Expressionistic Styles – Differences and Similarities

Expressionism - Evening on Karl Johan Street by Edvard MunchExpressionism is an intensely popular art form which lasted the span of the 20th Century.  Its roots began in Germany in the very early 1900s, born out of the desire to place more emphasis on the emotions and feelings that a piece of art can produce in the viewer over an attempt to recreate a reality on the canvas.  German Expressionism gave way into Expressionism around the world, which eventually took root in New York City after World War II with the dawning of Abstract Expressionism.  All three forms use bright primary colors to evoke emotion and all will usually depict simple shapes and dissolved, unclear forms of images that will better capture the emotional angst which is felt about the issue rather than a clear definition of what the issue actually is.

Abstract Expressionism, unlike the earlier German Expressionism, places a large emphasis on the use of action paintings, which capture the artist’s mood and feelings at the time of painting rather than painstakingly making a portrait of an idea.  These paintings are often loud and vibrant and grab the viewer, much as the famous No. 5 by Pollock.  At any rate, these Expressionist paintings seek to take the viewer on an emotional journey by experiencing them, rather than merely inspiring an admiration for the technical skill that goes into creating the art.

Abstract Expressionism - Jackson Pollock - Blue Poles-11

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