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Dec - 19 - 2012

munch.screamMovement in fine arts that emphasized the expression of inner experience rather than solely realistic portrayal, seeking to depict not objective reality but the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artist.

Expressionism, artistic style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in him. He accomplishes his aim through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of formal elements. In a broader sense Expressionism is one of the main currents of art in the later 19th and the 20th centuries, and its qualities of highly subjective, personal, spontaneous self-expression are typical of a wide range of modern artists and art movements. Expressionism can also be seen as a permanent tendency in Germanic and Nordic art from at least the European Middle Ages, particularly in times of social change or spiritual crisis, and in this sense it forms the converse of the rationalist and classicizing tendencies of Italy and later of France.

Artistic and literary movement born in the early years of the XXth century. Unlike Impressionism, its goals were not to reproduce the impression suggested by the surrounding world, but to strongly impose the artist’s own sensibility to the world’s representation. The expressionist artist substitutes to the visul object reality his own image of this object, which he feels as an accurate representation of its real meaning. The search of harmony and forms is not as important as trying to achieve the highest expression intensity, both from the aesthetic point of view and according to idea and human critics.

Expressionism assessed itself mostly in Germany, in 1910, (München, Dresde, Berlin), as heir of a national trend related to Grünewald: the Wallraf-Richartz museum, in Köln, has the richest collection of this era. As an international movement, expressionism has also been thought of as inheriting from certain medieval artforms and, more directly, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and the fauvism movement. Gustave Moreau was already saying not to believe to the reality of what he touched or saw, but instead to his own interior perception; expressionism has been holding this theory to its extreme application.

The most famed German expressionists are Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein; the Austrian Oskar Kokoschka, the Czech Alfred Kubin and the Norvegian Edvard Munch are also related to this movement. During his stay in Germany, the Russian Kandinsky was also an expressionism addict.

Painters as varied as Georges Rouault, Henry de Waroquier, Marcel Gromaire, Edouard Goerg have also been qualified of “French expressionists”. Other members were, in Belgium, James Ensor, Permecke, Van der Bergue, Servaes were seen as disciples of Jérôme Bosch and Bruegel, the Dutch Leo Gestel, the Danish Sörensen, the British Lyall Watson. Among the members of the Paris school, Soutine, Pascin and Modigliani have been attached to expressionism.
1921; Forme d’art faisant consister la valeur de la représentation dans l’intensité de l’expression. L’expressionnisme s’est d’abord manifesté dans la peinture par réaction contre l’impressionnisme. L’expressionnisme allemand, flamand. Rouault, Ensor, Munch, Kokoschka, Soutine, représentants célèbres de l’expressionnisme.

Le terme nouveau d’expressionnisme est venu du mot «expression» pris dans son sens classique de «représentation des passions». Si l’on se réfère à la proposition de Diderot, «on a de l’expression avant d’avoir de l’exécution et du dessin», il ne faut pas s’étonner que le terme «Expressionismus» ait été proposé par la critique allemande, il y a cinquante ans, pour qualifier en général toute peinture, mais particulièrement celle où la représentation des sentiments humains passe avant la résolution des problèmes purement plastiques… C’est un retour à une forme sentimentale de Romantisme.
— M. Raynal, la Peinture moderne.

Par ext. L’expressionnisme au théâtre. L’expressionnisme allemand est une réaction contre l’observation naturaliste. Certaines théories dramatiques de Diderot annoncent l’expressionnisme. L’expressionnisme dans la mise en scène. — L’expressionnisme au cinéma.

Dans les jours troublés qui suivirent la défaite, l’expressionnisme envahit la rue berlinoise, les affiches, le théâtre, la décoration des cafés, les boutiques et les étalages (…) Les films doivent devenir des dessins rendus vivants, proclamait alors Herman Warm (…) L’horreur, le fantastique et le crime dominent l’expressionnisme qu’on aurait pourtant tort de considérer comme une transition entre le Grand­Guignol et la terreur américaine à la Frankenstein (…) Sur le plan technique, l’expressionnisme évolua sans perdre son principe : une vision subjective du monde (…) L’emploi expressif de la lumière devint la marque du cinéma allemand, expressionniste ou non.

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