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Expressionist Paintings

introduction to expressionism

Shifts in creative techniques and vision erupted across Europe around the beginning of the century in reaction to huge societal developments. The word “Expressionism” is believed to have originated from Antonin Matejcek, an art historian, who created the term to indicate the complete reverse of Impressionism.


The Scream  (1893) Edvard Munch


Large Blue Horses  (1911) Franz Marc


Street, Berlin  (1913) Ernst Ludwig Kirchner


The Cyclist  (1913) Natalia Goncharova


Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up  (1917) Egon Schiele


Portrait of a Man  (c. 1918) Erich Heckel

the term "expressionist artwork"

Antonin Matejcek is credited with coining the term “Expressionism.”  He was an art historian who coined the word to describe the polar opposite of Impressionism.

what was unique about expressionism?

Unlike Impressionism’s bucolic settings and Neoclassicism’s scholarly sketches, Die Brücke painters employed deformed shapes and discordant, artificial colors to provoke the audience’s emotional reaction. A minimalist and primal aesthetic also bound the group together.


The group of painters that formed Der Blaue Reiter had a preference for abstractions, figurative substance, and spiritual connotations. Their name was inspired by a depiction of a steed and rider from one of Wassily Kandinsky’s works.