Sunday, November 13, 2011

German Expressionists in Paris

Expressionism opposed to Impressionism? Painting visual appearances or the emotions they provoke? The question gets deeper with the exhibition at the Pinacotheque in Paris "Expresssionismus & Expressionismi, Berlin-Munich 1905-1920 Der Blaue Reiter vs Brucke" which opposes the two German Expressionist movements.

The paintings, one hundred and seventy in all, illustrate the difference between the two movements. Grouped by subjects (portraits, landscapes, travels, nudes...) with paintings from artists seldom shown like Gabriel Munter, Gontcharova, Von Jawlensky, Marc, Macke, Verefkin, Larionov, Pechstein and more.
Small dots next to the paintings, blue or red, identify which group the painter belonged too, Northerners from Dresden or Blue Reiders from Munich.

As I progress through this very didactic exhibition, I recognize the artists: Nolde with his heavy pasty, aggressive colors with the subject in the foreground taking over the canvas, Kirchner with his yellowish skin tones filling sharp black drawings, Werefkin with her poetic and dreamy paintings. Kandinsky is well represented with paintings assembled from far away places like "Arabes III" 1911, already abstract with the hazy figures melting in the background, on loan from the National Gallery of Armenia or "Improvisation 34" 1913, aquatic composition from the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Kazan, Tatarstan Republic (I had to look on a map to find Kazan). A productive artistic time in Germany is unfolding room after room in front of the visitor who can visualize the difference between the two movements: aggressive, primitive, fauvist, rebellious with Die Brucke, opposed to Der Blaue Reiter more intellectual, spiritual, with softer colors and lines, more thoughtful, appeased and also rebellious .
The exhibition has reached its goal and I am leaving with an understanding of these two German movements which lost too many of their members during WWI and then were banned by Hitler.

photographs were not allowed

public domain from top to bottom:

"Three Bathers" Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1913

"Sturmwind" Marianne Von Werefkin, 1915-17

"Schokko with Red Hat" Alexej von Jawlensky, 1909

"Der Traum" Franz Marc

1 comment:

scott davidson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.