German Expressionism: first stage Who has not seen a copy of “The cry”? His painter, a Norwegian, Eduard Munch, has surprised Germany when he exhibits it at Berlin… and the exhibition was closed. Munch will be an important influencer in the new artists of Dresden. Before this, the Germans were painting pure nature and they needed a fresh view. In 1905, E. Kirchner, Pechstein, K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel and Beyl had conformed a group named “The bridge” (Die brüke), and they called together the youth as the coming future and freedom and they said that it was a bridge to future, to another side. In 1906 they invited Emil Node to join them. They do not pretend to create an artistic association but a community of art and life. At first pictures were made by all of them, so it is very difficult recognize the author. Mural, batik, and furniture were included but soon they returned to painting, sculpture and the art of engraving. They took art as an expression, as active forms, with aggressively, were interested in a chromatic revolution and they were the first German expressionists. A recurrent theme was “the nude of a quarter hour” for the quickness in doing it. One of the specific ads of this group was in graphic works, specially engraving. They transformed graphic in a major art, with monumental effects, thick lines, rude silhouettes, great surfaces placed next to each other and complex forms in white and black. However, the engraved was the essay for treatment of borders deformed, decomposition and figures plasticity. They worked with dissonant colors and this group remained until 1910. While the fauvism (see my abstract) was consolidating his style, the expressionists were in a growing phase. Around 1908, Pechstein went to Paris, met van Dongen and Matisse, so the Germans could see some fauvist’s works.
Instead of this influence they soon went far in vitality and the stroke brushes were willing and indolent. We can see a quickly work, colors with surfaces good limited by heavy outlines, themes simplified at the maximum and there are not shadows. Themes are connected with erotic join to nature. These artists show his most immediately and instinctive reactions, the primitivism of the psyche. Since 1910 we can find two important influences: the German artistic tradition and Nietzsche and the vitals philosophers. Between poets and painters, the expressionism searches an exchange more active between life and art. In this year, at Munich, Kandinsky arranges another group: The blue rider (Die bleue reiter) with Franz Marc, Macke, Münter and others. Little by little they go to abstraction. They say that art has to do with “an internal need”. In addition, we can find a return to primitive arts, childish art and Russian art. They begin to paint glass, without perspective, simple forms with black outlines. Between 1910 and 1914 Kandinsky begin to paint great colored surfaces without recognized forms. This transition supposes a spiritual change, and all is influenced by theosophical theories. With First War many of them died or became foolish. Those who survived, continued with expressionism but in a second stage.