GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM AND ABSTRACT ART by Charles L. Kuhn

GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM AND ABSTRACT ART

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Secessionists from the murky naturalist art of the Age of Bismarck united in Munich and Vienna before the turn of this century. Then Art K produced its own secessionists. Munch, Gaugin, and Van Gogh had their way with German painting all imbuing nature with their own emotional attitudes. Expressionism dominated in a reaction against Impressionism (1906-1915). As the Fauves revolted in Paris, Brucke and the later group Der Blaue Reiter came into their own. Too, recognition of the Deutsche Wekstatte and its high quality of machine-made objects delineated a movement which would have aftermath in the years between the wars. World War I fired other offshoots of individualism as well as movements of despair -- dadaism; and of significant achievement -- in the foundation of Gropius' Bauhaus at Weimar. As political nationalism arose, artistic exodus began -- to the benefit of the United States artistically. Beckman, Feininger and Kokoschka, Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Moholy-Nagy emigrated. From the munificence of the Harvard collections examples trace these movements and show the achievements of German artists and others who felt their influence. Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, George Grosz, Lyonel Feininger, Emil Nolde and Kathe Koliwitz speak of these years in their woodcuts, water colors, oils, and sculptures. All works shown, with the exception of the frontispiece and the jacket, are in black and white. The orderly chronological arrangement of text and of the impressive catalogue of reproductions is helpful in delineating Germany's artistic cycles. An impressive restrospective gathering -- this is an important artistic commentary for the serious painter and for the art shelves of libraries which specialize at all in fine art books.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1957
Publisher: Harvard University Press