Chronology MMoCA Collects


German Expressionism (1905–1933)

German Expressionism marks the history of modern art in Germany from the first decade of the twentieth century until the early 1930s. Before World War I, its development took form in two major art movements: Brücke or "Bridge" (19051913) and Der Blaue Reiter or "The Blue Rider" (1911–1914). Expressionist style in the twentieth century had its origins in the art of these groups, whose artists looked to Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and the art of the South Pacific and Africa for inspiration. Favoring intense exaggerations of color and form, artists wished to create forceful expressions of their emotional responses to the subjects they were interpreting. Everyday urban life and nature were their most important themes.

After World War II, modern artists in Germany softened the forcefulness of pre-war styles in a more realistic tendency known as Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). Artists employed allegory and satire to criticize the evil forces in a society battered by political and economic stress. In 1932, the new Nazi government condemned German Expressionism and modern art in general as "degenerate" and a threat to German nationalism. Only after World War II would modern art thrive again in Germany.