a different way to the moloch of the big


if

no longer as a group,

city,

fled to various

Dangast on the

East Prussia, or the Baltic island of Fehmarn.

within the group grew, until

voked by Kirchner, as Die Brucke informed


27,

in

soon became apparent. Each

places: the Moritzburg Lakes, the village of

on May

the forty-seven

and

Georg Heym's volume

their previous collective style

from which they occasionally,


idyllic

urge of Expres-

genres and become

illustration.

Although the Brucke

artist

art

psychiatrist

would make

1924, one of the most cogent and significant works of Ex-

pressionist

gences

work.

field of creative

woodcut Kirchner created


vitae, of

facilitated the

transcend the limitations of

illustrations,

in

a stronger orientation on the

Der Sturm was forged by Alfred Doblin (1878-1957), a

North Sea, Nidden

the revolutionary journal of that name, one of

for Indian

1910 provided a
modes of perception
in

cultures.

artists

cm

1926-27, Oil on canvas, 168 x 126


Cologne,

its final
its

breakup was pro-

friends

and supporters

1913.

1920

The Communist Party of China

Mahatma Gandhi begins his non-violent battle


is

formed

17

KEES VAN DONGEN

19)

Portrait of

Fernande

1906, Oil on canvas, 100 x 81

cm

Private collection

20)

KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF

Girl at her Toilette

on canvas, 84.5 x 76 cm
Brikke-Museum

1912, Oil
Berlin,

21) EMIL

NOLDE

Prophet
1912,

"Munich was resplendent," declared Thomas Mann

1955)
ly,

in

his

1902

story Gladius Dei,

He

875

probably meant this ironical-

around the turn of the century the Bavarian metropolis hosted

for

not only relatively progressive, Art Nouveau-inspired tendencies but

thoroughly commercialized conservative styles.

Still,

the art centre

was

the way,

Initially

of Art Nouveau, Kandinsky returned

the Gauguin memorial exhibition

in

to his

naturally felt at

home. Two years

version

new home in 1906 from


many new ideas. These

Paris with

he proceeded to combine with elements of Russian

he

German

an adherent of Jugendstil, the

later

folk art, in

Kandinsky and

long-time consort, Gabriele Munter, were working

in

which

his pupil

and

Murnau, Upper

p.

was the

first artists'

colours and strong black contours.

brilliant

1909, the two artists established the

gung Munchen (NKVM,


other founding

or

New

members were

And another year

Neue

Kunstlervereini-

Artists Association of Munich).

Alexei von Jawlensky

(fig.

23),

Neue

Sachlichkeit artists Adolf Erbsloh

numbers

association to include large

or guests, a circumstance that

was

of

largely the

tic

ideals

in

the sublimating melting pot of the

diverse quarters

were welcome. This was

second association show

at Galerie

spiritual.

all

artis-

Impulses from

illustrated particularly

Thannhauser, Munich,

by the

in

1910,

which included works by Picasso, Braque, Derain, van Dongen


Rouault

19),

(fig.

11),

(fig.

and the brothers David (1882-1967) and

(1886-1917). Erbsloh exemplified the

NKVM

at the time,

in

the

way

in

international

which he proceed-

ed from Art Nouveau, Post-Impressionist and early Cubist influences


to a

reduced and concentrated imagery

in

highly luminous colours

The

which could stand beside that of Fauvism. Yet Kandinsky,

Ma-

had already taken the next step. That same year he painted what he

rianne von Werefkin, Vladimir von Bechteyeff (1878-1971), the two


future

(Alexander

The NKVM, by

people.

Kandinsky, the association's chairman, envisaged overcoming

networking of the

later, in

literary

the self-satisfied art of the salons by aiming at a synthesis of

Vladimir Burlyuk

forms,

and

result of Werefkin's strong personality.

verre eglomise, and adapting this technique based on

stylized

dancers

historians,

art

48), musicians

women, as members

Bavaria, studying the folk art of the Alpine foothill region, copying
flat

including

others,

Sacharoff - see

resplendent enough to attract the genius of Kandinsky as the century


got underway.

by

joined

cm
Museum

Woodcut, 32.4 x 22

Bemried, Buchheim

programmatically

(1881-1947) and

titled his "first

for his part,

abstract watercolour".

The press was shocked by the

association's show. Franz

Marc

Alexander Kanoldt (1881-1939), the significant Karl Hofer (1878-

reacted with a positive review, and at the beginning of 1911 joined

1955) - who would later, over his own protests, continually be reckoned an Expressionist - and finally, Alfred Kubin. Soon the group was

the

1922

NKVM.

troversy

Yet that December, plans for a third exhibition led to con-

and a

rupture. For spurious reasons the "moderate" faction

James Joyce publishes his novel Ulysses; Germany, Bertolt Brecht becomes known for his play Drums in the Night
1922 Howard Carter discovers the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tut-ench-Amun
in

rejected a largely abstract painting by Kandinsky.


Miinter,

arranged a sort of

rival

reaction,

In

NKVM

Marc and Kubin resigned from the

he and

and

rapidly

exhibition, likewise held at Galerie

Thann-

hauser: "Der Blaue Reiter", 191 1-12, at which Macke,

Campendonk,

Delaunay, and the composer Arnold Schoenberg were also represent-

ed with pictures. Thereafter the works were on view

German
ally

cities,

including Berlin, at the Sturm gallery.

in

several other

Walden

addition-

showed works by Paul Klee and the Russians Jawlensky and

whom

Werefkin (both of

would leave the

NKVM

in

Reiter, published in

which would not go beyond one


cover designs, most of them
blue,

Marc horses,

plain years later.

riders.

in

some

of the

al-

by Reinhard Piper,

24). "Both of us loved

the name," as Kandinsky would ex-

Conceivably associations with the mysterious "blue

(1772-1801) had placed

Romanticism also played some

disciplinary

(fig.

role here.

in

the cradle

Revealing for the inter-

conception of the almanach were essays that represent

most

crucial artists'

one by Marc, on "The 'Fauves'


"The 'Fauves' of Russia".

statements of modernism. There was


of Germany",

and one by Burlyuk, on

Macke wrote about

his paintings

Kandinsky

in

"Masks", Kubin about

Composition". Schoenberg wrote an article about music and

Mussolini's March on Rome provokes a fascist coup


1923
Germany,

confirming
art.

The

his,

its

re-

were reproduced

"latest painterly

displayed

movement," postulated Marc

children's

lerie

"First

Hans

common
this

style,

how

sented,

was

Comprehensive

Goltz,

to

the almanach,

art".

in

their yearbook, the artists in-

volved formed no coherent group along Brucke

endary

in

and the great Orient, with that so strongly expressive,

and

primal folk art

his dual gift as

connecting filaments with the Gothic and the primi-

fine

"its

in

lines.

The now-leg-

Exhibition" of the Blauer Reiter at

Ga-

February 1912, was not intended to manifest any

but to show, "through the diversity of the forms repre-

the inmost desire of artists takes manifold shape."

be demonstrated on an international

of pictures by Gauguin, van

painter Henri

the

in

was deeply moved by

Kandinsky's, theory of the analogy between music and

tives, with Africa

level,

And

by the inclusion

Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, the "naive"

Rousseau (1844-1910), by Delaunay, Derain, Vlaminck,

Picasso, Braque, by various Brucke artists (despite Kandinsky's seri-

ous misgivings), and furthermore, by the Russian avant-gardists


Mikhail Larionov

Natalia

(1881-1964), Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) and

Goncharova

In his

(1

881 -1 962).

essay "The

New

Painting", published

March 1912, Marc demanded

in Italy

In

particular

Schoenberg's compositions and paintings, and saw

"Free Music". Kandinsky contributed an essay "Concerning Stage

1922

well.

Despite the unity displayed

Kandinsky made ten different

watercolour

Hence

flower" which the poet Novalis


of

edition.

May 1912

and two of

1912).

During these eventful years Kandinsky and Marc planned an

manach: Der Blaue

lationship to words,

almanach as

inflation

in

the journal

Pan

for

that the profound spiritual aspect of

1923
reaches a peak when one dollar

is

In

Munich, the Hitler Putsch

equivalent to 4.2

trillion

fails

marks

19

nature be liberated from the fetters of the visible

Beckmann
"artistic

in

Max

painting.

replied, in the next issue of Pan, that the crucial thing

perception,

combined with

guin wallpaper, Matisse-print cloth,

little

rail

began and would

Gau-

at "framed

Picasso chessboards, and

Siberian-Bavarian martyr posters." This controversy


of the polarization of art

and truthfulness

artistic objectivity

be depicted," and then went on to

to the things to

was

between abstraction and

was symptomatic

figuration that

now

up throughout the twentieth century.

flare

cities,

not only

in

Germany

and Sweden. The outbreak of the


these

First

in

New hope

Lyonel Feininger,

World War put an abrupt end to

followed the debacle

who had been

when

affiliated with

the German-American
the Blauer Reiter since

1913, joined with Kandinsky, Klee and Jawlensky


Blaue

Vier, or

The Blue

Munich period

to the

Four, a

Bauhaus

Oskar Kokoschka,
drawings published

1910, and

whose

until

editing

in

924

25).

of Vienna,

was

the

first

form Die

Expressionist to have

1911 he remained a close collaborator


and

to

illustrations

of the

crucially

many

shaped

links that

to Berlin

at the

life

its

look.

connected the

of Expressionism, although

Thus
vari-

he basically be-

Austrian branch. His countryman Richard Gerstl


brillant,

age

angry "young savage".

In

908 he

took

(1883his

own

of twenty-five, not without previously burning his letters,

notes and a good proportion of his works. The surviving paintings

26) reflect Gerstl's incomparably free and nervous handling of

and what might be called

his

Kokoschka and Schiele stand


its

"dematerialization"

decade

for the

Schneede

soul,

to

As

art historian

He,
art

...

Uwe

M.

body and Kokosch-

clearly reflect the intensi-

which they ascertained the relationships between body and

and how they attempted, under the influence

develop a

exaltations

dance

figures.

which Austrian

in

writes, "Schiele's daring torsions of the

ka's unique series of revelatory portraits


ty with

of

(fig.

paint,

oppressive themes projected what Karl Kraus termed the "ex-

perimental setup for the end of the world".

pictorially effective

were moreover a reaction

of the period."

Sigmund Freud,

of

body language, whose wide-ranging

Kokoschka aimed

Viennese eurhythmic

to the

at creating a

as he himself wrote, and a contemporary

man

"deranged por-

of letters, Albert

Ehrenstein, credited him with being a "slitter-open of souls".

The

in

of the journal,

its

908) was a

trait",

Der Sturm. Walden had brought him

ous separate streams

intriguing

Max Beckmann,

the so different sculptors Wil-

helm Lehmbruck and Ernst Barlach, the Worpswede/Paris painter


Paula Modersohn-Becker, the prophet of
of these
in

191

were

1. In

doom Ludwig Meidner -

loners, despite the fact that the

a coachmen's pub

in

Berlin, a city

latter

all

founded a group

Meidner called "the

in-

After Lenin's death, Stalin wins the struggle for political leadership Russia
1924 First Winter Olympic Games
Chamonix, France
1926 Sergei Eisenstein makes avant-garde film Battleship Potemkin

take place

20

in

group that passed on ideas from the

(fig.

Kokoschka embodied one

1924

in

Hungary, Norway, Finland

which were such a crucial breakthrough for mod-

activities,

ernism.

but also

and

Blue Rider exhibitions were on view from 1912 to 1914


twelve

longed to

in

in

ERICH HECKEL

22)

Male

24)

1919, Color woodcut, 46.2

ALEXEI

23)

x 32.6

"Per Blaue Reiter" Almanach


x 21.1 cm
Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

cm

for

1912, Color woodcut, 27.9

Brucke-Museum

Berlin,

WASSILY KANDINSKY

Cover

Portrait

VON JAWLENSKY

Head of an Adolescent Boy (known as


1912, Oil on cardboard, 59 x 53.5 cm
Dortmund,

Museum am

tellectual

and moral

Heracles)

Ostwall

capital of the world,"

a short-lived group of Jewish

he formed "The Patheticals",

who had

artists

their

breakthrough

at

the Sturm gallery. Yet Meidner rejected Matisse, Kandinsky and Marc,
just as

he did the Brucke members

who

who, he maintained, "favoured Negro

away from contemporary


Steinhardt (1887-1968),

subjects."

art,

lived in his

neighbourhood,

which only drew attention

While the "Pathetiker" Jakob

who would emigrate to Palestine in 1933,


down into the 1920s, as an Expression-

could doubtlessly be viewed,


ist

with a stylistic and expressive affinity to Meidner, Dix

many

one wonders whether they can properly be associated with Expresall.

The same issue

is

raised,

in part,

even by

sociocritically

who came from realism, or by the


Dada or Neue Sachlichkeit tendencies.

oriented artists like Kathe Kollwitz,

Grosz and

later

And
late

it

is

Dix, with their

an issue that becomes extremely controversial

work

of

someone

like

in

face of the

film

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (fig. 27) with a painting by Meid-

28),

(fig.

whose

among

ences,

Kubin had

Alfred

flections from
In

light re-

concealed streetlamps.

many

respects, the

cinema drew

for a

Ghosts, Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) had two


bright lamp, casting

from contempo-

inspiration

raneous theatre productions. As early as 1906,

scene

in

Ibsen's

actors rush past a

enormous shadows on the back

wall that

gave the

impression they were being pursued by demons.


Similiarly, in

of a fate from

is

German

films

shadows were employed

which there was no escape.

In

his

like

omens

the famous film by

Murnau (1922), Nosferatu the

announced by

pressionist films

and Architecture

not

been considered): the distorted per-

originally

the cubic buildings seemingly on the verge of collapse; the

ance

Film

was

spective of diagonally converging lanes that intersect at acute angles;

Friedrich Wilhelm

Lovis Corinth.

precipitous lines reveal Cubist and Futurist influ-

others. Responsible for the expressive decor

the director, Robert Wiene, but the film designers (a task for which

and Grosz,

other artists lacked such similarities of style to the point that

sionism at

1919
ner

shadow ascending the

vampire's, appearstairs.

German Ex-

caused a sensation not least on account of their

tense chiaroscuro, their harsh contrasts of

light

and dark, and

their

sharp illumination of a single figure or object while the surroundings

German

Expressionist film focused the potentials offered by

painting and other

content. This

1926

media by

radically heightening both their

becomes apparent when we compare the

form and

sets of the

remained plunged

in

gloom. This principle, which

reminiscent of Expressionist

Murnau's Faust

film of

prints,

came

is

so strongly

to a final culmination

in

1926.

Physicist Erwin Schrodinger develops theory of quantum wave mechanics


1927
France, Marcel Proust's
A la recherche du temps perdu published
1927 Black dancer Josephine Baker celebrates triumphs
Paris

novel cycle

In

is

in

21

While the

explored

film

life's

abysmal depths, Expressionist

architecture - a term whose use can be traced back

emphasized

plans and visions but not

in

and palaces grew

a paper sky.

into

In

in reality.

many

of

ed Michel de Klerc

884- 923) and


1

Piet

matter and

An

The "storms

through glass structures recalling

gravity

of steel" of the First

"New Man" so yearned

even zoomorphic
In

into architecture, expressively splintered forms,

projects,

late

to

all

partook of a socialistic urge for world

1919, twelve architects joined with Bruno Taut

Germany, examples

of built Expressionist architecture, naturlevel,

remained few and

far

between,

such as Hans Poelzig's (1869-1936) Grosses Schauspielhaus

Tower
in

1918-19, and
in

Potsdam,

contrast,

Erich

920-2

greater freedom than

in

in

The

architects of the

architecture not only

Germany,

Pehnt notes. Noteworthy

22

is

in

Mendelsohn's (1887-1953) Einstein

Amsterdam

produced well-nigh uncountable numbers of

Holland, Expressionism

1928

Schmidt-Rottluff

war

the

it

began

also lasted longer," as

Amsterdam

architects'

School,

buildings. "In

earlier

and had

Wolfgang

group

1927 Charles A. Lindbergh


Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

come

"Archi-

flies

in

inflation. Didn't

one

Christ

of his woodcuts,

in

home

Appear

birth

Rather, a

to a republic

to

You? asked

view of the dismal post-

situation.

Beckmann, Dix and Grosz


face of

on a much less fantastic

Berlin,

shaken by hunger and

form a correspondence group they dubbed "The

Glass Chain".
In

1 ).

World War did not give

thoroughly beaten and despondent army trudged

buildings overspanning the Alps, music of the

purity,

spheres congealed

ally

for by Expressionism.

symbols

(1880-1938)

includ-

(1 88 - 96

National Art or Morbid Mysticism? Things to

to the

improvement.

1915 and

over-

Gothic cathedrals, a fascination with gigantic crystalline towers as


of

in

Kramer

Crystal cathedrals

cases, this fictional archi-

tecture extended even to the design of earth and stars.

coming

tectura et Amicitia", which appeared on the scene

Utopian aspect, which by definition could be put into

its

practice only

to

1912/13 -

its

human

wrecks,

its

(fig.

4) provokingly depicted the true

disabled veterans and war profiteers,

whores and new demagogues. Although the November Revolution


breathed

some

final life into

Expressionism,

in

what Ernst Bloch de-

scribed as a combination of "Marxism and prayer",

more than a
tions for a

brief flicker.

new

art that

"Have the Expressionists

would brand the essence of

NO! NO! NO!" declared the "Dadaist Manifesto"

of

it

seemed

fulfilled
life

into

little

expecta-

our flesh?

1918, triggering a

series of violent attacks on Expressionist attitudes by a younger generation of artists. "False

mann

called the

and sentimental morbid mysticism", Beck-

movement

in

1918.

the North Atlantic alone, and immediately

1928

becomes an American national hero


first Mickey Mouse silent films

Walt Disney creates

25)

LYONEL FEININGER

Cathedral of Socialism
1919,

Woodcut

for the

Bauhaus, 30.5 x 18.9

26)

programme of the

State

cm

RICHARD GERSTL
Laughing

Self-portrait.

1908, Oil

on canvas, 40 x 30 cm

Vienna, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere

27)

ROBERT WIENE

The Cabinet

of Dr. Caligari

1919, Film scene

In

new

the 1920s Dadaism

was succeeded by Neue

art of sobriety or objectivity,

a fanatical adherence to truth

development
Schlichter

the

who

title

of Dix, Grosz, Karl

1926

Hubbuch (1891-1979),

painting by Grosz

in

In

Pillars

or Rudolf

of Society (thus

the Nationalgalerie, Berlin),

inherited the prewar world seemingly

to flaunt

further,

known as Verism, as exemplified by the

(1890-1955). The perverted new

of a

Sachlichkeit, a

and taking the tendency even

unchanged, already began

enemies,

listed its

who

Thomas Mann and

Bertolt Brecht,

apart from authors such as

Kurt Tucholsky, included

and even Hofer.

began mounting
erate"

In

museum

1933,

directors

who toed

the Nazi

again for the most part Expressionist.

art,

contrast, the "National Socialist

German Students

by Goebbels, credited Expressionism with possessing "true

entry as a revolutionary force,

in

the

Weimar Republic protagonists

Expressionism suddenly found themselves part of the

case

in

point

artistic

of

estab-

around 1919, had digested impulses from Delaunay to

produce pictures reminiscent of Campendonk.

In

1919 Molzahn pub-

lished his "Manifesto of Absolute Expressionism",

in

which he pro-

in

vain. In

1937

was

it

at

face-saving

primarily Expressionists

ate

Art".

the

Moscow

Even the German emigres who

whether

it

exile journal

was

Das Wort in

hotly
1

revolutionary or reactionary. After

greatest echo outside Germany,

found

its

result,

some

debated Expressionism

of the

museums and

most

in

The

Expressionism were written by Americans. Many


art that

bourgeoisie versus an art that mystically celebrated the

- also divided the ideologues


ing at the "Militant

1928

League

for

shocked the

world were thunderstruck

German

sionist Painting, declared

of incipient National Socialism.

German

Culture",

founded

private collections.

in

soul

Speak-

1929, Al-

most

central

movements

coincidence that the

first

when Peter
in

in

957

Selz,

earliest standard

style,

now

in

author of

that Expressionism

German

art

German Expreswas "one

And

was

of the

likely

no

"ism" received the

ti-

the art of this century."

homegrown American

the

in

works on

it

Kurt Weill composes the Threepenny Opera a jazz


with
provided by Bertolt Brecht
1929 Plummeting prices on the New York Stock Exchange trigger a worldwide economic
in

in

agree

945, Expressionism

significant Expressionist pictures are

U.S.

Expressionism - an

to

the United States. As a

rhythmical Constructivism.
of

re-

who were

937-38, were unable

claimed Expressionistic design principles as the basis of a strongly

The ambivalence

German

ultimately

demagogically humbled by the notorious Munich exhibition "Degener-

was Johannes Molzahn (1892-1965), who

before emigrating to the United States had close ties with Bauhaus
artists and,

mained

chauvinistic attempt

In

League", supported

character". This

Wilhelm Hausenstein proclaimed the

line

exhibitions that pilloried "cultural Bolshevist", "degen-

and "subversive"

1918 the

art historian

artists,

mostly Expressionists, such as Beckmann, Kandinsky, Klee and Nolde,

an ominous new symbol: the swastika.

death of Expressionism. His verdict was premature. After making their

lishment.

Rosenberg

fred

lyrics

crisis

23

LUDWIG MEIDNER

28)

(Villa Kochmann. Dresden)


on canvas on cardboard, 92.7 x 78 cm

The Corner House


1913, Oil

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Madrid,

HANS SCHAROUN

29)

Community Centre

Idea for a

on paper, 37.8 x 27.8 cm


Akademie der Kiinste, Sammlung Baukunst

1919, Watercolor
Berlin,

JACKSON POLLOCK

30)

Blue Poles
1953, Oil, enamel and aluminium paint on canvas,

x 4,89

12,11

Canberra, Australian National Gallery

tie

"Abstract Expressionism". Alfred H. Barr, director of the

Modern

Art,

transferred a concept that had

been applied

sky's abstract compositions to that painting of the

which

on

relied

Museum

of

to Kandin-

1940s and '50s

spontaneous action and emotional expression,

direct,

name only a few, by Willem de Kooning, Robert Mother(1915-1991) and Franz Kline (1910-1962), and which culmi-

as practised, to
well

nated

in

the Action Painting of Jackson Pollock

Shortly after the war, the survivors of the

(1912-1 956;

German

fig.

30).

Expressionist

generation - Schmidt-Rottluff, Pechstein, and Hofer (who must be

named

connection despite the fact that he was not a dyed-in-

in this

the-wool Expressionist) - established the Hochschule fur Bildende


Kiinste, or College of Visual Arts,

include

Georg

Koberling
tive

(b.

(b.

in

Berlin,

whose

1938), K.H. Hodicke

later

(b.

students would

1938) and Bernd

938). With them and other "young wild painters", figura-

and/or symbolic Neo-Expressionism or Neo-Fauvism appeared

on the scene

in

contemporary
Cucchi

(b.

it

the 1970s and soon burgeoned into a key stream

art in

Germany, but also

in Italy,

in

as exemplified by Enzo

949). The radical gesture, to whose acceptance as a mod-

ernist device

as

Baselitz

Expressionism contributed not a

ever was.

It

little, is

serves as an antidote whenever

art

as violent today

threatens to grow

too narcissistic and self-satisfied, and reminds us with a shock of the

emotional basis of

all

good

art.

1929
1929

24

The Museum of Modern

Art,

The Geneva Convention, signed by forty-seven nations, requires humane treatment of war prisoners

the most important of

its

kind

in

the world,

is

founded

in

New

York

930

Based on a novel by Heinrich Mann, Joseph von Sternberg makes The Blue Angel, a sound film that catapults Marlene Dietrich to stardom
When his opponent, Jack Sharkey, disqualified, Max Schmeling of Germany becomes the
non-American world boxing champion

1930

is

first

25

ERNST BARLACH

1920

The Refugee
Oak

sculpture,

54 x 57 x 20.5

cm

Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich

More than those Brucke

who

painters

ated

works oriented to

plastic

exotic and

occasionally cre-

primitive art

(tig. 6),

His

concern

central

composed

of heavy, blocky

expression. This

logical

fectly

d.

in

Rostock

evident

is

per-

The Refugee,

in

which seamlessly

up with

links

Barlach's prewar work.

Here the human

figure has

been reduced

And although con-

the plastic character of the volumes and the incredible

way they

take possession of the surrounding space are retained. The slight

base

ris-

to the right leads to the feature that ultimately lends

the figure the appearance of a single sweeping movement: a diagonal


cut into the wood, running from the bare foot on the
folds of the cloak which the refugee

in

his

hands and

through the

draws protectively around himself,

then continuing abruptly to the upper

an oval to reveal

left

face.

right,

The

where the cloak opens

striking

the sense of earlier or academic ideals

in art,

head

is

into

not beautiful

but has coarse, ugly

features that vaguely recall the appearance of Kathe Kollwitz.


gaze, suffering and anticipating worse things to come,

is

The

directed into

the distance. The painfully visionary nature of this gaze and the face
protruding beyond the contours of the

wooden

block anticipates the

uncertain future, while the gently curving contour of the back


turn

away from everything the anonymous refugee has

The human

figure

comes a symbol
26

reduced

to essentials, as

seems

left

to

behind.

always with Barlach, be-

of a state, a supraindividual, archetypal situation.

1910

in

in

the medieval town of Gustrow on the Baltic

was

continually confronted with statues

of the apostles created

by Claus Berg (died between

1535) - highly dramatic,

plastically

532 and

modelled and yet drawn out

into

the plane, their coarse-grained, greyish-yellow oak contributing to the

both expressive and ascetic impression of the figures. These works

etched themselves
manifested
in

ceived to be viewed from a certain vantage point, an ideal plane of re-

ing of the

resulted not least from an encounter with late-

and sculpture. Barlach, who was also a significant

coast. At the cathedral there he

in

in

Barlach's mind, and his affinity with

only a slightly

them

is

more modern, somewhat abstracted form

The Refugee.
After the First World War, Barlach declined offers to teach at

to essentials, the con-

tours and interior detailing being well-nigh abstract.

lation,

spirit

art

ism, settled

Expressionist

truly

forms with heightened psycho-

Wedel,

matter with

printmaker and one of the most important playwrights of Expression-

ures

in

inert

Gothic graphic

Barlach can be considered an

rapidly crystallized: to intuse fig-

1870
1938

range of well-nigh crude formal means with which

limited

exponent ot
sculpture.

b.

The

Barlach achieved an unprecedented expressiveness and suffused

the academies

reached
him.

its

in

apex

On January

in

Dresden and

Berlin.

the 1930s, Nazi art

30, 1933,

in

Long before

critics

had set

his

success

their sights

Kathe Kollwitz and Heinrich Mann from the Prussian Academy of


Barlach gave a radio talk

on

protest at the forced resignation of

titled "Artists of

and public sculptures were destroyed.

the Time". His

Arts,

monuments

27

MAX BECKMANN

1909

scene from the


"Earthquake
on

Oil
St.

x 262

canvas, 253.5

Messina"

in

cm

Louis, Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Morton D.

Beckmann

played a role

May

in

twentieth-century art that over-

many

shadowed
oeuvre rises

like

His

others.

an erratic boul-

the landscape of

German

der

in

art.

Yet certain points of contact

After

finishing

Weimar

in

art

- where he

trips to Paris

impressed

his

1903, he

by

the

d.

- and

in

New

Avignon,

York

by

Eugene Delacroix

(1798-1863) and Paul Cezanne

Florence.

to

From 1907 onwards

alongside Corinth's paintings, were


the Secession exhibitions

in

vision of the Resurrection,

scenes

The Sinking of the

Berlin.

his

among

enormous canvases,

The age

Crucifixion, a

and slaughter, and even


feverishly doted

on just

such sensations.
this

Scene from

Italy in

died. In his diary

newspapers about the

report on the earth-

he noted: "Then

terrible disaster in

20,000 inhab-

read more

in

the

Messina, and the passage

where half-naked released prison inmates attack other people during


the frightful confusion
painting,

fault with

praising

gave

me

likely finished in April

its

its

The

...

the idea for a

which Beckmann attempted to capture

in

was

1909. The

caricatural exaggeration

'M

is

new

"all

picture."

The

pulsating flesh-

critics of

the day found

and sensationalism, only one

pathos, which can be traced back to Delacroix.


varied treatment of the figures gathered into small groups

forms the underlying chord of the composition

The eye

tle for survival is

with a rape

The

may

zsche. This

in

dull

earth colours.

led into the picture by the half-undressed, crouching

man

in

in

parallel to this

two figures each -

scene - who are involved

seems

to say,

relatively intact buildings at the


in

in

a strug-

simultaneously per-

is

upper edge

front of which the bat-

taking place.

The young Beckmann was impressed by the


explain why, apart from the

themes

vitalism of Niet-

of threat, fear

and

mod-

violence that can be seen as a metaphor for the brutality of the

ern age, such paintings contain an undertone of fascination with


crime, with an unleashing of archetypal instincts of cruelty.

Though
cates the

artistically

way

in

not entirely mature, the painting clearly

indi-

which Beckmann's early work developed out of a

sombre, Old Masterly naturalism with scattered Post-Impressionist accents towards an

confessed,

which about 80,000 of the

ly life"

left

have the effect of an impenetrable barricade

through

quake

Messina

beginning on the

news

after reading a

itants of

of figures, on a rising diagonal, are groups of

trio

the Earthquake in Messina

on December 31, 1908,


southern

struggling to maintain his composure. Placed

Expressionism whose fundamental feeling and

harsh dissonances of content lent

Beckmann began

in

seems

the annual sensations at

These included a

of rapine

Titanic (1912).

behind her likewise

trying to avert her fate.

if

cruel

medieval Pieta by the Master of


Leipzig,

next to him rises up

as

petrator and victim.

made

in

the forehead, bears

cerned.

was
1884
1950

in

woman
The kneeling man

gle to the death. Man, the artist

in

wounded

the pain with waning powers. The naked

with Expressionism can be dis-

studies

b.

the right foreground, who, seriously

ply

have

come
hind

out,

all

the sewers

debasements and desecrations,

Everything

down

in

breakdown.

me

to the last

Beckmann's decision

to the front. There,


tal

a sense of violence. As the

would pick my way through

"I

all its

to.

it

in

in

the

way

drop

..."

This

order to paint.

of formal imagination

was the

to volunteer for the

summer 1915, he

in

artist

of the world,
I

sim-

must

radical impulse be-

medical corps and go

suffered a physical and

men-

29

MAX BECKMANN

1918-19

The Night
on

Oil

x 154 cm
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

canvas, 133

Diisseldorf,

His experiences
ly

wrote to

his wife

in

the First World War, which, as he euphorical-

1915, provided "fodder" for

April

in

soon

his art,

brought Beckmann to the brink of mental collapse. They also altered


his art fundamentally,

application

more

in

"linear"

and took on

was no coincidence

that

graphic oevre between


years

both formal and iconographic terms. The paint

grew thinner and more

was outshone by

ecstatically distorted

Beckmann created

1915 and

After the outbreak of the


in

poses and features.

finished

oil

became

in

those

1919, Night,

in

in

November Revolution

Germany, and

political

1918,

vio-

assassination

was

in

the order of the day. Beckmann's painting, too, rips the thin veneer off
the aspect of bourgeois

angled
into

attic

We

civilization.

look into a small, Gothically

room, the perspective lines of whose floorboards turn

a narrow stage teeming with actors. Three thugs have broken

and are routinely and


tants,

one grabbing a

sadistically raping
girl

as

open window. The torso and


arm

is

if

it

in

and murdering the inhabi-

about to throw her out of the skewed

leg position of the strangled

man, whose

being twisted by a pipe-smoking "technocrat of violence", re-

calls the figure of Christ in a Deposition, his cruelly twisted foot per-

haps stemming from Grunewald's Christ Crucified


Isenheim Altarpiece

(fig. 1).

The thug

in

his late-Gothic

at the right in the

peaked cap

is

a paraphrase on a beggar from the fresco The Triumph of Death at


the

Campo Santo

The legs

in

Pisa,

from the

of the female figure

first half

who

is

violently forced apart, serve in formal

of the fourteenth century.

the true centre of the drama,

terms to

link

the two halves of

the composition.

Despite

its

implicit story,

the painting runs counter to every law

of logic, a strange, crystalline petrifaction having taken

possession of

the events and figures. The howling dog remains just as silent as the

gramophone; the toppled candle

seem

signifies death.

ple to the crushing of the Spartacus revolt

30

Though

it

plausible to detect references to current events here, for

would

exam-

and the assassination

of

"In

my

Night, too,

metaphysical

in

meant

human beings an image

in

January 1919, the ambigu-

"giving

In artistic

In

Beck-

one should not overlook the

the objective." Metaphysics, to again cite the

artist,

of their destiny".

terms, metaphysics implied transforming figures into

prototypes and stylizing the pictorial space, making

it

into

a conglom-

erate or complex network of "Cubo-Futurist" faceted planes and

sharp-angled contrasts (which bore parallels with Expressionist


sets;

joint.

and Rosa Luxemburg

mann's own words,

It

the greater part of his

922. Yet everything done

this large-format

which the world has gone out of

lence and chaos reigned

figures and faces

fluid,

Karl Liebknecht

ous and enigmatic nature of the image remain predominant.

fig.

27),

and

it

film

implied replacing naturalistic depiction by an

alienating distortion.

This key work and masterpiece of

German

painting

between

whose

the wars already contains the most important elements with


aid

Beckmann would

dam

until

later find his

1947, then as an emigre

genuine
in

style, in exile in

the United States. The

faceted forms would be increasingly abandoned

expanses

of colour

Beckmann's farewell
ing "sentimental

Amster-

in

favour of

linear,

brilliant

and broad, black contours. This amounted


to Expressionism,

morbid mysticism".

to

which he now rejected as be-

31

HEINRICH

CAMPENDONK

1913

bucoNc Landscape
Oil
St.

on canvas, 100 x 85.5 cm


Louis, Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Morton D.

Campendonk's
Landscape, whose

Bucolic

title

suggests

a kind of earthly paradise out


Antique mythology,
able

such

as

scrutiny.

On

is

of

recogniz-

on

only

first

May

closer

sight the vertical

format has the effect of a stage,


bursting with forms, as

filled to
in

the geometrically reduced, splin-

stract
b.

1889

in

Krefeld,

d.

1957

in

Amsterdam

occasionally

shapes of

ab-

nearly

human

plants,

beings, animals overlapping

one

another ultimately produce not

an effect of chaos but of a

solidly built pictorial structure.

The many

and various tense oppositions and complementary colour contrasts


are brought into an order that
Partially

down

calculated

to the last detail.

modelled elements with suggestions of spatial depth are

ways integrated
ation

is

in

the dominant

and the important

Franz Marc

flat

role played by animals

in

the scene

may

lyrical, fairy-tale

bring

mood

Upper Bavarian verre eglomise. The facetted interpenetration

of

of fig-

and landscape, the constructive employment of form,

ures, animals

colour and

al-

light,

clearly

echo Delaunay's

Like his close friend Macke,

and active mainly there and,

later, in

Campendonk - born
Dusseldorf -

is

in

Krefeld

often associated

//ith

the theoretical construct of Rhenish Expressionism. Yet the years

that

were decisive

to his artistic

development

in

terms of style and

thematic reorientation were those he spent under the influence of the


Blauer Reiter

From

artists in

905

to

Munich, 191 1-14.

909 Campendonk was

a student at the Krefeld

School of Decorative Arts. His teacher there, the Dutchman Jan


Thorn-Prikker
of Art

32

1868- 1932),

Nouveau but

introduced him not only to the stylization

to the art of

Cezanne and van Gogh, and

their re-

and strongly con-

of line

From 1911, when Campendonk moved

creasingly under the

to

know Macke and

latter's influence.

So

to Sindels-

Marc, he

came

Delaunay's Orphist coloration that

pendonk's lack of

voices complained of

critical

lyrically

temperament and Marc's mystical pantheism came

Though Marc's animal realm continued


began

to integrate glimpses of the

fairy-tale,

to fascinate him,

everyday farm

almost Romantic atmosphere of

their free-floating motifs. This approach,

personal
of

style, did

not find

1913 and 1914, and

Reiter. In the

and

Cam-

originality.

Yet gradually the differences between his more

the

in-

he adopt Marc's

avidly did

Cubist, crystalline compositions shot through with Futurist vectors

its

life

until

tuned

the

fore.

Campendonk

around him

into

compositions with

which would mature

culmination

finally after

his

to

the last

into his

Munich years

the dissolution of the Blauer

meantime Campendonk had

further reduced his visual

idiom to complex and solid geometric terms, a development manifest-

ed

in

Bucolic Landscape.

During the

from the
1

926,

military

First

and

living in Krefeld,

World War, Campendonk was soon discharged


retired to

ings. In

Seeshaupt on Lake Starnberg.

he accepted the

Dusseldorf Academy. His

later

In

offer of a teaching post at the

oeuvre included significant glass paint-

1933, Campendonk emigrated to Belgium,

Amsterdam.

principles of design.

autonomous expressiveness

Upper Bavaria and got

in

pattern. Features of the color-

mind; other features recall the

to

dorf

if

reaction to a horror vacui. Yet

tered,

liance on the

trasting colours.

later

going on to

33

LOVIS CORINTH

1922

The Red Christ


on wood, 129 x 108 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne Oil

Staatsgalerie

Lovis
of the

one

depiction

Corinth's

Crucifixion

doubtless

is

most moving

of the

modern

Moderner Kunst

art.

In

in

the predominant colour and

symbolism of blood,
indicative

it

was

b.
d.

1858
1925

in

Tapiau (now Gvardejsk),

in

Zandvoort

this

is

a scandal

exhibited.

stated, "But this


all,

Christ.

more

is

One

critic

not Christ at

like

an apeman

with a black woolly beard, pro-

mouth area

truding crude

less technically, snout), flattened

pug nose, huge

orbital

(or put

bulges and

devious black eyes. The body lacerated, tortured, blood and more
blood wherever the eye turns. The sun, too,
bloody.

The

picture

is

one single orgy

is

bloody,

The composition, which brings the motif up


like

a cinematic close-up,

is

rays look

its

eyes

to the viewer's

and divorces colour

alienates, abstracts

it

partially

and

dis-

from objective represen-

such that its impasto substance seems to take on a life of its


own and cover the picture field as with blood spatters. The heavenly cosmos sheds garish accents on the brutality of the nearly faceless
henchmen in the foreground and the helplessness of Mary and St.
tation,

if

John the Evangelist

in

the background. The paint surface

is

ploughed

by vehement brushstrokes and swaths of the palette-knife. The figure

murderous

bestiality

and reduced

creature, takes on exemplary

meaning

for the increasing loss of hu-

of Christ, victim of

man
that

dignity.

The

to a slaughtered

Crucifixion serves as a paradigm for the statement

man has become

a wolf to man.

To this day art historians continue to have their difficulties with


Corinth, especially with his

34

work

after

He

realistic styles
1

669). From

he moved to

is

very difficult to cat-

- and even more by the

89

when he

resided

in

art of

in

painting located

Impressionism. His aptitudes

From then on he had

to

in

all

900, when

the stops of a the-

midway between naturalism and

seemed anything

At the apex of his career,

Rembrandt (1606-

Munich, and after

Berlin, Corinth pulled out virtually

atrical, illusionistic

191

but avant-garde.

Corinth suffered a stroke.

1,

cope with extreme pressures, was tormented

by deep bouts of depression, but also went through happy phases of

among

a creative intoxication, as his famous Walchensee landscapes,

other works, attest. His approach turned radical, broke with academic
conventions, unsettled visual habits.

As Corinth himself once

wrote,

"Bad drawing and missing the mark are excused as soon as appear-

ances are captured


artist's late style

in

their character."

by considering

it

Most justice can be done

to the

phenomenon

to Ex-

a sort of

parallel

pressionism, even though Corinth never maintained contacts either


with

a combination of various elements from

Cornith's earlier Crucifixion scenes. Yet


torts the details

and

of bloodlust."

academies

Konigsberg, Munich and Paris, he was impressed primarily by various

1922, the painting

in

immediately caused

when

its

bears the

it

The Red

title

Finished

all

accordance with

egorize. During an extremely long training period, at the

members

of the

the occasion of the

Brucke or the Blauer

22nd

Berlin

Reiter. Yet at

Secession Exhibition

in

any
191

rate,
1,

on

he did

describe paintings by French Cubists and Fauvists as expressionistic,

and recommended them


on account of

to the public as highly interesting, precisely

their "wildness".

35

OTTO DIX

1914-15

as a soldier

self-portrait
on paper, 68 x 53.5 cm

Oil

Stuttgart, Galerie

der Stadt Stuttgart

War was the


nant theme

in

evitable part of

of Decorative Arts.

that

1969

in

Singen

terrible

succeeded

it

trenches and
of that

nevertheless.

seen men
beings

...

had

There

is

lives,

to experience the

stationed

Dix lay
in

in

in

to

torso the head,

course

fix

at

it

any

cost.

You have

to

have

know something about human


worst aspects of life myself - that's
to

work

volunteered."
that illustrates this existential
artist

depicts
al-

explode the small format. From the diagonally rotated


in

aggressive red, protrudes

like

a battering ram and

the viewer with a provoking stare - and the viewer

own physiognomy. The

neck and fleshy mouth

ergetic brushstrokes

36

survived. "The

was

of

originally the artist himself, looking at himself in the mirror to

study his
bull

August

In

close-up, presents his physique with an immediacy that

most seems

turns to

trench

something enormous

premise better than Dix's Sell-Portrait as a Soldier. The


himself

in

the Russian

Flanders.

December. He had

and also why

hardly another

the battles

in

then participated

later wrote, "but

unleashed state

into the war,

Class, fought

the neck, yet shortly thereafter took


in

in

brutal, bald soldier with

recalls a

blue, red

in

is

an

in-

Nietzsche.

Beckmann, he took the Bible and Nietzsche's Gay Science along

During intervals

in

the fighting, Dix amazingly executed almost

600 drawings and gouaches between 1915 and 1918. These comprise his actual Expressionist oeuvre. Nearly

all

of

them are covered

with a network of intersecting, agitated lines interlocking at sharp an-

colours often strangely recall the hovering notes of the Blauer Reiter,

wouldn't have missed

in this

why went

he

could have read

soldier.

non-commissioned

to

received the Iron Cross

November 1917

in

this Dix

and death

promoted
officer,

was discharged

horrible thing,"

in

lost

life,

gles, vectors

1918 was

was wounded

Dix

pilot training.

war was a

February

in

year he

In

men

fascination

for

with him to the front.

autumn

that winter,

its

and foremost a struggle

November he was

2nd

northern France.

in

Like

life is first

their lives. In

on the Somme, which cost 470,000


warfare

West-

to the

Champagne, France,

in

which nearly 600,000

d.

In

and the trench warfare

battle

Untermhaus (near Gera),

a keen expectation of the "enormous" things awaiting the

den School

went through the

in

for

Human

1915 he was sent

1891

face around the face, a formal equivalent for mental torment yet also

Dix after his training at the Dres-

ern Front

b.

domi-

first

the work of Otto

wounded

bony

skull,

wild animal at bay. En-

and yellow-orange plough the sur-

oddly ethereal

of force that

in

combine

an ecstatic rhythm. The

into

view of the dissonant overall structures out of which

Cubo-Futuristic, expressively delineated and distorted objects and

landscapes emerge. Simultaneity congeals


is

a far cry from a depiction of

end

into

visible reality.

did Dix begin to capture his experiences

ner. In

1923-24 he produced

a cycle of

in

fifty

War, a twentieth-century counterpart to Goya's


ters of

War (18 10- 1820) and almost

a "creative chaos" that

Only long after the war's


a more

realistic

man-

etchings entitled The

(1746-1828) Disas-

certainly inspired by them.

37

OTTO DIX

1920

prager strasse
Oil

on canvas with

x 81 cm

collage elements, 101

Stuttgart, Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart

to Dresden in 1919 - now as


Academy - probed new ways to react to

The Dix who returned


student at the Art

whose
the

brutality

and hypocrisy had become evident

in

the trenches of

World War. His Expressionist vocabulary was

First

mented by the montage

Dada and

principle of

shocking provocation, before Verism with

its

its

a master
a society

first

method

supple-

of sarcastic,

hyperreal attention to de-

completely replaced the revolutionary formal pathos of Expres-

tail

sionism

Dix's

in

the

in

artist's

eye.

manifested

life

He was

itself

in

terms of ex-

intrigued by outsiders, including in-

was working

tellectuals

and

prostitutes

and disabled war veterans who now populated

ings and prints.

human

artist

colleagues, but above

He focused

all

it

people,

Dix's paint-

mercilessly on the transitory nature of the

body, and created icons of sexual ugliness.

The

factors of ex-

political attitude,

whose message they focused

of actual slices of the reality

supplemented by

principles, that

is,

in

or another,

the

artist's

city

in

Dix's

postwar work. His

- likewise played a key

role

continuing mergers of disparate elements into a "cre-

ative chaos".

Prager Strasse, from which

scene,

it

vas with

metamorphoses

into

disablement

left

of the cart

my

Dadaist

contemporaries" centres on

of the

many

at that time

tinfoil.

whose

but begging to survive.

alternative

on which the legless man pushes

the pavement are formed of


in

painting with collage takes

a boulevard of disillusionment. The can-

war veterans, two

them no

oil

street. In Dix's starkly

inscription "Dedicated to

its

bizarrely alienated

wheels

this

was Dresden's most opulent

its title,

The photos, paper,

the upper part of the macabre shop

window

his torso

hair

and

The

along

tickets

displaying disjointed

stereotype body parts - torsos, limbs - are likewise pasted on. Bet-

ween

the light-coloured prostheses

inserted a photo of his


left

own

face.

in

the right-hand

The newspaper

window Dix has

clipping

in

the lower

corner - the compositional extension of a barking dachshund's

mouth -

is

another authentic piece of

reality that reflects

the growing

anti-Semitism of the postwar years: "Jews Out!" screams the headline.

exile

in

imagery composed

of typically Expressionist origin. With the aid of this

combinations Dix shed a glaring

social injustices that characterized the

he drew attention to the

embodied

in

When

political

light in

Prager Strasse on the

young Weimar Republic, and

perversions that would soon

become

tyranny.
Hitler

saw

a shame

paintings by Dix

in

Dresden

in

1937, he debars."

By

this

time Dix had long turned away from Expressionism, having

in

the

clared,

"It's

one cannot put these people behind

especially Verism.

one form

Swiss

mal structures, garish colours, and an aesthetic of the ugly - formal

ism were retained,

in

in

unreal, overlapping perspectives, disintegrated for-

1920s adopted the sharp-focus

main themes - war and the big

together

around them. This collage device was

aggeration, distortion and grotesqueness so important to Expression-

earlier

who had come

1916, the Berlin Dadaists had a clear and definitely left-leaning

art of

art.

Yet even after the war,

tremes

Unlike the Zurich Dadaists


in

objectivity of

Neue

Sachlichkeit and

39

LYONEL FEININGER

1930

Market church

in Halle

Oil on canvas, 102 x 80.4 cm


Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne - Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst

work

Feininger's

more

The American-born gra-

Klee's.

who was

phic artist and painter,


also

almost

is

categorize than

difficult to

and

musician

talented

composer, was associated with


various of the

German Expres-

groups without

sionist

longing

them.

to

In

be-

truly

1912 he

in

Halle to paint a series of city views. Like other examples from this

series, the

reflects not only an adoption of the Orphist colour

but an

Brucke,

b.

1871

in

d.

1956

in

"First

New
New

York,

Paris,

by

way

Berlin,

in

and the following year exhibited

York

German Autumn

Heckel

especially

and Schmidt-Rottluff,

with
Salon".

He

the

Blauer

arrived at his typical style in

of a confrontation with Cubism. With

translated his favourite motifs

seascapes, sailing ships -

into

Reiter

- Gothic church

its

the

in
1

in

aid Feininger

spires, cityscapes,

compositions of crystalline purity and

timelessness that anticipated the Expressionist architectural fantasies


of the

Glass Chain (see

p.

22). This

is

the context

in

which

his

wood-

cut for the founding manifesto of the Bauhaus, Cathedral of Socialism,

belongs

like,

elongated human figures which were subsequently abandoned.

Until

(fig.

9 9
1

to

of his pictures

were populated by marionette-

Feininger employed an exaggerated perspective to engender a pictorial

tectonics consisting of a synthesis of cubic, prismatically refracted,


units. His early Promenades were probably known to
who may well have adapted them in his Potsdamer Platz
57). On the other hand, Feininger paid homage to Kirchner's

energy-charged
Kirchner,
(ill.

p.

paintings of Berlin cocottes

As Market Church

in

in

his Birds

of the Night,

921

Halle shows, by this time Feininger's

facetting had achieved a rigorous tectonics


ity.

925,

later in

constructive principle

As a

Reiter.

Klee

in

result,

924

to

Dessau

was

to

Between 1929 and 1931, on the

and

intrinsic

invitation of

Alois W. Schardt, the artist spent several periods of

monumental-

museum
months

director

at

a time

of colour that

system

Delaunay

of

Constructivism, which

international

first

in

paralleled

Weimar from

932. At the Bauhaus, the

allied with

Expressionist ideals a

rational,

Blauer

la

Feininger joined with Jawlensky, Kandinsky and

form a successor to the Munich group, The Blue Four.

Feininger has depicted the Market Church

tage point that relegates

its

Halle from a van-

in

and

characteristic spired facade

flying

buttresses to the background, and brings the massive late-Gothic

nave diagonally

into the

foreground and to the

left

edge,

glomerate of vectors and dynamic prisms. The complex

subdued translucent colours

of luminous

reduced structure shot through with


fractions

and

clarity,

lines,

is

like

a con-

rendered

in

forming a Cubistically

rays and facets.

vibrations, interpenetrations, overlappings

In

the re-

and mirror-

ings of forms, the synaesthesia of painting, architecture and music

has achieved an overwhelming polyphonic


space. "Where

the

artist,

used

to strive for

who emigrated

effect, as of light-pervaded

movement and

to the U.S.

in

even the surrounding


reality."

air.

restlessness," said

1936, of such pictures,

attempt to sense and express the complete

25).

1913 many

with

affinity

Feininger's teaching activity at the Bauhaus,

maintained friendly relations with


the

Munich painting has a subtle transparency

total

'The world' that has

"I

now

calm of objects, and

moved

farthest from

41

GEORGE GROSZ

1917-18

Dedicated to oskar panizza


Oil

on

canvas, 140

x 110 cm

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Even more than

turned his art to

although not

in

he joined

the sense of supline,

1918. During

in

1959

In

and soon those of the

months

well.

Like every

Germany who

developments

become

was soon added.

One

of Grosz's

for

war

In

in art.

service, but by

unfit for duty.


military, to

These

which a

January 1917 he was

most

striking

the motifs but

in

is

milling

crowd

p.

faces, everyone

In

have

lost

all

He

also pointed out

its

completely engulfed

is

around

perched, not only

is

highly decorated old

is

a modern

mills, their

in

It

recalls the

the sets of Expresstreet

who

is filled

intersect

with a

and over-

sense

of direction.

Dance

The neon

sign over the build-

"DANCING TONIGHT",

of Death.

faces reflecting alcohol,

protest against a humanity that had


In his later

realism of

As Grosz himself

Neue

syphilis,

gone

says

it

all

explained,

"In

plague

work Grosz proceeded from Dadaism

that a "humanity

to the

sober

critical

impact.

gone insane" soon caught up

So

with

933 Grosz became one of the first victims of Nazi persecuarts. He emigrated to the United States, where he received

American citizenship
Berlin,

painted this

Sachlichkeit and a sociocritical Verism, jettisoning Ex-

was no accident
1

...

insane."

pressionist formulae but retaining their satirical and

the

is

instinct.

strange street by night, a hellish procession of dehumanized figures

in

The seemingly endless

to

demonstrates the herd

him -

theme

the tumult of pushing, jostling people with masklike

seems

this

it

the incandescent reds of the palette and the vio-

21).

left,

tion in

of Cubistically simplified figures

one another.

42

joint for him.

infused with a compelling dynamism.

sionist films (see

church

milling

sword as a moon-faced clergyman pathet-

ing entrance next to the coffin,

Dedicated

this

vertiginous spaces and toppling housefronts

lap

The last-named

energies that stream through the composition. Even the solid

architecture

the

of the painting inheres not only

works on

in

lent

city.

a world gone out of

Oskar Panizza. The aggressiveness

tiny

by nightclubs and bars and office buildings.

to a mental hospital. During the

to

an urban jungle where a

in

mob

holds the cross on high and a sheep-faced office employee, on

shows, crime and murder, war and the big

would become a synonym

source,

which ended

similarly "political" funeral

But Grosz's wildly gesticulating

ically

war years Grosz concerned himself with the subjects of circus and
variety

fight.

attacks on Church and State

himself with the avant-garde,

reinducted, but only a day later he had to be sent to an infirmary, and a

few weeks afterwards was admitted

a bloody

satirical

short time earlier, the Italian Futurist Carlo Carra

(1881-1966) had depicted a


in

in-

officer brandishes his

war and the

fuelled Grosz's hatred of

disgust with war profiteers

scene was

army

hesistantly registered for

the time six months had passed, he had


six

and physician whose

writer

ist

appealed to Grosz.

big-city

Oskar Panizza (1853-1921), an Expression-

to

al-

artist in

familiar with progressive international

November 1914 he

between Dadaism and Expressionism. This

served him as an excuse to evoke urban chaos.

lied

Grosz was

line

tended as a homage

the activities of the Brucke with

young

in Berlin

his

Academy

form an overwrought boiling human mass that occupies the border-

the coffin on which a schnapps-drinking Death

Blauer Reiter as
in Berlin, d.

whom

to

from 1909 onwards, he followed

interest,

1893

including

Communists,

studies at the Dresden

b.

ends -

political

port for any party


that of the

Grosz mixes Futurism and Cubism with a shot of James Ensor

his future

Otto Dix, George Grosz

friend,

in

938. After the war Grosz planned

and died there during a

visit in

959.

to return to

43

ERICH HECKEL

1910

pechstein Asleep
Oil

on

x 74 cm
Buchheim Museum

canvas, 110

Bernried,

Erich Heckel

strongly

to

melancholy

Brucke

tended more

and

sentimentality

artist. In

view of the

dominated

that

idyllic

fallen

Dresden

to

come

b.

1883

in

Hemmenhofen

in

Dobeln (Saxony),

d.

1970

(Lake Constance)

paintings and prints

his

1911

in

the

pavements of

work,

his

move

group's

hectic

the

from
big-city

And as

if

gird-

asleep

small

1910

Dresden.

Now the

previous

Italian

motifs

after

that

planes suffused with

journey

and the palette shifted from powerful

to subtle, earthy tones. Tragic figures

full

of

unsullied natural

in

of a
I

ings,

ism,

of the

of his early period, the present painting of

canvas

this

is

Max

associated with the

modern connoisseur.

prints at

house dedicated

an early date.

principally to

which after 1945, when the

art

with abstraction, again threatened to

In

1951 he founded a pub-

promoting German Expressionbusiness concerned


fall

into discredit. In

itself
1

solely

956 Buch-

heim published a standard work on the Brucke, followed two years


later

by a book on the Blauer Reiter.

It

was

also he

who

rediscovered

Heckel's portrait of Pechstein.

At an auction Buchheim acquired a not particularly exciting

Heckel painting

of

1920-21

that depicted rather

wooden-looking

light.

after the

is

rendered

in

ex-

power and grandeur. On an

1909 Heckel had been confronted with the monu(c. 1267-1337) and the Trecento, as well as

in

with the iconic dignity of Etruscan sculpture, and these

art,

his work. In his

left their

Pechstein portrait Heckel also avoided the

of colour that

had previously dominated much

of

now became

un-

Brucke

means, a tectonic composition, and

expression continued to play a key

mark

wild,

despite the intense red that determines the overall effect.

eral disciplining of painterly

genstrik-

Heckel's prime aims. Emotional

role,

but combined with well-con-

sidered, rationally controlled form. Heckel also addressed the problem


of spatial

depth

in this

period,

and attempted

geometric reduction and overlapping

othar-Gunther Buchheim began to collect Expressionist paint-

drawings and

lishing

one

in

mental rigour of Giotto

ing figurative formulae

short time before the move, Heckel produced

intrinsic

Dangast

the following storm-and-

his

surroundings.

name

in

pansive

woodcuts are among the best that Expres-

Pechstein asleep. The history of

came back to

impressions, he held fast to

date. Yet the tenor of Heckel's

in

no longer as furious as immediately

new

flat

held at Galerie Arnold,

stress period, to 1909. Instead, the frontal figure

melancholy supplanted carefree people depicted

works

finally

in

They knew only the

which was reproduced

show

founding year of the Brucke, 1905, and

tamed orgies

beautiful

is

lost.

ing himself against the rush of

heavier, the contours harsher,

most

this composition,

sensational picture

The brushwork

portrait of his artist friend,

which he had finished

the catalogue of the Brucke

in

on

chair,

woodcut based on

sionism ever produced - nonetheless altered. The brushstrokes grew

complementary colours

a long

in

and which the experts had long considered

must have

Berlin

as a shock.

canvas must contain a masterpiece of Expressionism, concealed

under a thick layer of white paint - Heckel's

landscapes and human images

he knew the back of the

to earlier research,

other

any

than

nudes on a beach. Thanks

to solve

pictorial planes.

it

by

means

of

45

ERICH HECKEL

1913

Glass Day
Oil on canvas, 120 x 96 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne - Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst

1910 and 1911, when Heckel spent

In

summer months

relaxing

and productive

Lakes

with Kirchner and Pechstein at the Moritzburg

outside Dresden, pictures of bathers, usually female nudes done on

a few years

The

fields of saturated colour

were bounded by black contours,

mood

the figures simplified and cursorily reduced, the prevailing

care-

this

"The Glass Chain" (see

When war
ical

corps and

broke out

was

With the aid of

art historian

painting despite his duties.

man and

old Europe,

Not so much

period.

and
in

that characterized

life,

Brucke

terms of formal approach as

in

art at that

terms of

this

fundamental mood, such Expressionist compositions can be compared to Paul Cezanne's Bathers, since these,

too,

aimed

at giving

form to a vision of an earthly paradise of balance and harmony. The

Cezanne

great

Cassirer

exhibition held

Berlin

in

in

November 1909

at Galerie

gave the Brucke painters an opportunity

Paul

to thor-

oughly study his painting.

female nude

approach

ence

in

insights.

Although the

the subsequent works changed decisively under the influ-

Cubism and Futurism, but

of

new

the studio or outdoors remained his central theme, his

in

especially after a confrontation with

the art of Robert Delaunay. Heckel's theoretical involvement with the

Frenchman's work was prompted by Macke, Marc and Feininger,

whom

visited

Heckel

summing-up

ful

The
but

Berlin

in

1912. The Glass Day was

his

all

of

master-

of this innovative experience.

painting

thinned

in

in

oils.

is

no longer executed

in

the earlier heavy impasto

Heckel's formerly decorative curving

line is

sup-

planted by angular strokes and facetting which transform the motif of


a

nude

figure bathing

urations.
trate

in

a bay into a play of interlocking crystalline

The all-pervading

lucid blue of

even the woman's body

line in

in

the foreground and the steep coastbrilliant light,

robs things of material mass; the colour range conveys an


glassy, quasi spiritualized effect

talline

46

like

fig-

water and sky seems to pene-

the background. The pictorial space, suffused with

which, by the way,

Heckel placed

icy,

frozen,

- as already indicated by the

the composition

itself,

title,

anticipated the crys-

fantasies of an Expressionist architects' group that would form

22).

Perhaps
in

it

is

no coin-

1913, after

in

1914, Heckel volunteered for the medOstend, where he met

Max Beckmann.

Walter Kaesbach he was able to continue


In

his

view of the ensuing self-destruction of

hopes

in

a league of like-minded

intel-

and grew increasingly intrigued by the circle


around the poet Stefan George (1868-1933) - who however deslectuals

and

artists,

pised Heckel's Expressionism. This did not prevent the painter from

making George the key figure

war and

built

in

murals executed

in

922-23

at the

where Kaesbach had become director after the


up a collection of contemporary art - Feininger, Heckel,

Angermuseum,

Erfurt,

other Expressionists, and

For Heckel, the year 1911 brought

in

stationed

free and reflecting that Romantic yearning for a harmonious unity of


nature, art

p.

major work of Heckel's was executed

the Brucke had dissolved.

the spot, were a predominant subject for him as for the other Brucke
artists.

later,

cidence that

Bauhaus

artists. In

Heckel's fresco with

its

predominantly male nudes, the earthly paradise of earlier summers

shimmers through.

In

the elongated figures against a background of

forbidding Alpine glaciers, despite the


its

new

classicism which has shed

erstwhile Expressionist formal vocabulary, a spiritualization remin-

iscent of Glass

Day remains much

in

evidence.

47

ALEXEI VON JAWLENSKY

1909

the Dancer
Alexander sacharoff
portrait of
on cardboard, 69.5 x 66.5 cm

Oil

Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

1896 Jawlensky came

In

friend of Werefkin

Sarah Bernhardt impressed him so deeply that he decided to become


a dancer.

first

the

artist

re-

the

earthy

palette

he

at the

Peters-

St.

Torzhok (near Tver),

d.

1941

in

Wiesbaden

art

920s and

had

finally

my

with

make-up and costume,

off

this

The

catalyst

Russ-

he soon shook
approach.

naturalistic

was a confrontation

with van Gogh,

modern French

self-confidently

that after a stay on the Breton coast near Carantec, he

managed

"to translate

nature into colours

radiant soul." Ecstatic emotion

artist,

tinually

and above
in

who,

like

pursued the

The

Kandinsky,

intrinsic

was

in

conformance

conveyed through

colour,

following years brought


all

collaborative

esoterically interested

essence and harmony

numerous

and con-

Munich and - from 1912 -

international contacts,

in

in

the

New

Artists Association

in

the Blauer Reiter. Apart from land-

scapes, representations of heads began to play a prime role

in

Jawlensky's oeuvre.

1907 he began

The

way on the

resulting paintings

convey

the impression that the colours have been veritably stretched across

the surface. They are contoured


the figures and set them

in

in

heavy black

vibrant motion, as

in

lines that both define

the superb Portrait of

Dancer Alexander Sacharoff. Sacharoff (1886-1963), a close

48

all

Above

five

later

all in

the

continents brought him world

figure

portrait (from the collection of

when

the dancer,

in

him shortly before a performance. And

said to have taken the still-wet picture with him, fearing

is

it

over.

and the made-up face,

The sweepingly rendered area of the


androgynous - possibly

lasciviously

Sacharoff was playing a female role - are dominated by the aggres-

echoed

in

costume and mouth, and the black contours

The greenish shadows

the brushstrokes that set the background

staccato that

seems

to reflect the physical

Jawlensky would
ty

wig).

later

and expressive mysticism achieved here

stracted faces,
less

in

naturalistic,

in

an enigmatic
sitter.

of formal sensibili-

soul.

The colours be-

the pictorial structure ever

geometric. The transcendental presence of Byzantine icons


to

have been reborn

outbreak of the

First

Germany. They went

in

of figure

the face are

to create increasingly ab-

a sort of stenography of the

and less

in

energy of the

employ the synthesis

more

seemed

a configuration derived from Cubism. After the

World War, Werefkin and Jawlensky had to leave


to Switzerland.

Cuno Amiet, a former member

of

the Briicke, went back to the couple's abandoned apartment and

saved the most valuable objects of


to concentrate in a very original

effects of colours on a plane surface.

the

Sacharoff

came

of things.

where he would

at a single sitting,

visited

that the artist might paint

and

work with Werefkin, Munter and Kandinsky

Murnau, followed by participation

In

von Derp-Sacharoff)

and coiffure (probably a

1905 Jawlensky

theatre performance by

to Munich,

Reputedly Jawlensky painted the

Kees van Dongen.

In

1904.

fame.

dominating personality

the ordering force of planar composition, remained the key concerns


of this

930s, tours through

sive red of the

artist

announced

Clotilde

in

to

1904 Sacharoff moved

In

the Nabis, later the Fauves - and subsequently with the

initially

Dutch

Paris from

Academy under llya Repin


844-1
(1
930), who was then the
ian painting. Yet

in

in

contribute to the development of eurhythmic dancing.

burg

1864

Academie des

Munich, where they met and be-

had learned

b.

pupil at the

friended Kandinsky. At

tained

A^f^

1903

Beaux-Arts

already accomplished

and Jawlensky's, was a

with Marianne von Werefkin to

painting.

art there, including

a van

Gogh

49

WASSILY KANDINSKY

Ludwig's church

st.
Oil

1908

on cardboard,

67.3

x 96

Munich

in

cm

Madrid, Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, on loan to Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

The

focuses on the

artist

streetside arcades

in

the lower

facade of St Ludwig's, the MuUniversity

nich

which

church,

located

is

in

the erst-

neighborhood" of

"artists'

where

Kandinsky

apartment

studio

September

in

1908. Outside the

church portal a crowd of people


1944

d.

in

or participants

abstracted to glowing dots of colour. The

middle arch and the group of priests

some

kind

is

brilliant

a procession,

in

banner under the

yellow copes suggests that a

in

going on.

The way Kandinsky brings the short strokes and

in

an interplay of

light

and dark,

tiny configur-

composed

recalls the folkloristic motifs of the

which he depicted

his

Russian homeland under

the influence of French Post-Impressionism and Pointillism

and 1907.

It

was no coincidence

Spiritual in Art,

essay,

that

Kandinsky referred

in

his

(1863-1935)

to Paul Signac's

whose works Kandinsky had

in

Phalanx group, to which he belonged from 1901

deep and

lasting

the saturated

inspiration

50

1904,

colour

Kandinsky derived

from the Fauves, especially Matisse, during a study

906-07.

in

1905. The

Ludwig's both a flickering atmosphere and

a highly abstract decorativeness. This, with

to

contrasted with deep shadows underneath the arches

tones, reflects the

It

began

later recalled,

840-1 926)

He

paintings of

when he

realized,

"Suddenly

saw a

painting for the

found embarrassing.

painter had no right, Kandinsky believed at the

time, "to paint so unclearly."

missing

in

this picture." Yet

He had
still

the sense that "the object

passed

all

my dreams.

Years

later, in

Munter settled again

1908, when Kandinsky and

trip to

Paris

in

me and

power and

Painting took on a fabulous

in

was

he was struck by the "unsuspected

force of the palette, which had previously been hidden to

ian

first time."

admitted to not being able to visually identify the motif, which he

sur-

glory."

his partner Gabriele

Munich and began exploring the Upper Bavar-

landscape around Murnau with Jawlensky and Marianne von

Werefkin, and

when

they

all

joined forces

in

1909

Kandinsky arrived

found the

to

at

New

an approach his

friends called "a synthesis" - a reduction of subject matter to

flat,

coloured forms, rhythmically arranged and anchored by solid contours,

which enabled great detachment from natural appearances and


subjective distortion.

From

this

tion in

191

1.

their

point of departure, Kandinsky then

Blauer Reiter group, which separated from the

the tenth exhibition,

St.

(1

took his next, revolutionary step to abstraction,

already given a place of prominence

lends the picture of

one of Monet's

1906

in

D'Eugene Delacroix au neo-impressionisme, the most import-

brilliant light

front of

1911 book, On the

ant theoretical statement of that group,

of the

in

Artists Association of Munich,

ations of glittering, gemlike colour into a dazzling texture,

"fairy-tale pictures" in

eye-opening experience. As Kandinsky

he was standing

probably the congregation

mills,

Neuilly-sur-Seine (near Paris)

Catholic celebration of

Munich represent the mid-

colour,

rented

Moscow,

in

and decisive phase of development.

century. St. Ludwig's

Schwabing,

in

literally

first

Haystacks, Impressionist renderings dissolved into strokes of pure

while

1866

with a

Ludwig's Church

St.

dates from the early nineteenth

near Ainmillerstrasse

b.

Pictures like

point of Kandinsky's

in

the context of the

New

Artists Associa-

51

WASSILY KANDINSKY

1914

Klamm

improvisation
Oil

on

canvas, 110

x 110

cm

Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

In

the Blauer Reiter years, from 1911 to 1914, Kandinsky un-

pursued the path

erringly

most

tically

phase of

exciting

was perhaps the

to abstraction. This
his career,

when

conveyed an impression of "external

(which, he said,

Impressions

his

in

artis-

nature"), Improvi-

sations (impressions of "inner nature") and Compositions, he retained

modicum

sic effect.

As Kandinsky
words,

ture, in other

of

forms and colours with

of figuration while charging

himself explained

more

1914,

in

same

the

"In

intrin-

pic-

or less dissolved the objects, so that not

them could be recognized

at once,

and so that these

all

spiritual over-

tones could be gradually experienced by the viewer, one after the


other.

own

And here and

accord, forms,

there even purely abstract forms


in

came

in

berate

was

Improvisation Klamm, too, the meanings of objects

like

an undertone

in

Instead,

moods

right,

to a valley
3,

known

1914.

ing the

whole a

of paint

were

jectivity

and

In

sky's

in

left,

In

a waterfall. Between these runs a

August Macke

of the

it,

apparently

did.

It

has

makes anything

most diverse kind

jar

let

Bavarian cos-

in

that

justifiably

but an

Kandinsky

alone invoked an

been pointed

idyllic

impression.

against one another, lend-

turbulent, conflicting character

- as

if

the maelstroms

the process of swallowing up the last remnants of ob-

figuration.

keeping with the symbolic language that dominated Kandin-

work

of these years, the suggestion of

man" appears

in

an "apocalyptic horse-

the left-hand section of the picture.

frequent fea-

ture of his compositions, this figure stood for the battle against the

dragon

of

worldliness, the avant-garde's battle against

convention, of the spiritual against the superficiality of

52

dawned, he was convinced, an age

hidebound

modern socie-

in

Madame

Blatavsky, which

to mysticism.

A new age

had

which positivism and material-

ism would be overcome, to be replaced by the

actually an old ideal which had already

new

ideal of spirituality

been pursued by German

Romantics such as Friedrich and Runge. Kandinsky now set out

to

convey symbolic meanings not only through motifs but through pure
lines

and colours,

their contrasts

and harmonies,

their "musiciality"

and

synaesthetic effects.

Seen against
like

a paradise

tles

and incursions

lost

this

background, Improvisation

many and
key

Klamm

into

uncharted

territory that characterized

dangers that loomed

after completing this

in

role in the

work Kandinsky

left

Ger-

assumed a

development not only of an avant-garde but a

art.

Kandin-

the real world.

returned by devious paths to Russia, where he

revolutionary

looks less

than an attempt to continue those aesthetic bat-

weeks

has simply depicted a country excursion here,

out that the ambience here

tendency

For just four

Munter

one by no means has the impression

earthly paradise, as

his already strong

the largely abstract structure. The painting

footbridge with a couple standing on


yet

augmented

period, despite the

as Hollentalklamm, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, on July

And

Kandinsky was greatly influenced by the anthroposo-

sky's Munich

still

the upper area one can detect ladders and ropes, at the lower

tume.

this point

rever-

inspired by an excursion with Gabriele

rowboat, and at the lower

On

phy of Rudolf Steiner and the theosophy of

of their

other words, that had to have a purely painterly

effect."
In

ty.

veritably

53

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER

1910

Artiste (Marcella)
Oil

on

Berlin,

x 76 cm

canvas, 100

Briicke-Museum

criticized

Max

Beckmann, was never able

to es-

Kirchner,

cape the influence


something

of French

Kirchner

himself

loudly denied throughout his

was

he

Yet

time.

art,

life-

already

in-

trigued with Post-Impressionism

while

still

ture

^^H

neering

H
d.

1880
1938

Brucke

Aschaf fen burg,

in

Frauenkirch (near Davos)

in

Dresden.

in

adapt them to

to

They taught him never

his

into

one

artists,

above

brilliant, flat

own approach

to entirely lose

of the

to

in

Gogh

Henri Ma-

view of

this

colour-fields

and

result, Kirchner's art

most tension-charged

involvement,

it

becomes

should have been primarily interested

aspects of Matisse's
tation of the

Brucke

art. In

in

of any twentieth-

clear

why Kirchner

the aesthetic, decorative

the midst of the formal turbulence and agi-

repertoire, of

which he was a pioneer, Kirchner

nevertheless continually concentrated on a stylization of the planar


composition, a rational reduction and clarification of visual vocabulary

beyond

all

sheer expressiveness, as seen

From

early

1910, two adolescent

reportedly the daughters of an artiste's

in

Artiste (Marcella).

sisters,

them. The present

portrait,

year-old Marcella,

one

sumed

Marcella and Franzi,

widow who

neighbourhood, began to play an important part

lived in Kirchner's

in

like

had a more than platonic relationship with


which probably represents the fifteen-

of Kirchner's

most impressive

characterized by intrinsic monumentality and

ludicity.

paintings.

The

girl

It

is

has as-

a relaxed pose, one leg drawn up, her head resting on her right

hand. The sence

is

pervaded by a relaxed, introverted mood that

derscored by the cat asleep

in

is

un-

the foreground. The apparently so sim-

ple effect of the painting should not deceive us as to the refinement


of the composition

and

its

skilled disposition of planes.

arranged on a diagonal, leading from the lower

left to

The motifs are

the upper

the lives of the

limited to

right.

a few intense

rhythm to the composition. The unusual, high vantage

which the figure


Kirchner's part.
tima,

it

is
It

seen diagonally from above, was a

brings the

shows her

turning

point,

brilliant

close to the viewer, yet at the

girl

away as

if

to

from

idea on

same

escape from any voyeuristic

gaze, puts visual and existential distance between model and viewer.

untiring experiments.

century European painter.


In

likely

the nude out-

in

the painters' favourite models, and

hues including a dominant green, and closed contours lend a graceful

conscious formal control under

As a

others before them,

is

pose

to their willingness to

became

form Die

the Fauves, or
all

Thanks

Smooth, homogeneously opaque colour areas,

Berlin devoted an exciting retro-

the pressure of spontaneous expression.

developed

1908-09

four. In

spective. Kirchner marvelled at Matisse's

began

engi-

artists.

Schmidt-

agitated brushwork of van

young German

Galerie Cassirer

Bleyl,

and Heckel

Rottluff

was the

it

deep impression on the

whom

his

in

he became a

degree,

1905, joined

7,

Now

"savages", electrified the


tisse, to

briefly

convert to painting and, on June

in

that left a

Dresden, and

in

Munich. After taking

j
b.

a student of architec-

Brucke

doors, the two girls

In

1925

in

Switzerland - where the mentally and physically

shaken Kirchner had


the war - he

a farm near Davos

retired to

was confronted by

terful

exercises

make

his

in

original

in

the last year of

works by Picasso. Their mas-

Cubist facetting tempted Kirchner for a time to

own attempts

at rational pictorial composition.

Kirchner's oeuvre as a whole

came

As a

result,

to represent both poles of the Ex-

pressionist potential: an emotionally-charged, gestural art

in

ened colourism and a taming

conscious

control over pictorial

means.

of the expressive through

height-

55

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER

1914

potsdamer
Oil

on canvas, 200 x 150 cm


Museen zu Berlin -

Berlin, Staatliche

In

moloch of the big


plunged

city

Germany had

into the

became one

symphony -

appeared on the scene

into

a dynamic staccato of

scenes with

prostitutes,

too, loved the city

traffic,

was the

National

Potsdamer

city's

Platz, to

in

translating

them

decked out as

in

if

tight corsets.

regular excursions from his

tion. In

as an
in

illustrious icon of

German

celebrated

justly

big-city Expressionism.

the background are the red brick walls of

Potsdam Sta-

as police regulations demanded. Behind them hover black-

suited men,

anonymous, faceless. The

shape echoed by the

pavement,

triangle of the

striding legs of the

male

figures,

is

lance between the converging streets towards the round

where the female


stage.

figures present themselves as

The combination

of forms, round

sexual connotations. The street

is

flowing the banks

An
16,

in

a cold

between pavement and

earlier opinion of this picture

1916, Franz Servaes wrote

56

if

drunk."

The

on a revolving

was
in

light

fact that

one

on wet asphalt, over-

traffic island,

inundating

less favourable.

On

it."

Febru-

the Vossische Zeitung that

human

doing ridiculous hopping movements

that totters as

traffic island,

and pointed, possesses clear

Kirchner "presents true monstrosities of


limbs,

if

its

thrust like

suffused by a noxious green, which,

as Roland Marz has said, "fans out

ary

in

the foreground stand two streetwalkers of different ages, both

"ladylike",

1,

and from then

soldiers'

widows on

In

on, prostitutes
Berlin's streets

in

of the

was

1915 Kirchner volunteered

for military service. After only

months he was temporarily discharged, on condition


psychiatric treatment.

a "bloody

carnival",

not finished

were officially required to dress as


- strangely patriotic whores!

By

this

to paint. Blurred, then

two

that he enter

time Kirchner had begun to view war as

and wrote, "Now one

is

just like the cocottes

gone the next moment

..."

In

used

1917, after at-

before settling

in

a farmhouse near Davos.

figures with distorted

a surrounding space

women

in

Potsdamer

In

Switzerland, his art

developed from renderings of the forbidding Alpine realm


mental Expressionist idiom to experiments
Picasso.

In

in

He

felt

in

a monu-

Cubist form inspired by

937, thirty-two Kirchner works hung

"Entartete Kunst", or Degenerate Art.

The monumental canvas Potsdamer Platz is


Gleaming

I,

indicates that the picture

Kirchner tried to escape them by going to a series of sanatoriums

and

nearby studio.

art history

War

veil

1914. That day marked the outbreak of World

the ruffled feathers

best-known streetwalkers' haunt) and around

made

August

tempting to quell attacks of panic with alcohol, morphine and tablets,

bevies along Friedrichstrasse (whose Cafe

which Kirchner

wears a widow's

until after

his

populated

visual levels. Kirchner

of birds of prey, bizarre hats, bright feather boas,

Such cocottes prowled

first

a simultaneity of various impressions

lines,

and events, and interpenetrating


street

and rushing

life,

Platz

to terms,

Futurism, which had

Italian

1909. The Futurists,

in

streets, their garish electric lights

of urban

came

which he

in

Now the

themes. Kirchner,

cacophony -

or rather,

other influences, with that of

to Berlin, the

to offer at that period.

of their cardinal

with an unprecedented creative furore

among

Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie

1911 the Brucke painters moved from Dresden

only true metropolis that

too,

platz

in

the Nazi exhibition

himself completely mis-

understood, as he had always looked upon himself as a quintessentially

June

German
1

5,

artist.

Kirchner relapsed into profound depression.

938, he put a

pistol to his

chest and pulled the

trigger.

On

57

PAUL KLEE

1915

Foehn wind

Marc's

in

Garden, 1915,102
Watercolour on paper, 20 x 15

cm

Munich, Stddtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

The Swiss
is

one

personalities

one of

also

artist

Paul Klee

most outstanding

of the

modern

in

and

art

greatest individu-

its

twentieth-century

in

watercolours,
paratively few)
little

form and content

common

motifs of the pe-

Klee's

riod.

1879

in

Munchenbuchsee

(near Bern), d. 1940

in

stylistic

ence goes hand

Muralto

(near Locarno)

world-renowned

many

lone figures

Due

who

to this creative

briefly

pressionism without being a

added

member

in

independ-

art

autonomy he

an enigmatic
is

one

of the

their voices to the choir of

of the

ensemble

or,

his

Ex-

indeed, even

adhering to the score of the performance.

was

Nevertheless, Klee

nection with the Blauer Reiter.

and other

artists of

was

his

the Expressionist vanguard

his breakthrough. His invitation to the


1

2, to

by his brief con-

acquaintance with Kandinsky


in

Munich that brought

Blauer Reiter exhibition of

May

which he submitted seventeen drawings, actually marked the

he adds,

ill,

seriously than

all

art

"All

of this

museums

matter of reforming contemporary

must

in truth

be taken

when

put together

is

it

art."

Klee's final breakthrough to the "magic of colour" and stylistic

maturity resulted from impressions gleaned on a

taken
(

1914

in

880-

with

August Macke and the sculptor Louis

962). This journey and

absolute apex

in

its artistic

the history of modern

yield

art.

under-

trip to Tunis,

became

Moilliet

legendary, an

Over the following years

the light-flooded watercolours of this period were paralleled by


creasingly

strict,

crystalline abstractions,

encouraged by Klee's

in-

friend

Franz Marc.
This
longs,

is

the context

one of the most

ter period.

It

in

which Foehn Wind

July 1915,

in

the front. The motif, rendered


"musical"

in

is

in

Marc's Garden be-

beautiful watercolours from Klee's Blauer Rei-

was done on the occasion

Benediktbeuren,

see the

lastingly influenced
It

much more

hand with a

assurance that lends

brilliant

but irresistible charm.

paintings bear

relation in

to the

b.

oil

His

art.

and (com-

prints

the nursery (don't laugh, reader)." After a reference to the

in

drawings of the mentally

His oeuvre does not con-

alists.

form to any of the many directions

home,

at

the only word for

in
it,

of a

visit

to

Marc

when Marc was on a

the midst of dark

firs,

is

abstracted yet

still

and a mountain silhouette

shapes that

metrical

is

interlock

Ried, near

from

an interplay of colours so subtle that

in

We

recognizable.

wall of a freestanding house, the red roof of a

Yet ultimately the landscape

in

brief leave

garden house

the background.

reduced to a pattern of Cubistic geo-

and

partially

overlap each other.

watercolour also represents Klee's reaction to his reading,

in

The

1912, of

Wilhelm Worringer's book Abstraction and Empathy, published

in

beginning of Klee's international career. Prior to that point, between

1908. From that point on Klee strove to take an "elevated vantage

903 and 905, still living in Bern, he had been active as a draughtsman and etcher of allegorical, grotesque subjects in the wake of Sym-

point"

from which he would be able to integrate the

world"

in

bolism, formally
(

877-

and substantially related

959), with

oped a unique

whom

to the Austrian Alfred

he became friends

linear style

in

191

and oriented himself

Kubin

Klee, too, devel-

to the

ambiguity and

bizarreness of Romantic literature, such as that of E.T. A. Hoffmann.


early

1912 Klee -

like

his leaning to primitivism:


art,

of the kind

58

we

In

the majority of the Expressionists - confessed

"Because there are

tend rather to find

in

still

primal beginnings of

the ethnographic

museum

or

formed

into

a universal image. Although

with the visions of Expressionism, soon,


art

"horror-filled

a universal context - as here, where Marc's garden

would burgeon

into a universe in

its

this reflects points of


in

his

own

Bauhaus

right.

is

trans-

contact

period, Klee's

Aqif 40 iU
59

OSKAR KOKOSCHKA

1910

Herwarth walden

portrait of
on canvas, 100 x 69.3 cm

Oil

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Oskar Kokoschka began


his

career as a commercial

Wiener Werkstatte, the

tor the

renowned

crafts

workshop

enna, while he was


at the

artist

still

in

Vi-

a student

Vienna School of Decora-

tive Arts.

His painting

inated by Art

soon began

style,

Nouveau

to

show

Expressionism, such

dom-

well as a

d.

1886
1980

in

Pochlarn (Danube),

in

Villeneuve (Lake Geneva)

the young

artist's

and gouaches
mediately
Yet there

of

were

young nude

others, like

Between

thin oils, applied

penetration.

ical

features of
as

bizarre

girls

Gustav

like

The following

Klimt,

there

who recognized

emerged a

series of portraits

in

these portraits Kokoschka stripped the mask of

human image. The

facial features
in-

cised or scratched off with a brush handle or fine needle. These por-

full

of

accompanied by

similarly structured illustrations

and lithographs

nervous lineatures and physical distortions, amount to a laying

bare of the

sitter's soul.

Their intense Expressionist attack

bined with a refinement of brushwork that also

is commakes them master-

pieces of a highly cultivated aesthetic.

Kokoschka's Expressionism, as was


"covert

Baroque

fuses his

art,

traits".

and distinguishes

contemporaries. This

>,',

is

later often

noted, bears

Something ecstatic and visionary indeed

why

it

from that of most of

his portraits,

in

his

particular, are

suf-

Viennese

among

the

blurring

atmosphere

of the

Especially

in

fin

de

morbidity that

and

in

whose

Murderer,

over the faces of

traits.

whom

Even the half-figure porhe met

in

Berlin

Der Sturm, he immediately published

in

his

1910
drama

of Women, appears to reflect an overstrung mind,

hypersensitivity, or

perhaps merely restlessness. Although the


of the
to

appearances had been abandoned


tion of

lies

siecle.

Herwarth Walden,

journal,

Hope

in

the early portraits, Kokoschka's analytic eye fo-

cused on neurotic or even pathological


trayal of his patron

if

"X-ray eyes" and psychoanalytical

inward forces. As

in

in

main aims of

lie

if

facial

it

its

is

re-

actual

Walden, Kokoschka prepermitted him to under-

expressions with gestures of

the hands, which are usually disproportionately large. The space


picture, diffuse despite

reality

favour of a spontaneous evoca-

his portrait of

score the nervous tension of the

portraiture,

over the features, as

ferred the half-figure portrait type, since

his genius.

The nervous

a compelling analysis of the intellectu-

seems

appear furrowed, the complexion flecked with various hues and

traits,

al

to

tained, a veil of irrationality

watercolour washes, and agitated lines

centuries of convention from the

amount

the people depicted,

accompanied by drawings

scratched with the brush handle into the wet paint, which established
his early reputation. In

Kokoschka with having


acumen combined with a certain
credited

one

that touched off a scandal and im-

art.

subconscious mind - some have

sitter's

of the sitter's appearance,

the enfant terrible of the Vienna scene.

908 and 1912


almost

to psycholog-

of Expressionist

Vienna "Kunstschau",

year, at the

tapestry designs were

made Kokoschka

tendency

an attempt to plumb the

influence,

idiosyncrasies and distortions, as

b.

most compelling examples

of contours, the violent traces scratched into the paint surface, as

in

the

uniform tone, can be seen as an equivalent

to the sitter's state of mind.

61

OSKAR KOKOSCHKA

1913-14

The Tempest
on canvas, 181 x 220 cm
Kunstmuseum

Oil

Basel,

move

After his

to Berlin

1909 and

in

Herwarth

his activity for

Walden's journal, Der Sturm, Kokoschka gradually abandoned the thin


paint application

seen

in

Walden.

his portrait of

thicker colours, an impasto applied

the painting surface up into low

relief.

This

after

Mahler,

widow

of the

woman

precipitated

in

painting,

now

and stormy

1914,

in

Georg

lines:

"Over blackish

cliffs

spot: "The Night".

It

a key

to

tell

the

(1887-1914), an

come

to visit him

saw the yet-unfinished composition,

compose a poem on the

is

also the most fa-

is

Trakl

Austrian poet with Expressionist leanings, had

to

it

Kokoschka used

love.

following anecdote about the picture.

Trakl

it

his

in

inspired him

included the following

/ Plunges death-drunken /

The incandes-

cent bride of the wind." Trakl pointed at the picture with a pale hand,

Kokoschka went on

and

to relate,

"Bride of the Wind", but generally

German

In

titled

known

folklore the term

it

Die Windsbraut

the mercy of the Wild Hunter.

Mahler

An

Windsbraut connoted the Wild


girls

and put them

on a

shell-like

at

interpretation of this kind accords

Kokoschka's painting, which shows him and

drifting

(literally

English as The Tempest).

in

Hunt, a stormy whirlwind that abducted young

well with

his lover

Alma

wreck through a "universal ocean" -

confession of a love that was already threatening to descend into a


battle

between the sexes and founder on

it.

This

message

is

conveyed

by the contradictory attitudes of the two figures. Next to Alma,

has

fallen into a

deep and

empty space - a complicated

a universal

human
- as

parable.
if

in

The

62

relationship put

anticipation of Action Painting

flung out into an unreal

in

terms of

restless traces that plow through the

abbreviations for intense emotions.


ations

who

trusting sleep, lies a restless, brooding Oskar,

staring into

paint congeal

it

meant

The forms -

space are

into signs

and

or better, deform-

just as "overwrought" as the

ideal of

in

In

Alma

91

agitated.

lifelike doll

Kokoschka was
years.

with
in

4.

Mahler, from which

On

in

1919 he

shed

in

his paintings

despairing attempt to find a surrogate


light

on the overwrought nervous state

at the time. This

obsession was to pursue him for

received a professorship at the Dresden Art Acad-

Two years

later

he launched

These brought

relief

from

emy.

Kokoschka never

the outbreak of war he volunteered

The expressive impasto brushwork

for the cavalry.

muse

if

self-annihilation.

grew ever more

the Basel Kunstmuseum,

in

Kokoschka's oeuvre. Finished


to his great

a series of por-

in

prints.

All of this

typical Expressionist aim, to confront

Kraus termed bourgeois "sexual hypocrisy" with the

The break-up

work

When

Karl

an otherwise subdued colouration.

a liberated sexuality that would not hesitate to go to extremes even

recovered, occurred

and numerous other paintings, drawings and

studio.

what

in

do justice to a

to

Alma

Vienna, met

in

traits

mous witness

built

works together

composer Gustav Mahler. The ensuing passion-

ate relationship with this lovely

The present

employ

to

manner grew ever more

1912, when Kokoschka, back

marked

He began

energetic brushstrokes that

in

spotlighted passages

his

into his

superb series of cityscapes.

personal problems

- and from Expres-

sionism, which was now replaced by visual impressions conveyed


impressionistic terms.

in

63

WILHELM LEHMBRUCK

1915-16

The Fallen Man


Bronze, 78 x 239 x 83 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne - Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst

When we
wood

stand

before

sculptures carved by Ernst

Ludwig Kirchner

(fig.

6) or Karl

trouble

in

among

sionists approach

the disastrous period

of

their blocky

configuration,
it

was

re-

when many authors

models. Yet
Meiderich (near

Duisburg), d. 1919

man
ly

Berlin

in

Expressionism,

this

Lehmbruck

call

Wilhelm

most

significant sculptor of Ger-

the

faces the viewer of his so different and fine-

articulated figures with certain difficulties.

miner and

his wife.

Despite

difficult

of eight children of a

he became a master student

where he studied

for five years,

he moved with

In

he

the outbreak of war

lived until

his wife

in

able to at-

1899.

to

trips to Italy,

and

Holland

child to Paris,

of the Cubists,

where

some

of

into

whom

medical

a Berlin hospital. During the war years he produced only a

few sculptures, including The Fallen Man, 1916, which might be con-

who fell
8 and November 30 of

Langemarck

sidered a symbol of the generation

at

Between October

that year,

teers lost their

phoria

felt

lives,

by so

little

in

45,000 volun-

many

Expressionists.

figure with

its

almost Gothic silhouette has very

surface texture, and the facial features are not pronouru od.

remains

is

drama

1914.

a slaughter that put an abrupt end to the war eu-

The elongated

of expression.

Due

acquaintances and

The man,
ished yet.

and

still

What

to the existential experiences of

in

He

Amedeo

Matisse,

(1861-1944), Alexander

Maillol

inspirers,

formulated his protest against

terms of a symbolic, melancholy, introverted

fallen, despairing,

all

fours. Yet

he

view of the original

In

between

recalls a bridge

title,

Dying Warrior, the

life

and death - a moving

war memorials. The

interior

space, and

figure's

reply to

all

con-

elongated slender limbs

embody Lehmbruck's

credo, "Sculpture

the essence of things, the essence of nature, that which

ally

not fin-

is

figure with torso extended horizontally over the long base

ventionally heroic

is

crawls on

supports himself on knees, lower arms and head,

still

grips his sword.

weakened

is

perpetu-

human."
Kirchner and Lehmbruck

In

Dusseldorf Academy,

1915 Lehmbruck was conscripted

his friends. In

service

1895

1914, remaining largely uninflu-

in

enced by the formal breakthroughs

were

at the

punctuated by

and England.

was

circumstances, he

tend the Dusseldorf School of Decorative Art from

1901

his

enclose an

Lehmbruck was born near Duisburg, one

dissertation Abstrac-

formal language.

inspired

by exotic or medieval European

1908

his

Archipenko (1887-1964) and Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)

seeing a fundamentally Expresin

in

and Empathy. Lehmbruck, who counted Henri

Modigliani, the sculptors Aristide

we have no

of the Expressionists, lost their

the "exalted man" of the type Nietzsche had described and

Wilhelm Worringer had advocated

tures of Kathe Kollwitz or Ernst

gardless whether

in

and most

artists,

tion

angularity

1880

faith in

many

Schmidt-Rottluff, view the sculp-

Barlach,

b.

the Great War,

latest

tacts

and

lived not far

were apparently not

painter

knew each

from each other


close, there

knew and appreciated

in
is

originals by

other from

1912

Though

Berlin.

at the

their

con-

evidence that the Brucke

Lehmbruck. So beyond a

general Expressionist philosophy, the two probably shared interests,

such as dance, which played an eminently important role


artists' stylization

process. Such

similarities led to parallels

in

in

both

their in-

tentions and approaches for a brief period.

Lehmbruck was discharged from the army


a hearing impairment.
depression, and

in

In

9 7 he began
1

9 9 he put an end
1

to suffer

to his

life.

in

1916 because

of

from bouts of deep

65

AUGUST MACKE

1913

Lady
Oil

on

cm

44 x 43.5

canvas,

Cologne,

a Green jacket

in

Museum Ludwig

August Macke, one

most

of

artists

German

regarded

highly

classical

of the

modernism,

was a wanderer between two


worlds. Although his
evitably

topic

d.

Meschede

in

Perthes-les-Murlus

(Sauerland),

(Champagne)

comes

Expressionism

excess was not

In

was

primitivism

the

of

loved,

the

kind

nor the

was

stroll

Macke

- and above

approach

all,

to

nature,

Macke's

he was befriended from

New

And although

Artists Association of

Blauer Reiter Almanach


in

in

191

he

1,

by Kandinsky, or even by

Schoenberg. This may explain why after moving to Bonn

in

1911,

he never trod the path to abstraction, apart from a few experiments

in

watercolour and drawing.


frontier

he explored with great suc-

between French and German

German. And he began

his studies at the

his

and

to Hilterfingen

on Lake Thun.

axis,

she

is

not only slightly shifted

title is

faceless -

i.e.,

exemplary,

like all

Macke's figures of that period. Her gracefully elongated figure

and

to her left

panorama

manner

right,

of

and houses

George Braque. The

branching

recalls

in

the early-Cubist

in

greenish-yellow,

a compositional device perhaps taken

The whole

is

Vinci, in

which Macke immersed

suffused by an enchantment that

Romantic paintings by Caspar David

Macke shared a penchant

in

light-flooded foliage of the trees

from the writings of Leonardo da


himself at that period.

and behind them a

wall,

simplified

form a roof accented

at the top to

is

the background; a couple

walking towards a

with river valley

grows together

in

for figures

with

Friedrich,

whom

seen from the back. Spatial

values are coordinated with principles of planar order and brought into

a fine-tuned equilibrium. Compositional rhythm

is

established by pris-

matically broken hues, transparent, vibrating colour contrasts which

themselves seem

1914

with

to

be the source of

Klee and Louis

Moilliet

light.

When Macke

(1880-1962) on

set out
their

in

now-

legendary Tunis journey, he had already long developed that sense of

was another new

to

Dusseldorf

do so

at

art

an early date. Already between

Academy and

a brief

colour which Klee hoped he would find

When World War

painting. Like

no other Expressionist, Macke translated the language of French


into

compositional balance. The lady of the


out of the central vertical

their limbs regularly

to the

moved

his family

each

close contacts with the

cess, the frontier that ran

he and

ugliness with which the Expres-

sceptical of the mysticism indulged

Yet there

after

flanked by four smaller figures, farther

whom

oils

a Green Jacket, painted on a well-nigh square format, exudes

lixmuller or Grosz, nor the brutal

lyrical

was

confirmed by one of Macke's major works, one of the

of

of Marc, with

Munich and contributed

in

is

sociocritical subjects of Dix, Fe-

impelled by the vision of an earthly paradise.

Macke maintained

done

Lady

1910. Yet he did not share Marc's pantheism despite the fact that he,
too,

This
first

fashions.

terms of palette and

all

1912, with Delaunay, which soon led to

in

of light as their point of departure.

his

explosive forms, garish colours

cafes and shop windows, people on an evening

works resemble those

contact, beginning

always based on impressions of nature, and always taking the effects

of

is

preferred to depict civilized urban scenes, well-kept streets and parks,

women's

supplemented

watercolours of an expressive yet wonderfully harmonious character,

sionists enjoyed provoking the philistines. Quite the contrary.

colourful

later

by impulses from Fauvism. But what shaped him above

in-

Brucke painters
in

(1907-08), Macke immersed himself

French Impressionism and Cubism, which were

thing. His art evinces neither the

or

1887
1914

in

Berlin

in

mentioned whenever the

up, emotional

b.

name

school run by Corinth

stint at

the painting

killed

only a few

says: "Of us

all,

and bright as

weeks

in

North Africa.

broke out Macke donned a uniform, and was


later. In his

touching obituary his friend Marc

he gave colour the brightest and purest

his entire character."

ring,

as clear

67

FRANZ MARC

1912

The small Yellow Horses


Oil

on

canvas, 66 x 104

cm

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Franz Marc, co-editor of


the Blauer Reiter Almanach,

is

probably the best-known animal


painter
this

modern

in

does

label

art.

little

sky

he never

and

animals

all

d.

1880
1916

nature

Munich,

in

Verdun

in

in

whole

What

Marc

himself,

who

originally

become so

man

We

desires.

...

will

appeal or appear to

themselves
born, as
to

Art

will

liberate itself

from

the

was

feel, their

how

they really are,

absolute being

Marc repeatedly stated

in

..."

other words,

in

wanted

become a

to

metaphysi-

is

human ends and

no longer paint forests or horses

us, but

how

in

the

lyricism

On

its

altars

A new

way they
would be

religion

a correpondence

would grow a new

would mirror the "animal

capture the

spiritual purity of

soul".

of references

full

whose

animals by increasingly
artistic life

spiritualized

stylizing their

had

led

him to

(fig. 3).

The Small Yellow Horses gives a good sense


utopia

German

Accordingly Marc attempted to

forms, a process that by the end of his brief


abstraction

art

hu-

a forest or a horse

the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner and echoes of

Romanticism.

al-

in

pastor, described his vision of a religion of art thus: "Art


cal, will

But

attracted him

the organic whole,

general."

lost himself in details,

ways only one element


b.

Marc envisaged. He takes up the idea

of the sacred

of paradisal

harmony by

basing his animal depiction on a pattern traditionally employed for depictions of

back

human

to the

figures. His

preference for groups of three

convention commonly used since Antiquity

to

may go

depict the

Three Graces. Marc sets the three powerful horses' bodies circulating
in

a cosmic landscape panorama and at the

same time

not one line too many, and, to the

is

severe and

principle,

to

matter, "brutal
in

within their

gracefully rounded forms

artist's

interaction.

mind, every colour

and

intellectual",

heavy",

and

first

academy, took two study


stylistic directions of

Lenggries

contrasted to a yellow representing

sensual principle. The red,

Marc, studying

is

idyll

tact with

it.

philosophy at the university then


trips to Paris that

in

art at

the

confronted him with the

the French avant-garde. After summering

his art. In

of Sindelsdorf

happenings

friendship with
Reiter and

embodies

human image almost

in

Upper

1912 on a

all

Artistic

exchange

within the Blauer

an involvement with Robert Delaunay,

visit

to the

Bavaria. Yet he did not lose con-

the art centre, developing, for instance, a deep

in

August Macke.

above

entirely

1909 Marc moved from Munich

to Paris with

whom

September 1912,
to a

in

he

Macke, increased the degree of

abstraction of Marc's painting and the evocativeness of his palette.

woodcut

in

1908, he began increasingly to concentrate on depic-

in

disappeared from
country

in turn,

being fought by the two other colours

tions of animals, to the point that the

met

complex

joyful,

an attempt to overcome

key

in

possesses symbolic meaning: the blue representing the "male

the female, gentle,

him the animal was

for

field

nature attracted

in

above

him, but

There

field, their

justice

described as follows:

later

force

Of course

Marc's qualities, which Kandin-

"Everything

own

In

the Berlin journal Der Sturm, he published a

poem by

the Expressionist poet Else Lasker-Schuler

(1869-1945). This marked the beginning


tween two like-minded

artists.

It

precipitated

of a long friendship bein

a series of wonderful

watercolour postcards by Marc and Lasker-Schuler,


"Letters to the Blue Rider Franz Marc"

in

first

published as

the journal Die Aktion.

69

FRANZ MARC

1913-14

Tyrol
x 144.7 cm
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne Oil

on

In

canvas, 135.7

1912 the events

Marc's

in

came

life

Moderner Kunst

Staatsgalerie

to a head. While

in

Berlin

side

seems absorbed

he met the Brucke painters, and immediately made a selection of

their

energy.

which would subsequently be shown at the second and

final

sages.

prints

Blauer Reiter exhibition

were present

them
went

that year

Bonn

to

Macke

Futurists,

Bonn

a large
fluence

In

is

apparent

in

one

Sturm, the

From there they continued on

for his part,

latter,

pictures he

mounted

1913 Marc was

material role

artists

whose

exhibition

autumn Marc

who impressed them

Robert Delaunay,

more than Marc. The

far

about the

Expressionists". That

with his friend Macke.

Paris, to visit

conversely, the Munich artists

where Herwarth Walden introduced

Berlin,

in

"German

to the public as

And

Munich.

in

hung and

after his return

intensively studied

oil

"First

German Autumn

He

played a

land and the United States.

portant overview of

modern

Italy,

great deal of room at

Austria, Switzerthis,

mals have

his

Marc showed seven

renowned Tower of Blue Horses

New

Year's postcard of

Poor Land of
Maria

in

Tyrol,

and

March 1913.

The Solomon

R.

1913

Tyrol.

In

the

(lost;

to the

first

lypse,

per

based on a composition on

marked by the

scene of the
in

traditional

picture,

Tyrol,

was more

interpretation of the Alps as a

"sublime", the potentiated locale of

man's insignificance

face of the vastness of nature. After being briefly on view

in

tumn Salon, the painting was removed by Marc and reworked


shortly before

York,

a landscape seemingly per-

vaded by profound resignation. The next


strongly

paintings, including

done thereafter (New

in

he was sent to the front

lines,

the Auin

1914,

when he added

the

madonna on a crescent moon. Every element

of this forbidding land-

scape with farmhouses cowering

of a mighty

70

at the

base

in

the midst of the turbulence and steep mountains.

lence,

motif

several crescent

The madonna on a crescent moon, focus

left.
is

of her

intersect the mountains.

of a

few planned Bible

statement.

ment

mountain-

at the up-

cosmic turbu-

garment spreads over the farmhouses

emerge

No

theme

to

announce an abandonbegan

1916, aged

sold

many

of his

his art

this path,

thirty-six,
in

he

fell

Marc volunteered

for military

Tower of

at Verdun. Marc's

the "Degenerate Art" exhibition of

works

experienced a second, true triumph.

temperas brought

937.

out of the country. Yet after the Sec-

DM

In

1989,

2,600,000 (approx. $1,300,000),

the highest price ever paid for a work of art at a


that date.

to consider in

(fig. 3).

ond World War,


of his

seems

clearly religious

increasingly put into practice as he set out on the path to

Blue Horses was included

The Nazis

conveys such a

of animals, which the artist

1914, halfway down

service. In

like

rays that perpendicularly

other work of Marc's, with the exception

illustrations,

addition, the painting

In

of the

In

one

moons

of the

simultaneously a symbol of divine grace and an apocalyptic

- the pyramid

abstraction

ac-

Guggenheim Museum) he arranged houses, gloomy

cemetery crucifixes and a few animals

At the top right a blood-red sun shines behind

fled.

appears

was

travelled to Tyrol with his wife

painting

the foreground recalls an apoca-

in

creatures are to be seen; Marc's beloved ani-

The suns are counterbalanced by

1913 and

poet Else Lasker-Schuler), The

Marc had

living

threatening peaks, while a second sun, the black sun of the Apoca-

corded to Delaunay, Marc, Macke, Kandinsky, Campendonk, Munter,


Klee, Kubin and the Futurists.

shapes are penetrated by black pas-

charred tree trunk

No

lyptic scythe.

the most im-

the First World War,

art prior to

Der

Represented were ninety

Salon".

from France, Germany, Russia, Holland,

A huge

into the diagonal facets pulsating with Futuristic

crystalline

a protective cloak. From the figure

organizing, at Herwarth Walden's Berlin gallery

in

in

in-

Tyrol.

a great undertaking.

in

enthusiastic

from France. Their

of his masterpieces, the

involved

was

to

though

both,

Luminous

German

auction to

71

LUDWIG MEIDNER

1913

Apocalyptic city
Oil

on

canvas, 79 x 119

Miinster, Westfdlisches

cm

Landesmnseum fur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte

Meidner has been called

most expressionist

the

Expressionists,

the

of

but this

true

is

in

d.

in

Darmstadt

group known as the

characterized by

1906

from

to

1907

Paris,

in

he moved

definitively to Berlin

1908, the

city

which he de-

one

of E.T.A.

the world".

In

artists,

in oils,

restless
stories",

Indian ink,

also his analytical self-portraits, which,


sciously demonic". All the energy

little

man,

and who,

"like
in

assisted by

whom

a figure out

his youth,

had

and other graphic media, but


in

his

own words, were

was concentrated

in

rhythmic

zigzag folds, an almost caricature-like exaggeration, and

was added

in

sponsible

for,

bursting

in

gestures

the form of an emergent big-city euphoria, the fascin-

and effervescent urban world, which was

re-

other pictures, the series of "Apocalyptic Land-

open as

if

under bombardment from the cosmos. The

the present painting

is

the victim of such an infernal catas-

trophe; ant-like, a few people are fleeing from the exploding stars and

the terrestrial conflagration. The tectonic interplay of verticals and


72

Greco

this

1541-1614), by the

(c.

in

Berlin

he was

addition,

familiar with the

The "Apocalyptic Landscapes"

all

923,

deep shadows,

First

resulted,

it

is

light.

thought, from a

World War. This may well be true

in part,

but

they were triggered by Meidner's intense involvement with

ancient Jewish prophecies of

Book

in

sets, staging a big-city street once more, with

and the atmosphere heightened yet further by cones of

premonition of the

Tower.

Eiffel

photographic double-exposure

technique. For the film Strasse (Street), directed by Karl Grune

above

Italian

1912), and by the

in

Robert Delaunay's prismatically fanned out views of the


In

of Revelation. In

lutionary "Arbeitsrat

fiir

doom and

with the

New

1918, after the war, he was active


Kunst", a kind of artists' soviet,

Testament
in

the revo-

and by

923

at

the latest he had turned his back on Expressionism and the "modern

and rediscovered the

spirit"

panoramic fantastical cityscapes, depicted from a bird's-eye perspec-

city in

El

(whose work could be seen

which he gave expression

encouraged by Max Beckmann, an extra component

among

in-

lines,

scapes" up to 1916, on which Meidner's fame was based. These were

tive,

Futurists

previously also at
self

ation with a tumultuous

be seen the extent to which Meidner was

"con-

of great pathos.
In Berlin,

re-

grounds of the Mannerist

he founded the

devoured Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, had begun creating


not only his portraits

and

collapsing fagades, houses seemingly transfixed by

of

whose breakthrough was

Hoffmann's short

extreme colour

tails. In

moral capital

Herwarth Walden's gallery Der Sturm. At that time, Meidner,

of

torn apart

Meidner created the

Jewish

George Grosz had described as a

is

contrasts and by diagonals reminiscent of comets'

scribed as "the intellectual and

1912, together with two other

"Pathetiker",

and disparate perspectives and

lated compositions can

ni,

Bernstadt,

distorted

in

The whole structure

fluenced by the flickering colourfulness and splintered picture back-

is

where he met Amedeo Modiglia-

in

dissolved

only of a limited part of his total

ing

1884
1966

is

shifted proportions.

oeuvre, which

numerous caesuras. After study-

b.

horizontals

like

937 branded

luctantly
in

award

in

faith of his fathers,

naturalistic

orthodox Judaism, to

symbolic depictions. Meidner,

proto-expressionist literary circles, and him-

Kokoschka and Kubin - a superb

a "degenerate Jew". From

- as an

1964 he

lic's

home

Barlach,

in

exile in

939

to

writer,

952 he

was

lived

in

re-

England, before returning to Germany, where

received the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Federal Repub-

for merit.

73

PAULA MODERSOHN-BECKER

1906-07

camelia sprig

self-portrait with
Oil

on wood,

Essen,

x 30.5

61.5

cm

Museum Folkwang

The year

905 was

rele-

vant not only as the founding


year of Die Brucke.

It

also

marked

an important transition for three


northern

whose

of

take

an

then began to

art

Modersohn-

Paula

direction.

Becker had gone

Worpswede,

b.

1876
1907

in

Dresden,

in

Worpswede

Fritz

1899

to

outside

Mackensen

had established a colony of land-

scape painters

poet Rainer Maria Rilke

new

in

Worpswede. Everyone

unity of

man and

nature.

in

the

the group back

in

The small community,

which promised an escape from the anxiety and loneliness of modern


city

life,

seemed

as well as freedom from the constrictions of the academy,

approach

to nature

in

familiar with

guin, during her brief studies

in

Paris.

Back

rural

in

to

Worpswede, she spon-

in art,

of colour

Gauguin.

Her Self-Portrait with Camelia Sprig


ples of self-searching

lyrical

people, using earth colours

and heavy contours. Her concentration on broad expanses

and rigorous outlines owed much

is

one

of the finest

exam-

something by which Modersohn-Becker

always set great store. At the same time, the small painting reveals a

knowledge

of reproductions of Egyptian

mummy

portraits of the sec-

to fourth centuries B.C., striking coffin depictions with overlarge

eyes, clearly delineated faces, reduced,

great

mystery.

Beyond

this,

flat

forms, and expressions of

Modersohn-Becker accentuates the

colour contrast between the sonorous browns of the shadowed,


74

like

an aureole. The camelia

placed on the central vertical

and

strict-

axis, is

unsullied rural setting.

wede

sense the danger of

artist to

a letter of February 29,

past too

much

in

...

and peasant

All of

At any

our

rate,

art,

goes hand

idyllic,

Worpsin

hand

As she complained

life.

German

art

more

think

in

is

too bogged

down

highly of a free person

..."

905 Modersohn-Becker found

conventional

fact the only

provinciality that

consciously puts convention aside


In

in

900, to Otto Modersohn, "We cleave to the

Germany.

the conventional

an apparently

in

Modersohn-Becker was

with an idealization of country

who

demonstrative-

as the pervading melancholy of this portrait reveals, a

Finally,

stranger ultimately remains a stranger, even

in

sprig,

a traditional symbol of growth

fertility.

her

way

to just

such an un-

emotionally powerful and far from the idealization of

genre scenes. During a second Paris sojourn she again studied

Cezanne and Gauguin, as


ing year,

she saw the

first

Back

in

paintings by the Fauves.

In

well as the Nabis.

ter the birth of her first child,

Although she avoided

a suitable

the works of Cezanne and, even more, of Gau-

taneously began to depict ordinary

ond

ly

a perfect setting to realize this Utopian vision.

Modersohn-Becker had become

and the light-flooded blue of the background, which

surrounds her head

1889. One of

who soon met

them, Otto Modersohn, married the young Paula,

then dreamed of a

in

village

Bremen where
d.

expressive

emotional,

frontal bust

Nolde,

artists,

and Modersohn-Becker,

Rohlfs
all

German

ly

in

terms of bright

palette,

all

in

it

907, shortly af-

Worpswede.

Expressionist exaggeration, especially

Modersohn-Becker's

depth and power that gives


pressionism.

she died

Paris the follow-

definite,

if

art

has an emotional

reserved, affinity with Ex-

75

OTTO MUELLER

1927

Gypsies with sunflowers


Distemper on burlap, 145 x 105
Saarbriicken,

cm

Saarland-Museum

"Gypsy Mueller" was the

nickname of the painter who be-

came

the

Brucke

last

member

of the

1911. Reputedly

in

mother was a gypsy. At any


Mueller

hood

felt

rate,

attracted from boy-

to the carefree

life

of these

vagabonds on the margins


ciety,

his

of so-

as he did to those slender

young nude

among

girls lost in

thought

the reeds or bathing

in

woodland lakes who embodied


b.

1874

in

Liebau (now Lubawka),

d.

1930

in

Breslau (now Wroclaw)

the Expressionist ideal of a reconciliation

between

After training as a lithographer

in Gorlitz, Silesia,

ied in

1894-96

in

he

out of place.

felt

hart

Hauptmann

at the art

(1

He

academies

received encouragement from the author Ger-

862-1 946),

whom

to

he was distantly

tantly,

the sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck,

made

whose

Among

a lasting impression on him.

provocation and posing, played an outsider's

nuances

He

the Brucke artists

and lack of interest

role. Technically, too,

set a personal accent by adopting distemper instead of


in

related.

more impor-

spiritualized figures ap-

Mueller, with his quiet, introverted personality

Distemper colours dry

life.

Dresden and Munich, where

the acquaintance of Paula Modersohn-Becker and,

oil

in

in

1911.

that differ from those with which

was a master

of distem-

per and lent his pictures an inimitable charm, a friable airiness and poetic immateriality.

At the

same

time, this technique fairly

demanded

the use of large formats and monumentally simplified forms. Mueller's


burlap painting surfaces (often from unstitched sugar sacks) occasionally recall the rough-textured surface of frescoes.

Gypsies with Sunflowers, finished


emotional conflict arising from a
76

difficult

in

1927 during a period

personal relationship,

in

fidelity to his

the face of

was
ly

of

indi-

established style and favourite subject

postwar recognition of a kind ac-

official

member

corded to no other

of the Brucke.

offered a professorship at the Breslau

357

could not prevent

most

part destroyed

in

with identical features

of his
1

in

girl

lage, are

The

works being confiscated and

appeared over and over again

Even the nursing mother

her.

1919 the

artist

(which admitted-

narrow faces, dark, medium-long

in

ized youthfulness of the

beside

spring

In

Academy

for the

937). The same prototype adolescent

"Gothically" slender figures,

in

girl,

and

hair,

his work.

the present picture takes on the standard-

who

compared

is

to the

open sunflower

actual world of gypsies, the surroundings of their

vil-

suggested, but without a trace of sociocritical interpretation.

Even the melancholy undertone that now makes

embedded

in

paradise lost

an

The

idyllic,

much

outsiders of

modern

Romantic context,

like that felt

ings of Tahitian islanders.

itself felt

points

industrial society

in

seem

reflecting a yearning for a

by Gauguin and projected

in

his paint-

Between 1924 and 1929 Mueller found

material for his gypsy paintings on travels to Hungary, Dalmatia, Ru-

mania and Yugoslavia. For a time he even

lived in

a gypsy

camp

side Budapest. Using such experiences he also produced his

"Gypsy

Portfolio,"

among

his

tically

nine partly hand-tinted colour lithographs which are

most outstanding works

in

and thematically quite


died of tuberculosis, art

artist

his

of graphic

art.

limited. In
critic

stylis-

1926, four years before the

and playwright Carl Einstein noted

book, Art of the 20th Century, "With an easy laxness Mueller

sweetens nudes

or

German landscapes

be achieved, but most


blue and green and
kind

out-

famous

Apart from early experiments, Mueller's oeuvre remained

he

they are applied. Their handling therefore entails an exact and careful
consideration of the drying process. Mueller

matter even

different direction.

Mueller stud-

made

parently

and

art

cates Mueller's

[of his art]

monotonous

may have become

rarer,

...

Charm may

occasionally

sinks into a shallow saccharinity of


quiet lineature." Today voices of this

but they have not grown entirely

silent.

77

GABRIELE MUNTER

1908

schoolhouse, Murnau
on cardboard, 40.6 x 32.7 cm
Madrid, Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, on loan
Oil

At

glance

first

seems

it

quite unassuming, this small view

schoolhouse

of the

And

Murnau.

in

yet this picture stands at the

to

Museo Tbyssen-Bornemisza

less contributes to the equilibrium


In

contrast to this calculated

in

Munter's development.

ibly rapid

Munter

enrolled

1877

1962

in Berlin, d.

in

Murnau

in

Munich, where she

two set

off

New

southern
In

German

908

was a

in

sations about

art,"

1901 she

into freelance art. In

with Kandinsky.

become one

the precise dating

fields

in

and plainest

total of eight flat

enclosed

in

first

settled

904

the

of the

later of

most

of

the

significant

hour.

foothills of

in

her

the Bavarian Alps

done on

that

the lower centre.

buildings,

in

It

"It

many conver-

diary.

of this fruitful collaboration

of the schoolhouse, the fourth

largest

In

As a member

enjoyable period of work with

recalled the artist

was the present view

August
depicts

27, as indicated by

one

of Murnau's

a radically simplified composition of a

elements separated by heavy contours. The colour


these contours have hardly any internal nuances,

modelling or shading, being enlivened solely by short, colourful brushstrokes. This reduction to a nearly geometric planar order neverthe-

78

Kandinsky and Jawlensky that summer

by Jawlensky: Gauguin and van

Gogh

wrote,

the provincial town of Murnau on the Staffelsee.

A document

her,

the folk art of verre eglomise. "After a brief period of torment," she

in-

Munter, her partner Kandinsky, Jawlensky and

lovely, interesting,

by

regard Munter relied on various sources, apparently

ceptable for women. After an

Marianne von Werefkin explored the


from their base

jointly

In this

only art career then socially ac-

Expressionists of the
1

Murnau.

of hues. Also, similar formal approaches

Assocation of Munich and a short time

summer

in

coming a drawing teacher, the

on journeys that took them to Venice, Tunisia, Holland,

Artists

was developed

contoured colour

became acquainted

Blauer Reiter, Munter advanced to

from

suggested above

France, and, on more than one occasion, to Russia.


the

transition

Diis-

in

heritance brought financial inde-

pendence, she risked the leap

and comparable paintings began a

this

seldorf, with the intention of be-

School of Art for Ladies

b.

the

in

painting process charged with intuitive expression.

With

Munter's earlier Impressionist-oriented style to an Expressionism that

At the age of twenty Gabriele

detail depicted.

brushed areas,

sketchy details and unpainted cardboard ground suggest an incred-

beginning of a decisive turningpoint

and harmony of the

balance, the thinly

"I

extract."

Munch and

to feeling

did.

When war

artistic crisis

1920s.

before

in

examples

more

of

or less im-

final

step to abstraction, as

broke out she followed him to Switzerland,

yet soon their paths diverged. Munter

and

were found

a content - to abstracting - to giving an

However, Munter never took the

Kandinsky

for the

Matisse's Fauvism for the range

great leap - from copying nature -

made a

pressionistically

all

fields,

went through years

finally returning to painting at

of personal

the end of the

79

EMIL NOLDE

1912

The Legend of
st. Maria Aegyptiaca
on canvas, triptych: central painting 105 x 120 cm, wings 86 x 100 cm each
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle
Oil

Hansen,

Emil

born

in

masklike faces often have a distorted expression verging on carica-

Nolde near Tondern, Schleswig

ture; the

(now Tonder

whole of the canvas

ed

his

nym

in

in

Denmark), adopt-

birthplace as a pseudo-

in

1902. Training as a

being."

furni-

Nolde's

ture draughtsman, studies at the

School

Karlsruhe

from

Crafts,

|X

many

Crafts,

were

892

b.

1867
1956

in

Nolde (near Tondern),

in

Seebull (near Neukirchen)

began

When he

to concentrate

settled

in

of the

standing graphic

1903 on

on garden and

and

oil

- these

most outwater-

artists,

painters of Ex-

the island of Alsen and

floral motifs, his

palette gradually

developed to become a vehicle of ecstatic emotion.


circle

trips

stations on Nolde's path to

colourists

pressionism.

and

teacher at the

study

becoming one
d.

Arts

School of Arts and

Gallen

St.

of

1906,

In

in

the

around Karl Ernst Osthaus, Nolde studied works by van Gogh,

Gauguin, Ensor, and met Edvard Munch.

The suggestiveness
his painting attack

and the

into proximity with

Brucke, to which he belonged from February

1907 and
To

with

ing those years,

when

whose members he

George Grosz's

cite

later

the inspiration took him, he threw

liquid

1906

to the

end

of

remained on friendly terms.

he "no longer painted with brushes. He

blissful intoxication."

passion of

the aims of the

away

later said that,

his brushes,

dipped his

and smeared around on the canvas

Nolde's pictures looked as

if

in

they had been pro-

colours that had bled into each other, unconstricted by

contours, which led to the frequent impression of misdrawing.

His group of religious paintings,


of Nolde's major contributions to
entirely

focused on the transcendental,

depicted.

80

The

commenced

modern

art.

spiritual

in

1909, was one

The compositions are


meaning

of the

scene

figures are brought up very close to the viewer; their

is

words, reflected "the mystical depths of human-divine

the middle panel of the present great triptych of

In

cloak,

is

shown

wall.

in

saint, clad in

1912

devot-

a bright red

prayer with arms raised ecstatically towards heaven.

Madonna

blue-clad

and the

suffused by saturated, luminous colours which,

ed to the legend of Maria Aegyptiaca, the

statue stands

a niche

in

in

the golden yellow

Nolde, a Protestant, lends the impassioned worship of Mary an

which

inspirational force of the very kind

opponents of Mariolatry denied

does not turn

to the

idol,

it.

earlier

church reformers and

Yet the former prostitute from Egypt

but addresses her ecstatic prayer straight to

God. The left-hand panel depicts her


of glaring colours. Mary's figure

is

earlier licentiousness in

a range

suffused with golden yellow, and

the nipples of her heavy breasts shimmer purple. Grinning with

lust,

she extends her arms towards three greedy, grotesque male figures
clad

in

blue,

green and purple.


lies in

in

On

the right panel, the converted sinner

the throes of death.

her prostrate body, as a


part

lion

An

ascetic says a prayer over

awaits his chance to spring and play his

the miraculous event. The background of the "waste land"

formed by a jungle

in

gradations of green and blue

exotic counterpart to the Christian

description of Nolde's working procedure dur-

old paint rag into the paint,

duced by

intuitive

stare, the features are primitivistically coarse,

own

and penitent

of his colour

brought Nolde

eyes

Garden

- perhaps a

of Eden.

Like his other religious compositions, this triptych

meant
were

to

be viewed as an

"artistic

altar painting. All of

evocations, intended to serve

is

sultry,

art".

was

not

them, as Nolde stated,

81

EMIL NOLDE

1914

sun

Tropical
on

Oil

canvas, 71

Nolde-Stiftung

Seebiill,

When

in

1905 Nolde

July

Germany and the

ern

cm

x 104.5

returned from Switzerland to north-

a Gauguin exhibition, noting,

visited

glorious colours

modern

in

he stopped over

island of Alsen,

art."

The

Weimar and

have never before seen such

"I

exotic realm to which the French

escaped became a destination

artist

in

which Nolde also yearned.

for

Not that he was a Romantic escapist. Rather, he pursued a well-degoal -

fined artistic

planned a book on

"Artistic

hibited

in

In

all

creativity

191

it

in

objects of the "savages", as he

The book was never pub-

Nolde studied objects by the Egyptians,

Assyrians, the indigenous peoples of Africa, southeast Asia and the

South

Two years

his wife to

Guinea. Their

trip

accompany a

of Ethnology overflowed.

took an opportunity offered

In

addition to

Nolde executed nineteen

numerous sketches and water-

oils in

the provincial town of Kae-

wieng, on the northwest point of present-day


the

German

burg.

One

colonial administration of the

of this

New

scientific expedition to

took them to the South Pacific by way of Russia,

China, Korea and Japan.


colours,

Museum

later the forty-six-year-old artist

him and

to

which the Berlin

Pacific, with

group of works

is

New

Ireland,

an island

New

Mecklen-

day called

Tropical Sun, which

was preceded

by a small preparatory drawing.

Having gone down

to the beach,

towards the horizon, where the sun


zon

line divides

there

is

is

Nolde looked from sea

level

The

hori-

either rising or setting.

the horizontal format just below

the dark green, forested silhouette of

its

central axis. Visible

Nusa

undulating form penetrating the composition from the

respondence

in

finds a cor-

the white cumulus cloud above the horizon and

foaming breakers
like

Lik island. This


left

in

in

the

the foreground. The sun stands over the treetops

an incandescent red disc

in

the midst of a radiant aureole that

is

surrounded by darker cloud formations. The range of colours, applied


for the

82

most

part

in

broad, impasto strokes, rises to a frenzy of vermil-

cadmium orange and

longer applied wet


into

in

wet as

cobalt
in

violet.

The

individual

tones are no

Nolde's earlier landscapes but spread

expansive areas. Their intensity or

brilliance

with garishness, as the artist repeatedly

is

not to be confused

emphasized

in

view of his im-

pressions of the South Pacific. Far from requiring any expressive exaggeration, he said, these colours conformed with actual
in

phenomena

the tropics.

Nolde

"saccharine tasteless forms" ex-

the "glass cases of the salons".

But while preparing

lished.

ritual

his autobiography, with the

in

of civilization.

Manifestations of the Natural Peoples",

which he intended to confront the


noted

source of

to recover the "primal", the

been buried under the flotsam

that had

ion red,

Nolde did not address the

First

World War

in

no visions of destruction or apocalyptic landscapes


Instead, to his tropical paintings

his art.

He

like, say,

painted

Meidner.

Nolde added northern German low-

land landscapes, coastlines and gardens, replying to the vicissitudes

age by charging nature and

of the

religious subjects with an optimistic

mysticism. Kirchner described Nolde's art


bid

and too

primitive".

He

in

his diaries

as "often mor-

thought Nolde's mysticism diverted

his col-

league too far from the formal issues of modernism. That same ten-

make a grave error in 933, when he stated that


was a genuine expression of the "German
He was rudely awakened from this dream by the Nazis, who the

dency

led

Nolde

to

his Expressionist painting


soul".

following year delivered Nolde's paintings over to the derision of the


philistines.

83

MAX PECHSTEIN

1917

palau Triptych
on canvas, 119 x 353 cm

Oil

x 171 cm, wings 119 x 91

(central panel 119

cm

each)

Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum

The Expressionists enthuadopted the modern

siastically

view

own ego

or

self.

scene

fused by the

of nature suf-

artist's

here
Eckersbach,

in

Berlin

took

an

into

run

to

its

course unaffected by the conof

flicts

stein, too,

seemed

life

ego

was because

exotic realm, this

Max Pech-

civilization.

eyes the carved and painted roofbeams

this road. In his

from the South Pacific island of Palau, which he and other Brucke
artists

Museum

studied at the Dresden

archetypal unity of art and

of Ethnology,

They seemed

embodied an

face of a murderous

in

manner

Brucke period

of the

ly

stylized, not

so

wing

is

central panel

is

a boat opposite, two of

earth and

up

this

air,

more because he was the

den

first

piety

and awe

pressed

[their

"I

see the carved

of the

idol

his idealistic attitude,

years

in

terror, their fear

he set

off for the

the Palau Islands. But he

taken prisoner by the Japanese,

was

ed

into the army.

84

when

in

South Seas

their

submis-

April

to

1914,

managed

a daredevil escape,

way

of Hawaii,

of the front lines proved too

was

and

New

Germany - where he was immediately

The horrors

like

spend a few

surprised there by the war,

turned as a coal trimmer on freighters by


to

and

fate."

year,

and the Netherlands

he

images, into which trembling

Pechstein was only acting consistently

Nolde the previous

forsake quiet Dres-

incomprehensible forces of nature have im-

makers'] hope and

sion to an unavoidable

artist to

Coloured by

for the big city of Berlin.

could say of them:

Brucke

re-

York

induct-

much

for

whom occupy the

and correspondingly,

who

to-

right-hand wing and

one

in

still

symbolic

had done

Tahiti

counterimage

fish,

human beings and

take

birds,

triad

form. Pechstein interpreted Palau - as Gauguin

terms of

in

his

own Romantic

to "materialistic" Europe,

ity

the

left

a boat. The

on the middle panel. The substantially emphasized motifs of water,

months on

all

child, in

likewise dominated by a trio of seated figures,

way, just what the group had pursued during their carefree

carvings affected Pechstein

neoclassical scenes spread

gether with a fourth, standing person turn to the three male figures

of an island that

expectations, as a

an ideal paradise for

fishing,

oneself, rather than seeing the historical real-

was

part of a colonial empire.

After the war Pechstein, like Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff,

the Moritzburg Lakes: a Utopian alternative to the perverted industrial

And perhaps these indigenous

suppressing the "savage"

favour of a tranquil harmony.

a family of islanders, father, mother and

swimming and enjoying

to reflect,

civilization,

in

much expressive as

a different

world.

into the

across the central panel and two flanking wings. Depicted on the

in

life.

to return to

memories

Within the continuous landscape panorama, various decorative-

If

of the leading protagonists

shifted the

in

was released

his travel

distil

world

artists

of this aesthetic, Paul Gauguin,

1955

Pechstein began to

which implied that

one

1881

suffered a nervous breakdown and

Now

compelling composition of his Palau triptych, unfolding a peaceful

point of their

b.

He

Berlin.

aesthetic of individual creativity,

the world solely from the stand-

d.

him.

a founding

member

in

(Working Council for

remained

politically

1918

Art),

and

engaged.

after

surprise that

when

disbanded a short time

He joined

and helped produce propaganda

was no

it

the League for

for the

later

Human

he

Rights

young Soviet Union. Thus

the Nazis clamped

933, Pechstein was one of

was

Kunst

of the revolutionary Arbeitsrat fur

down on modern

their first Expressionist victims.

it

art in

85

CHRISTIAN ROHLFS

1916

Acrobats
Tempera on canvas, 110 x 75.5
Essen, Museum Folkwang

cm

As
French

and

dance

nineteenth cen-

from the

subjects

tury,

preceding

the

in

art of the

vaudeville

among

great popularity

Such

pressionists.

groups

dogs

who,

in

like

injury that eventually

the Ex-

stein farmer

as under-

artists

selves, sold their souls

b.

d.

1849
1938

in

Niendorf,

in

Hagen

seemed

"tight-wire act" of the Expressionist artist

on

of respectable mid-

The

exaltation

the perfect symbol for the

who pushed

way

very typical of him. This

is

seen

in

his vital

it

in

a sub-

acrobat picture of

1916, based on contrasts and tensions, and evincing a refined, paralcomposition. Against the bright red background, the pair are de-

picted

in

complementary poses that form, as

comprehensive
brated, graceful

The

figure.

motif

movement -

impression of great

vitality.

overlapping picture planes,

it

were, a single, rotating

employs every

upright and head

The

possibility of equili-

down -

to

convey an

figures are elongated almost to the

point of mannerism, with the main accent

on heavy contour

whose transparency

is

lines

and

achieved through

the tempera technique Rohlfs began to develop about 1913. This


gives the figures an airiness that belies their physical massiveness,

convincing us that
artist

it

was concerned

se, archetypal

nean vase

forms

paintings.

was not acrobats as

in

motion such as those seen

The

whom

the

movement

per

individuals with

but abbreviations or ciphers for


in

ancient Myce-

graphically textured paint surface of the

background reveals the influence


86

first

had almost turned


time,

in

1897

School of Decorative

who

in

in

of

Fauvist colour field painting,

in

Soest.

Due

late developer.

to a serious

for

two years.

fellow Holstein-

fifty

before he

Impressionist

and then-director of the Weimar

architect

Arts, introduced

him to the

901 offered Rohlfs a post

built in

saw

Weimar. Then Henry van de Velde

art

at the

patron Karl Ernst

Folkwang Museum

Hagen. There he became acquainted with French

Post-Impressionism and Pointillism as well as with van Gogh. Yet the


decisive impulse to strike out into uncharted territory

vard Munch,

whom

Rohlfs met

highly productive

in

artist,

latest,

1904.

in

his

were washed
"Third

in

Germany, and from

9 2
1

at the

he could be called an Expressionist - a representative of that

version of the style that


values,

came from Ed-

Rohlfs began increasingly to sympa-

thize with the avant-garde currents

Christian Rohlfs, too, treated this motif, transforming

lel

bed

to his

(1863-1957), the Belgian

himself to the

limits.

tle

the

then being

for their livelihood

1905 and 1906

necessitated a leg amputation, the son of a Hol-

was confined

painting. Rohlfs
art for

dependent

money

in

known as a

is

the author Theodor Storm (1817-1888), suggested he go into

Osthaus,

dle-class citizens.

of dancers, the daring of artistes,

themon the

er,

marketplace, not respectable yet

the

he befriended

was what

Rohlfs

enjoyed

performers

society,

whom

Nolde,

circus,

were viewed as embodying marginal

which Rohlfs had intensively studied, as well as inspiration from Emil

case
out. In

German

its

expressive force primarily from colour

906

then increasingly subdued, as

the Brucke artists

Arts and Crafts Exhibition"

sidered inviting him to


sons, objected.

drew

initially brilliant,

become

saw
in

Rohlfs's

work

in

it

the

Dresden. They con-

a member, but Nolde, for obscure rea-

87

EGON SCHIELE

1910

standing Male Nude


(self-portrait)
Pencil, watercolour,

Vienna, Graphische

cm

white tempera, 55.7 x 36.8

Sammlung Albertina

Oskar

Alongside

Ko-

koschka, Schiele was the most

prominent

personality

supported

repeatedly

famous

Gustav

1918),

who

talent

early

on.

the

(1862-

the

In

906

student

by

Klimt

recognized Schiele's

period from
still

was

to

909, while

the

at

short

Academy, Schiele passed

d.

1890
1918

in Tulln
in

(Lower Austria)

from a

dry,

Vienna
ic

decorative Art

Nouveau a

la

the present large-format

portrait,

the

artist's

naked torso

rises

a leaning tree stump though the vertical format, the right arm,

contrast,

extended

at the joint like

physical

stiffly into

some

framework

the horizontal, only to abruptly turn

tree branch struck by lightning.

sits

a masklike

skull with

scream. With unprecedented expressive


periencing one's

own

mirror

image

is

On

in

down

this bizarre

a face distended into a

radicality,

the potential of ex-

transformed into an

artifice that

extreme experience, the

Klimt to a radical formal vocabulary of

vehement

edge

line

becomes a

thin,

sharp, often cutting

that dissects and, avoiding no dissonance, penetrates into the

no-man's land of the empty plane.


Despite

this verve,

not one line too

man image

is

many

or

economy

one too

worked out

to the

of

few.
full,

means

is

maintained. There

The creaturely aspect

is

of the hu-

an existentialism reminiscent of

late-Gothic images of mercy, recalling the tortured body of the suffer-

gestural paint application.

By 1910 Schiele had

was dominated by

In

like

rapidly

nondescript academ-

great expressive force, including figurative distortion and a

splintered contouring that lends the fig-

verges on hallucinatory self-insight. The shaping of form becomes an

through an adaptation of

style

were

Vienna

through various creative phases,


b.

it

ure an association with frozenness, desiccation, crippling.

Aus-

in

He

Expressionism.

trian

evocative, hesitant, as

work

arrived at his inimitable style. His

only a few motifs, centring on the portrait and

ing Christ.
In

1912 Schiele was accused

of "disseminating pornographic

the nude. Yet, to cite Dietmar Elger, "unlike the other Expressionists,

drawings" and given a prison sentence. His

[Schiele] did not attempt to read

from many quarters, yet a small, committed group of supporters made

of his

often a

more eloquent testimony than the face

trayed. Schiele

bearers of

now made

itself

possible exhibitions and sales

of the person por-

of the short-lived artist's work.

the entire body and every limb into equal

expression." Generally Schiele did without any

artistic

indication of interior
solely

physiognomic content from the face

models alone. With Kokoschka, the play of the hands was

space or landscape surroundings, concentrating

on the hypersensitive lineaments of the human body.

On August

25, 1913, the

artist

noted

in

letter:

"Mainly

now

observe the physical motion of mountains, water, trees and flowers.

Everywhere one

is

put

in

mind of

similar stirrings of pleasure


portraits

the

and

human

dered
88

in

similar

and pain as

motions
in

self-portraits this observation

figure takes

on a

plants

the

..."

In

human body,
many of his

appears reversed,

plantlike character

the elegant, sinuous lines of Art

in

in

that

not, of course, ren-

Nouveau but

with a nervous,

if

more

in

art triggered hostilities

Germany than

in

Austria

j\K^r~-*.

89

KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF

1911

Rosa schapire

portrait of
Oil

on

Berlin,

cm

x 76

canvas, 84

Briicke-Museum

(who

Schmidt

Karl

1905 added the name


birthplace,

Rottluff, to

was

only

not

Brucke

artist

Even

1884
1976

in Rottluff

(near Chemnitz),

group.

Brucke

devel-

style

his

own way whenever

possible, for instance not taking

the group's excursions to

in

the Moritzburg Lakes outside Dresden but remaining faithful to the

retical

Dangast

letters

Berlin

Oldenburg province. "There are almost no theo-

statements by

trast to Kirchner

few

in

him,"

notes Lothar-Gunther Buchheim.

he never subjected

and notes

...

and paintings went up

in

2000 drawings and many

rapidly

of the palette knife. After a visit to

made

in

heavy impasto with an

Gogh and

often making use

Nolde on Alsen island

Dangast landscapes began

to

show a change

906, that

in style.

Ex-

unmixed colour now

spread across the canvas, whose white showed through

in

places and

grainy texture determined the surface character of the image.

The forms

increasingly

grew

in size,

and compositional

from the intersection of separate colour


a framework
Schapire.

90

in

From about 1909, Schmidt-

itself felt.

pansive, daringly juxtaposed areas of thinned,

whose

watercolours

of black contour lines, as

lines resulted

fields.

short time later

came

seen

in

the Portrait of

Rosa

in

in

1907. She furthered

numerous

cata-

articles,

in

her apartment (which

was

later

destroyed), for which he designed virtually everything, from murals to

and

furniture, carpets
his patron

these

total of

portraits,

friend,

now

utilitarian

seated

in

objects. Schmidt-Rottluff portrayed

four times between 1911 and 1919.


in

the Briicke-Museum, has

The

of

first

become the most

fa-

earliest Schmidt-Rottluff ever executed.

a half-length, format-filling depiction of the

is

artist's

an armchair. Her head under the broad-brimmed hat

rests musingly on her


veritably explodes,

left

arm.

In

contrast to this calm pose, the colour

accented by energetic brushstrokes and broad ex-

panses. The predominant brown gradations and the green of the

dress set a complementary contrast to and amplify the

arm

raised
violet

in

front of this red

face with

1912

lent his

First

brief

said, occasionally slipped into the

wood

to

The

involvement with French Cubism

subsequent paintings a greater succinctness

1914 he began
blocky

light red.

ground leads the eye to the reddish-

blue eyes.

its brilliant

Schmidt-Rottluff's

his

1905 were marked by a

executed

excited, expressive touch inspired by van

influence also

The

art

art histo-

many works. Schapire commissioned

the young painter to furnish a room

must be

Schmidt-Rottluff's beginnings around

Rottluff's

when

the last war,

in

flames."

monumental Impressionism,

artist's

con-

"In

his style to written analysis.

were destroyed

apartment with about

loguing his prints, purchasing

mous, and was one of the

part

village of

him unreservedly, propagating his

The composition

went

Rosa Schapire, a Hamburg

and passionate supporter of the Brucke,

remained unique. Schmidt-Rott-

Berlin

in

the

in

rian

oped, the character of his works

luff
b.

re-

1910, when a decidedly

in

collective

d.

who

autonomy during

membership

his

youngest

the

but the one

tained the most

his

own)

his

Schmidt-Rottluff had met

in

of

supplement

merely

this style with

iconic. In

that,

in
it

about

impulses from exotic,

sculptures, lending his portaits an African look. After the

World War Schmidt-Rottluff reverted seamlessly to the themes of

the Briicke period, and

in

spite of

many

variations,

cultivate the Expressionist gesture to a ripe old age.

he continued

to

91

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG

1910

The Red Gaze


Oil

on cardboard, 32.2 x 24.6 cm

Munich, Stddtische Galerie im Lenbacbbaus

composer

The

Arnold

Schoenberg, who had been


beginnings

the

1907

in

the hope of making his

in

this

ing

in

Vienna,

1951

in

Los Angeles

Red

atonal

all

of the superficial illus-

trative

tasks of painting, includ-

that of depicting

the face.

have never seen faces,

be-

but,

the eye, only their gazes," stated

in

in

his painting titles,

Gaze.
is

dissolved into schematic, diffuse

colour structures from which the eyes "are directed

turbed souls at the affected viewer


the surrounding colour

field"

..."

like

and yet emerge from


it,

this

to

drown

maelstrom

"in

"like

or like mental precip-

from the depths of a dream. These fantasies

rely to

some

ex-

tent on the palette of a Robert Delaunay or the Fauves; there are a

few points of contact with Gerstl and Kokoschka's painting of the day;
is

surely an inner affinity with the visions of

The immediate

catalyst for these ghostly faces

Gerstl's suicide. Living

himself

in

in

the

November 1908

Munch

may

same house as Schoenberg,

(fig.

10).

have been

well

Gerstl

hung

after breaking off his relationship with

Mathilde Schoenberg.

But

Red Gaze

it

would be mistaken

to interpret

solely in biographical terms.

such depictions as The

There was a

larger,

Symbolist

conception behind them. From about 1908 onwards, Schoenberg devoted himself to the idea of an interdisciplinary work of
92

light

and music as vehicles of meaning

which conveyed not

"alien"

content but their

own

in

Human

sonances.

beings and their image appeared

embodying

de-individualized prototypes,

art

on stage, a

their

intrinsic

suggestive force, their expressiveness, and not

their

own

right,

autonomy,

least, their dis-

context as

in this

universal forces

Schoenberg's friendship with Kandinsky dated

and energies.

to early

1911.

Their respective notions about the essence of art revealed

many

points

in

cultural
allel

common.

Their interest

in

then-emergent theosophy out of

pessimism and an opposition

to materialism resulted

search for the ineffable, metaphysical, purely

berg's

oils

kindred

were

spiritual. In

in

a par-

Schoen-

and watercolours Kandinsky detected the presence of a

spirit.

Franz Marc and especially August Macke,

sceptical.

The

latter

in

contrast,

described Schoenberg's faces as "green-

eyed waterlogged breakfast

rolls

with an astral gaze". Yet


in

it

cannot be

1911, had a

considerable influence on the Munich circle of the Blauer Reiter.


To cite Kandinsky's opinion: "We see that

mirrors of dis-

The heads seem

visions of horror," as Peter-Klaus Schuster put

and there

movement,

addition of their means.

definition of colour, gesture,

gainsaid that Schoenberg's Harmonielehre, published

Here the human visage

itations

into

Schoenberg aban-

doned

Schoenberg. This tendency was also reflected


such as The

period

art

mere

From these considerations he derived a

Launch-

in

ing

have looked people

26).

(fig.

music,

"I

cause

from

instruction

brief

that

at

He

metier as well.

Richard Gerstl

1874

in

mark

received

b.

at

Blauer

began painting

Reiter group,

d.

the

ot

in

true synthesis of the arts rather than a

Schoenberg the inner desire


it.

Just as

in

the harmful)

his
in

the necessary)

sheer painting."

music

speaks

in
in

every picture by

the form suited to

Schoenberg does without the

painting and
...

of the artist

goes by a

would very much

superficial

direct path to the essential

like to call

(i.

e.

(i.e.

Schoenberg's painting

93

MARIANNE VON WEREFKIN

c.

1910

self-portrait
Tempera on paper on cardboard, 51 x 34 cm
Munich, Stddtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

Marianne

von

who had

aristocratic family
ties

mother,

close

the czar's court. Her

with

herself

painter,

ap-

proved of her idea of becoming

an

artist

from the beginning. Af-

ter receiving

private instruction,

von Werefkin attended

Moscow

in

and,

art

from

school

1886,

spent ten years as a private pupil


of the
b.

1860

in

Tula, d.

1938

in

Ascona

llya

renowned

in

connection with a tragic

affair with

gunshot wound that crippled her

history painter

Repin (1844-1930)

Petersburg.

in

St.

1888, apparently

In

a young doctor, she received a

right hand. Yet

thanks to enormous

will-power and arduous training she learned to handle brush and penagain,

cil

and with great success -

in

academy

circles

brated as a "Russian Rembrandt". The year 1891

love with a young, penniless officer by the

name

she was cele-

brought an en-

counter that would have great consequences for her

life.

She

fell

in

of Alexei Jawlensky.

Since marriage was precluded for reasons of status, the pair moved
abroad, arriving
kin

Munich

in

896. There, on Giselastrasse, von Weref-

brought into being a salon that soon became a gathering point for

intellectuals

by

in

the

and

artists,

especially Russians.

early-nineteenth-century

Around 1900, inspired

Romantic group

Nazarenes, she formed a community of

artists

known as the

which was soon joined

by Kandinsky. She worshipped Romanticism, and revered French


Symbolist

The Symbolistically tinged

literature.

also impressed her.

In

painting of the Nabis

1907, after a ten-year break

in

which she con-

cerned herself primarily with her partner's career, she returned to


painting. In

1909 she became a founding member

of the

New

Artists

Association of Munich, but did not go along with the Blauer Reiter

when they
94

split off in

Her

Werefkin

came from a prosperous Russian

1911, and thus stood between the two camps.

ing the

Self-Portrait at the

happy years

Lenbachhaus

in

Munich was done durKandinsky and

of her close artistic contacts with

Gabriele Munter. The energetic pose, striking facial features, and ex-

travagant headgear reveal


personality of the

much about

the worldly-wise and shrewd

The strong colours applied

sitter.

in

broad brush-

strokes and the continuous contour holding together the elongated

forms
kin:

reflect the influences that held

most importance

for

von Weref-

the Nabis, and the "soul painting" of Edvard Munch. Beginning

from such points of departure, the


those

to include

brilliant

artist

augmented her colour range

contrasts typical of Expressionism. Yet the

configurations were not yet abstracted to the point that they

subordinate to the colour, as

in

the case of

Line continued to play the key role

why

the pictorial

for instance,

in

field

in

many Brucke

defining the composition. This

does not take on the extremely

Jawlensky's

portraits.

became

paintings.

flat

is

effect seen,

noticeable traditionalism,

com-

bined with a certain mystical, Symbolist undertone, apparently pre-

vented von Werefkin -

who understood women's

communication - from

role principally as

what she so

elo-

quently advocated theoretically, namely the step to abstraction.

She

one

of

was probably

material

in

putting into practice

acquainting Kandinsky with the anthro-

posophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner and the early theosophical


writings of

Madame

Blavatsky, which furthered his turn to pure, spir-

itualized abstraction.
In

920, von Werefkin and Jawlensky separated

where they had gone

Ascona

in

1938.

to

in

Switzerland,

escape the war. She died impoverished

in

95

2004TASCHEN GmbH
Hohenzollernring 53,

Photo

D-50672

credits:

The publishers would

Koln

www.taschen.com

express their thanks to the archives, museums,

like to

private collections, galleries

and photographers

support

for their kind

production of this book and for making their pictures available.


otherwise, the reproductions were

Editing: Uta Grosenick, Cologne


Editorial coordination: Sabine BleBmann,

Design: Sense/Net, Andy

Disl

and

Cologne

Birgit Reber,

publishers.

Cologne

In

made from

made

is

ARTOTHEK:

(left),

in

the

not stated

material from the archive of the

addition to the institutions and collections

descriptions, special mention

If

named

in

the picture

of the following:

Production: Ute Wachendorf, Cologne

English translation: John Gabriel, Worpswede

p.

(left), 8,

14

16

(right),

21, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47,

49, 53, 63, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 77, 83, 87, 93,

95

ISBN 3-8228-2126-8

Phototheque des Musees de la Ville de Paris:


Musee Calvet, Avignon: S. 13 (photo: Andre Guerrand)
Archiv fur Kunst und Geschichte, Berlin: 19, 20 (right),

Copyright:

61,79,85,89,91,92

Printed

in

Germany

p.

p.

for the works of Max

Beckmann,

Otto Dix, Kees van Dongen,

James

Pierre Bonnard, Heinrich

Ensor, Lyonel Feininger,

Campendonk,

Conrad

George Grosz, Alexei von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul

Klee,

Felixmuller,

Oskar

Kokoschka, Gabriele Munter, Christian Rohlfs, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Georges


Rouault, Arnold Schonberg,

Chaim Soutine: VG

Bild-Kunst,

Bild-Kunst,

for the

work

Stiftung Archiv der

Akademie der Kunste,

Berlin:

p.

24

(right),

(left)

Bildarchiv PreuBischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

Hamburger

Kunsthalle: S. 81 (photo: Elke Walford)

Saint Louis Art

Museum,

St.

Louis:

p.

29,

33

Bonn 2004

for the work of Ernst Barlach: Ernst Barlach Lizenzverwaltung,


for the work of Henri Matisse: Succession H. Matisse/
VG

22

Ratzeburg

Bonn 2004
of Edvard

Munch: The Munch Museum/

The Munch Ellingsen Group/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2004

for the

works of Emil Nolde: Nolde-Stiftung, Seebull 2004

for the

work

VG

Bild-Kunst,

of

Jackson Pollock: Pollock-Krasner Foundation/

Bonn 2004

for the works of

Max

Pechstein: Pechstein - Hamburg/Tokendorf

Page

2004

Page 4

WASSILY KANDINSKY
Cover

for the catalogue of the

exhibition, based

OTTO MUELLER
first

"Blauer Reiter"

on an Indian-ink drawing

Two

Sisters

n.d.,

Distemper on burlap, 90 x 71

St.

Louis, Saint Louis Art

Bequest of Morton D.
Page 2

AUGUST MACKE
Shop
on canvas, 60.5 x 50.5
Essen, Museum Folkwang
Milliner's

1914, Oil

cm

Museum,

May

cm

23, 51,

in this

series

Klaus Humid
EXPRESSIONISM
SURREALISM athrin Klin
REALISM Kenan Stremmd
DADAISM Dietmai
POPART

\\,,ll

VIDEO

Ig

ART Joshua

CUBISM Anne Gantefuhi


FANTASY ART Walter Schui

CONCEPT ART

ART

Daniel Ma./

V
FUTURISM
Sylvia Martin
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
MINIMAL

Daniel

Art

Barbara Hess

from TASCHEN -

a selection
ART OF THE 20 th CENTURY
Karl Kiilni

IngoF.

Sdmedcenburger,

MAX BECKMANN Ke.nha.d Spu


OTTO DIX
EXPRESSIONISM GEORGE GROSZ
WASSILY KANDINSKY ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER V
PAUL KLEE

\\ .I.Ik
(

hri

,.||

Sn

AUGUST MACKE Anna


FRANZ MARC
Partsdi
EDVARD MUNCH Ulridi Bischofl
EGON SCHIELE Ke.nl.
i

"Back to
visual basics."
International Herald Tribune, Paris

www.taschen.com

Klaus

Honnd

"work! intoxication! Brain racking!


chewing, eating, gorging, rooting up!
Rapturous birth pangs! jabbing of
the brush, preferably right through the
canvas. Trampling on paint tubes ..."
Max

Pechstein,

920

/in Germany, but a

the E'
in

an

entirely

new

way.

Max Pe

youth

ERNST BARLACH MAX BECKMANN HEINRICH CAMPENDONK LOVIS CORINTH


OTTO DIX LYONEL FEININGER GEORGE GROSZ ERICH HECKEL
ALEXEI VON JAWLENSKY WASSILY KANDINSKY ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER
PAUL KLEE OSKAR KOKOSCHKA WILHELM LEHMBRUCK AUGUST MACKE
FRANZ MARC LUDWIG MEIDNER PAULA MODERSOHN-BECKER OTTO MUELLER
GABRIELE MUNTER EMIL NOLDE MAX PECHSTEIN CHRISTIAN ROHLFS
EGON SCHIELE KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF ARNOLD SCHOENBERG
MARIANNE VON WEREFKIN

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