German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse

Sixth floor

From E. L. Kirchner to Max Beckmann, artists associated with German Expressionism in the early decades of the twentieth century took up printmaking with a collective dedication and fervor virtually unparalleled in the history of art.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA in United States.
From Sunday 27 March 2011 to Monday 11 July 2011

Skull (Schädel) from the portfolio The War (Der Krieg). 1924 image Café Couple (Paar im Café). 1921 image Standing Male Nude with Arm Raised, Back View image Dancer in the Mirror (Tänzerin im Spiegel). 1923 image Prophet. 1912 image Dancer (Tänzerin). 1913 image Self Portrait with Burin (Selbstporträt mit Radiernadel). 1920 image Riding School After Ridinger (Reitschule nach Ridinger). 1913 image Carnival in Berlin N III (Fasching Berlin N III). c. 1930 image Hans Tietze and Erica Tietze-Conrat (Hans Tietze and Erica Tietze-Conrat). image Winter Moonlit Night (Wintermondnacht).  1919 image Portrait of a Man (Männerbildnis). 1919 image Dancers (Tänzerinnen). 1911, dated 1910 image Shock Troops Advance under Gas (Sturmtruppe geht unter Gas vor) from the portfolio The War (Der Krieg).
1924 image Procuress (Kupplerin). 1923 image Self Portrait (Selbstbildnis). 1914, published 1918 image Group Portrait, Eden Bar (Gruppenbildnis Edenbar). 1923 image

Published by MOMA on Thursday 27 January 2011.
Contact the publisher.

The woodcut, with its coarse gouges and jagged lines, is known as the preeminent Expressionist medium, but the Expressionists also revolutionized the mediums of etching and lithography to alternately vibrant and stark effect. This exhibition, featuring approximately 250 works by some thirty artists, is drawn from MoMA’s outstanding holdings of German Expressionist prints, enhanced by selected drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the collection. The graphic impulse is traced from the formation of the Brücke artists group in 1905, through the war years of the 1910s, and extending into the 1920s, when individual artists continued to produce compelling work even as the movement was winding down.

The exhibition takes a broad view of Expressionism, highlighting a diverse array of individuals—from Oskar Kokoschka and Vasily Kandinsky to Erich Heckel and Emil Nolde—who nonetheless shared visual and thematic concerns. Their works reflect a period of intense social and aesthetic transformation, and several themes of continuing resonance emerge. These include a focus on urban experience, an uncompromising approach to the body and sexuality, and an abiding preoccupation with nature, religion, and spirituality. Most pivotal for these years, however, was the experience of World War I. The war and its aftermath are the subject of works by a range of artists, including Otto Dix, whose series of fifty searing etchings, The War, was based on his own service in the trenches; Käthe Kollwitz, in a portfolio of seven woodcuts focusing on the devastation felt by the families left behind; and Max Beckmann, whose lithographic series, Hell (1919), confronts the violence and decadence in Berlin during the immediate postwar period.

In addition to a publication and a major website on German Expressionism, the exhibition will mark the culmination of a major four-year grant from The Annenberg Foundation to digitize, catalogue, and conserve all of the approximately three thousand Expressionist works on paper in the Museum’s collection.