Post impressionism, van gogh, expressionism and surrealism


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  • Germany lacked a traditional capital city that could serve to centre, organise and distribute its cultural energies, its history of modern art has tended more often to be regional and decentralized due to German Federalism; the cultural life of each town tended to be, in some degree, separate from and in competition with the others. After 1900 Berlin became more and more the focal point of all the arts, but Munich too was the centre of International importance (then cologne, Dresden and Hanover). Each had its Academic establishment. Thus, Berlin while clearl the meeting and displaying point for any new movement was also the centre point of artistic reaction and firmly kept such by the personal involvement of the Kaiser. [N.B. Blaue Reiter book was dedicated to the memory of Hugo von Tschudi – who up until 1908 directed the National Gallery in Berlin, when he had a violent disagreement with the Kaiser over his buying of French 19 th Century art. The Kaiser also had to officially approve of new art groups/movements, so when the government weakened, so did ‘official art groups’, herefore groups and movements multiplied freely. In reaction to the governments’ stronghold, there was always a strong patronage to support new artists – as it was seen as a political statement. It’s quite important to note that officialdom in Germany was over-eager to denounce these groups as subversive. This forced them into allegiances that did not necessarily spring from any deep political engagement on their part and gave Expressionism the character of a movement of a political protest, although in fact surprisingly few of the works make political points. It also guaranteed artists in an interested public among left-thinking people. {German political system was constantly either far left or far right]. It was not until the expressive paintings of the elderly Realist Max Liebermann and the richly painterly canvases of Lovis Corinth that they were able to produce an art whose emotional power and raw pictorial surfaces make contemporary French work seem precise and cool. Remember that it wasn’t until 1871 and the Franco-Prussian war that united Germany and made Berlin it’s Capital. Never the less, the unified Germany still consisted of 25 separate areas – 4 kingdoms, six grand-duchies, five duchies, six principalities, 3 free cities and the imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine.
  • All these artists produced work that, like that of their French counterparts, the Fauves, was dominated by high-intensity colour and stemmed from the work of van Gogh and Gauguin. For the Expressionists, the emotional strength of their subjects was as important as the colour . Die Brucke (The Bridge) – first German avant-garde group of the new century - has sometimes been seen simply as a German extension of French Fauvism. However, it seems to have little knowledge of what was taking place in France, with the resemblance being largely coincidental.
  • The brothel imagery of Kirchner derived from a long tradition in vanguard painting stemming from Manet, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. In the German work, the subject matter was given renewed power through the used of expressive formal devices that intensify the picture’s tortuous emotional atmosphere. How different this is from the timeless nudes of Cezanne and Renoir.
  • When Brucke artists formed their group, they were seeking to share not only their work but also their lives. In September 1906, Heckel organised a cobbler’s workshop as a studio for the group in the middle of Dresden’s working class area, around the railway station. Even the furnishings o this shared room was a demonstration that the artists did not distinguish between work and life. Both were seen as inseparable. The furniture was home made and painted with exotic themes. The tapestries were decorated with their own batik prints. This is where they painted together, discussed the results, read poetry and Nietzsche and generally inspired and influenced each other. The friends met nearly every day to work together, which led to a unified style within their group and showed itself most clearly in paints from their trips to the Moritzburg Lakes from 1909-1911. The frontality and forward thrust of the figures are reminiscent of Munch. Planes of bright colour are rhymically co-ordinated. The Artist and his Model is laid our within a strictly confined picture space whose 2D surface is emphasized by the red curtain on the left and the pink rectangle on the right; the painter, in an orange dressing gown with blue stripes, looms large in the foreground, his model is seated behind him on a crimson divan. The tense atmosphere and hard egocentric gaze of both are typical of expressionist art.
  • The nude theme was very central to Expressionism, because the artists saw their unclothed models as creatures carried off into the a state of unspoilt arcadia. By painting nudes in his studio and – even more so in the open air, the artist tried to approach his ideal of a life that was free from inhibitions and in harmony with nature. On numerous occasions he took his models to Moritzburg Lakes, with artistic results that most fruitfully reflected his attempts to live a life shared with others and free from all the fetters of civilization.
  • Until 1907 Heckel mainly painted on hardboard before switching to canvas. At that time, Heckel was still applying paint straight from the tube onto the surface, without thinning it down before applying it in short lines. When the Brucke artists rebelled and turned away from academic art training, they also rejected the idea of depth of perspective. It is true that our visual experience leads us to discern a perspective hierarchy in the various elements in Heckel’s ‘Red Houses’, partly because we know that there is a shape further back which is covered by the other objects. Heckel, however, applied the paint in such a way that this visual experience was counteracted as far as possible. In doing so, he also detached the colours from the objects to which they belonged.
  • Nolde used the powerful balance and white contrast produced by woodcut to great effect. His use of the medium was partly inspired by younger colleagues from Die Brucke group.
  • The Blaue Reiter artists in Munich are often seen in German Expressionism as diametrically opposed to the Dresden-based Brucke. This is because their approaches were in may ways totally different and cannot be compared at all, in may cases. The Munich artists were not a fixed group that expressed its views publicly in the form of joint manifestos. Nor did they develop a collective style that was shared by every single one of them. Instead, each of them created his own characteristic world of motifs. The Blaue Reiter was originally the title of a publication by Reinhard Piper Publishers, planned as an almanac and edited by Wassily Kandinsky together with Franz Marc. Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky first met after Marc at the end of 1910, after Marc had written a positive review of the second exhibition of the Neue Kunstlervereinigung Munchen…. Whilst ‘active members’ of the Brucke were male and German – the make-up of the Munich based association was cosmopolitan and open to the membership of women practitioners. Barred from entry to academies in Germany, women artists followed the fundmentals of male avant-garde practice – a rejection of training and an adoption of the lesser genres of landscape, still-life, portraiture and interiors as vehicles to explore their technique/style.
  • Kandinsky initially struggled to get enrolled into an Academy – studying art in the private studio of Anton Azbe, where he met Jawlensky and other Russian students. Once he did get a place, Kandinsky was dismissive of the academic practice of drawing from the model: “Two or three models ‘sat for heads’ or ‘posed nude’. Students of both sexes and from various countries thronged around these smelly, apathetic, expressionless, characterless natural phenomena, who were paid fifty to seventy pfennigs an hour. They drew carefully on paper or canvas… not one second thinking about art.”
  • Kandinsky spent a long time travelling up until 1908 and his favourite painting subject was landscape; however, these were based on his own, personal impressions. With regard to form, Kandinsky took his bearings from French Neo-Impressionism; with the colours in his paintings displaying the typical lightness of open-air painting. The individual colour values have been divided up into short, vivid brush strokes which give a vibrant quality to the entire picture. It was between 1909-1911 he gradually adopted an increasingly abstract style. Kandinsky’s shapes are beginning to be reduced, and the loose, thick areas of colour are spread broadly and generously. As Kandinsky’s colours became increasingly independent, he also reduced the effect of perspective within the picutre.
  • In his Murnau landscapes, encouraged by Jawlensky’s example, Kandinsky gave up the palette-knife in favour of short-haired brushes and larger, unprimed boards. The scale of this image (65x50cm) indicates that he had come to regard this image as a fully ‘worked up’ painting, rather than a mere ‘study’. In this view of the town from Munter’s house, Kandinsky undermined any preliminary compositional structure by his versatile brush technique. As a result, the solidity of the objects is denied, and the onion-domed tower of the Maria-Hilfe Church hovers on the 2D plane. To retain the freshness of the direct colour application, Kandinsky refrained from varnishing his works from 1909 onwards. (Thereby avoiding the ‘brown’ sheen!).
  • Kandinsky’s pursuit of abstraction was to be as important to him as a scientist’s quest to understand the hidden workings of the universe. So it’s important to note that Kandinsky was uncertain about abstraction, hence his need for theoretical justification in response to fierce critical opposition. Kandinsky never quite abandoned landscape painting and even went back to cityscapes on his return to Moscow during 1916.
  • Franz Marc was a pioneer in the birth of abstract art at the beginning of the twentieth-century The Blaue Reiter group put forth a new program for art based on exuberant color and on profoundly felt emotional and spiritual states. It was Marc's particular contribution to introduce paradisiacal imagery that had as its dramatic personae a collection of animals, most notably a group of heroic horses. Tragically, Marc was killed in World War I at the age of thirty-six, but not before he had created some of the most exciting and touching paintings of the Expressionist movement.
  • In this painting, Marc celebrated the nurturing and earthiness of the domestic animal. He portrayed it arrested in dynamic movement, defying gravity, but organically related to the curves of the landscape.
  • This image is one of four: Cheerful forms (destroyed), Playing Forms, Forms in Combat and Broken Forms. Their very titles suggest that a certain freedom of composition has been attained. This sequence of four paintings seems to have been a prophecy of impending war. Landscape motifs can hardly be recognized a all in the painting; rather the painting is dominated b two large red and black shapes, swirling around dynamically. They divide the surface diagonally into a bright, colourful zone and a dark one. The colours penetrate one another at their boundaries and engulf the forms. When war broke out, Marc joined the army voluntarily and with great enthusiasm. He was one of those artists who took a very rosy view of war and saw it as a great communal adventure that would cleanse and renew society. Marc signed up just five days after war was declared on 1 st August 1914, and wrote to his wife: “ The shame of European propriety is no longer tolerable. Better blood than eternal deception; the war is just as much atonement as voluntary sacrifice to which Europe subjected itself in order to ‘come clean’ with itself.”
  • Post impressionism, van gogh, expressionism and surrealism

    1. 1. Post Impressionism Van Gogh Expressionism
    2. 2. Self-Portrait 1887-88 Van Gogh
    3. 3. The Potato Eaters 1885 Oil on canvas
    4. 4. The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise 1890 Oil on canvas (94 x 74 cm) Musee d'Orsay, Paris
    5. 5. The Night Café. 1888. Oil on canvas 70 x 89 cm
    6. 6. Cafe Terrace at Night 1888 Oil on canvas 80 x 65cm
    7. 7. Trees in the Asylum Garden 1889 Oil on canvas (73 x 60 cm) Private collection, U.S.A.
    8. 8. Starry Night. 1889. Oil on canvas. 73 x 92cm
    9. 10. Expressionism
    10. 11. Germany
    11. 12. Expressionism (Often referred to as German Expressionism) <ul><li>Die Br ü cke </li></ul><ul><li>(The Bridge) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded in 1905 in Dresden to 1913 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominated by paintings of one of its founders Ernst Kirchner (1880-1938) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Bleyl were founding members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emil Nolde (Emil Hansen) was a member for a brief period of time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By the end of Die Br ü cke in 1913 there were 75 ‘associate members’ from the Netherlands to Czechoslovakia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NOTE – Fauvism 1904-07 </li></ul><ul><li>Der Blaue Reiter </li></ul><ul><li>(The Blue Rider) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded in 1911 in Munich to 1914* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded as an exhibition society that provided a forum for: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Franz Marc (1880-1916) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gabriele Munter (1877-1962) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Alexej Jawlensky (1864-1941) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(first two German, last two Russian) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>*Start of WWI </li></ul></ul>
    12. 13. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ‘Nude Woman Combing her Hair’, 1913
    13. 14. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ‘The Artist and his Model’, 1907
    14. 15. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ‘Marcella’,1909
    15. 16. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ‘Bathers at Moritzburg’, 1909 (reworked 1926)
    16. 17. Erich Heckel ‘Red Houses’, 1908
    17. 18. Erich Heckel ‘Windmill near Dangast’, 1909
    18. 19. Emil Nolde ‘The Prophet’, 1912
    19. 20. Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) Founded in 1911 Ended in 1914
    20. 21. Wassily Kandinsky ‘Old Town II’, 1902
    21. 22. Wassily Kandinsky ‘Autumn in Bavaria’, 1908
    22. 23. Wassily Kandinsky ‘Church in Murnau’, 1910
    23. 24. Wassily Kandinsky ‘Composition IV’, 1911
    24. 25. Wassily Kandinsky ‘Composition VII’, 1913
    25. 26. Franz Marc ‘Horse in  a Landscape’, 1910
    26. 27. Franz Marc ‘Yellow Cow’, 1911
    27. 28. Franz Marc ‘Fighting Forms’, 1914
    28. 29. Surrealism Origins Initially a literary movement Manifesto by Breton ( poet ) founded in 1924 Grew directly out of Dada Breton, Ernst, Arp, Magritte, Dali Influenced by work of Sigmund Freud in Psychoanalysis, the subconscious and dream interpretation Influenced by De Chirico - metaphysical painter
    29. 30. Giorgio De Chirico The Great Metaphysician 1917
    30. 31. Giorgio de Chirico The Soothsayer’s Recompense 1913
    31. 32. Miro The Birth of the World
    32. 33. Joan Miro - The Harelquin’s Carnival 1924 - 25
    33. 34. Max Ernst Gray Forest 1927
    34. 35. Ernst – Europe after the Rain 1940-42
    35. 36. The Great Masturbator 1929
    36. 37. Salvador Dali - The Persistence of Memory 1931
    37. 38. Dali Soft Construction with Boiled beans :Premonition of Civil War. 1936
    38. 39. Magritte The Treachery( or Perfidy) of Images 1928 - 29
    39. 40. Magritte Castle of the Pyrenees
    40. 41. Magritte The Empire of Lights 1954