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The term ‘expressionism’ refers in general to the deliberate distortion and exaggeration of forms for expressive effect in artworks. It may also be used with reference to particular historical or cultural iterations—as in (most commonly) German Expressionism, which refers to specific artists and practices of the early 20th century (see Expressionism). Both approaches are useful in the context of American art history. For example, the expressive qualities of the work of such 19th-century artists as Albert Pinkham Ryder or George Inness have long been noted in histories of American art and artists. Attention has focused as well on groups of artists active at mid-century in America’s urban centres who adopted the term as a conscious description of themselves and their intentions.

Prior to 1914 Expressionism was understood more or less to be a synonym of Post-Impressionism, the somewhat ambiguous name coined by British art historian Roger Fry to describe a group of mostly French artists including Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. In the context of an early appearance in a ...


Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Chropyně, Moravia [now Czech Republic], April 4, 1882; d Prague, Oct 6, 1953).

Czech painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer and collector. After a short period at a business school and in an insurance office in Brno, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1903). In 1904 he won the Academy’s first prize. At the end of the year he set out on a lengthy journey to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy. He became absorbed in the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt. His own style passed from Post-Impressionism to a more expressive dominance of colour. In 1907 he took part in the first exhibition of The Eight (see Eight, the) with a programme painting, the Reader of Dostoyevsky (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), partly influenced by the Munch exhibition in Prague in 1905. At the same time the picture is a very personal manifesto reflecting the Angst and scepticism of his generation. At the second exhibition of The Eight in ...


Anne K. Swartz

(b Philadelphia, PA, Jan 14, 1939).

American painter. Fishman is an abstract painter who came of age at the end of the 1960s when Abstract Expressionism was the dominant mode of painting and the Women’s Movement was gaining momentum. She attended the Philadelphia College of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, eventually receiving her BFA and BS degree from Tyler School of Fine Arts. There she received two senior prizes—the First Painting Prize, Student Exhibit, Tyler School of Art, and the Bertha Lowenberg Prize for the Senior Woman to Excel in Art (1963). She went on to receive her MFA from University of Illinois in Champaign (1965); that same year, she relocated to New York City. She received numerous grants and fellowships, including National Endowment for the Arts grants (1975–6; 1983–4; 1994); a Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting (1979); a fellowship to the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire (...


(b New York, May 30, 1931).

American painter, draughtswoman and sculptor. She studied at Yale University, New Haven, CT (1952) and at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (1953), where she was influenced by Abstract Expressionism. Her first solo exhibition was in 1959 at the Roko Gallery, New York. In the early 1970s, in her first mature works, she drew on family-album photographs and then photographs from magazines of public figures. Her concern for prevailing feminist issues was revealed in the well-known Gray Border series (1975–6), in which she concentrated on several feminized still-lifes painted in a Photorealist style. In large-scale paintings she manipulated stereotypes of art and femininity. A luminous spatial maze of intricately ordered objects appears in such works as Leonardo’s Lady (1.88×2.03 m, 1975; New York, MOMA), in which a perfect pink rose, an art-historical treatise, lipstick, a Baroque-style statuette of a Cupid, costume jewellery, nail-varnish and other equally lustrous objects float above a picture plane that is never clearly defined. From the early 1980s Flack made large-scale indoor and outdoor sculptures based on female deities, imaginary and Classical. Examples of her work are in numerous private and public collections, notably the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC....


Wojciech Włodarczyk

[Pol. Formiści]

Polish group of painters and sculptors that flourished between 1917 and 1922, from 1917 to 1919 known as the Polish Expressionists (Ekspresjoniści Polscy). A foretaste of the Formists’ work appeared in the three Wystawy niezależnych (‘Exhibitions of the Independents’; 1911–13) in Kraków, organized by the artists later to become leading Formists: the painter and stage designer Andrzej Pronaszko (1888–1961), his brother Zbigniew Pronaszko and Tytus Czyżewski, who all opposed Impressionism and favoured Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism. The Formists first exhibited in Kraków in 1917. Their aim was to find a new form and a new national style (they saw themselves as the Polish equivalent of the Italian Futurists and French Cubists) that was in part a continuation of the artistic ideology of the turn of the century (Polish modernism). A wide variety of artists took part in Formist exhibitions, including Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Leon Chwistek, the painter ...


Sixten Ringbom

(Valdemar) [Gallén, Axel until 1904]

(b Pori [Swed. Björneborg], Finland, April 26, 1865; d Stockholm, March 7, 1931).

Finnish painter, graphic artist and designer. He learnt the elements of drawing and painting in Helsinki at the School of the Finnish Arts Society and the studio of the painter Adolf von Becker (1831–1909).

His first significant painting, The Boy and the Crow (1884; Helsinki, Athenaeum A. Mus.), shows his ambition to keep abreast of developments in Naturalism, a style introduced to him through the works of young Finnish and Scandinavian painters in Paris. In the autumn of 1884 he arrived in Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian and the studio of Fernand Cormon. In 1885 he completed his oil painting Old Woman with a Cat (Turku, A. Mus.), a veristic study of poverty and deprivation. Gallén’s single-figure compositions of this period followed a formula exploited by Jean-François Millet, Jules Breton and Jules Bastien-Lepage. In these seemingly static images, the life story of the protagonist was suggested through significant attributes, physiognomic elaboration and background details....


Veerle Poupeye

(b Asia, Manchester, Jamaica, Jul 23, 1939; d Kingston, 2008).

Jamaican painter. He attended the Jamaica School of Art in Kingston part-time, although he was essentially self-taught. He started exhibiting in the late 1960s and he was a major exponent of the expressionist trend in Jamaican art. His central theme was the absurdity of the human condition, as seen from a personal, highly subjective perspective. While his early work is characterized by a gentle melancholy, his mature work has satirical, albeit anguished overtones. The human figure is central to most of his paintings and is usually subjected to caricatural distortion, although on occasion he also experimented with full abstraction. His major subjects were the self, the artist and the art world, the individual versus society, the man–woman relationship. Occasionally he also commented on political issues. Most of his works include self-images, in the form of direct self-portraits or projections into other personae such as the Christ figure. Among his major works is a fourteen-panel work, ...


(b Tupelo, MS, Nov 30, 1933).

American painter. He studied at the University of Louisville, KY (1952–6; 1958–61). Gilliam’s first works showed the influence of Emil Nolde and Paul Klee and the Abstract Expressionist Nathan Oliveira. After marrying Dorothy Butler in 1962, he settled in Washington, DC. There he established contact with Gene Davis (1920–85), Tom Downing (1928–85), and Howard Mehring (1931–78), who represented a second wave of artists associated with colour-field painting. Gilliam became well known for his colour-field paintings and became the most prominent African American abstract painter, with seven one-man exhibitions at the Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, DC, between 1965 and 1973. Characteristic works of the 1960s include Petals (1967; Washington, DC, Phillips Col.), in which loose canvas is stained with patterns of colour achieved by pigments poured over before it is folded and restretched to give a symphonic resonance. Later works, such as ...


Radomíra Sedláková

(b Semín, nr Pardubice, March 13, 1880; d Jičín, Sept 10, 1945).

Czech architect, designer, urban planner and teacher. In 1906 he completed his studies at the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague, under Jan Kotěra, in whose studio he worked until 1908. His earliest work was strikingly modern and rationalist in style, revealing a purity of expression in the use of reinforced concrete; for example the Wenke Department Store (1909–10), Jaroměř, was designed with a skeleton structure on which a lightweight, fully glazed wall was suspended to form the façade. In 1911, with Josef Chochol, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Pavel Janák and others, he became a founder-member of the Group of Plastic Artists, Prague, which sought to develop a more artistic approach to architecture; a year later he and Janák founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture, and from 1914 he was a member of the Architects’ Club. Influenced by Janák, Gočár adopted the prismatic surface forms of ...


Tom Williams

(b Oklahoma City, OK, March 23, 1937).

American painter and sculptor. During the late 1950s he moved from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles and attended the Chouinard Art Institute (1959–61) with his childhood friend Ed Ruscha. He subsequently became associated with the emerging Pop art movement when his paintings of milk bottles appeared in Walter Hopps’s 1962 exhibition New Paintings of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum.

Although Goode’s work has often been compared to that of such Pop artists as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, it shares little of their preoccupation with either the mass media or technological reproduction. In many respects, his paintings and sculptures have much more in common with the work of Jasper Johns than they do with advertisements and consumer objects. In particular, his work develops the tension between the object and the image that was so central to Johns’s flag and target paintings during the late 1950s. In his milk bottle paintings, for example, he positioned painted bottles in front of low-hung, nearly monochrome canvases to explore the dynamic between the painting as an illusion and a decorative backdrop. During the late 1960s, he also constructed a series of staircases that ran up the walls or into the corners of the gallery. These works made coy reference to the recession of pictorial space in perspectival painting (not to mention Marcel Duchamp’s ...


Claudia Büttner

(b Aachen, Feb 22, 1914).

German painter, photographer, film maker, draughtsman, printmaker, writer and teacher. From 1932 to 1933 he attended the Webe- und Kunstgewerbeschule in Aachen. Inspired by Picasso, Gris, Klee and the Expressionists, Götz reduced the figures in his painting to minimal linear outlines from 1933, as a result of which he was prohibited from painting and exhibiting from 1935 to 1936. During his military service from 1936 to 1938 he experimented with spray painting, overpainted photograms (of his wife), photograms (produced by laying objects on photographic paper exposed to light) and abstract cine-films. In 1938 he settled in Wurzen, Saxony, and from 1938 to 1939 attended the Kunstakademie in Dresden where he began to concentrate on abstract works, using a mixture of organic and geometric elements. In 1940 he moved to Dresden, where his friends included Will Grohmann and Otto Dix. He served in the German army in Norway from 1941 to 1945...


Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Noyelles-sur-Sambre, Nord, July 24, 1892; d ?Paris, April 11, 1971).

French painter and designer. He was set to follow a legal career and received little formal artistic training. From 1910, however, he frequented the studios of Montparnasse, assimilating Matisse’s style through tuition from Henri Le Fauconnier at the Académie de la Palette and from Félix Vallotton at the Académie Ranson. He exhibited six canvases at the Salon des Indépendants of 1911. He continued to draw while serving in the Army from 1913 to 1919 but was wounded on the Somme in 1916. From 1919 he devoted himself to painting and to writing about art and the cinema. His post-war paintings were marked by an admiration for the Flemish and to a lesser extent German Expressionists and for the work of Fernand Léger, although Gromaire later repudiated the Expressionist label. From 1920 he exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne and at the Salon des Indépendants and in 1921 held his first one-man show at the Galerie La Licorne in Paris; the gallery’s owner, ...


Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....


Mark Allen Svede

(b Riga, April 24, 1891; d Paris, Feb 1, 1920).

Latvian painter, printmaker and diplomat. Raised in a family of patriots, he was naturally suited to become the founder and chief proponent of a modern national style in Latvian painting. His awareness of uniquely Latvian cultural traits grew apace with his dissatisfaction with the training he received from 1909 to 1914 in the studios of Simon Hollósy in Munich and Hermen-Anglada Camarasa, Charles Guérin and Kees van Dongen in Paris; concomitantly, Latvia’s struggle for independence during World War I galvanized his devotion to nationalist art, and he was a member of both the Ekspresionisti and the Riga Artists’ group. For younger colleagues working in Riga before the War, Grosvalds was a conduit of information about French and German modernism, though much of it was cautionary. His period of military service inspired him to produce Refugee and Riflemen, an influential series of paintings and prints that demonstrated his preference for classical monumentality and communicated the epic forbearance of the Latvian peasantry and infantry in exile and in battle. As he had intended, the painting the ...


Ursula Zeller


(b Berlin, July 26, 1893; d W. Berlin, July 6, 1959).

German painter, draughtsman, and illustrator. He is particularly valued for his caustic caricatures, in which he used the reed pen with notable success. Although his paintings are not quite as significant as his graphic art, a number of them are, nonetheless, major works. He grew up in the provincial town of Stolp, Pomerania (now Słupsk, Poland), where he attended the Oberrealschule, until he was expelled for disobedience. From 1909 to 1911 he attended the Akademie der Künste in Dresden, where he met Kurt Günther, Bernhard Kretschmar (1889–1972) and Franz Lenk (1898–1968). Under his teacher Richard Müller (1874–1954), Grosz painted and drew from plaster casts. At this time he was unaware of such avant-garde movements as Die Brücke, also active in Dresden. In 1912 he studied with Emil Orlik at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. A year later he moved to the Académie Colarossi in Paris, where he learnt a free drawing style that swiftly reached the essence of a motif....


Lenka Bydžovská

[Czech: Skupina Výtvarných Umělců]

Bohemian avant-garde group, active 1911–17. In February 1911 a fundamental rift between the older and younger generations in the Mánes Union of Artists was occasioned by the fall in subscriptions to the union’s journal Volné směry after its new editors, Emil Filla and Antonín Matějček, reproduced Picasso’s work and published Filla’s article on the virtues of the new primitivism. The majority of the young contributors to the journal pointedly withdrew from the Mánes Union. Towards the end of 1911 they established the Group of Plastic Artists, oriented towards Cubism; its members were Vincenc Beneš, V. H. Brunner, Josef Čapek, Emil Filla, Josef Gočár, Otto Gutfreund, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Josef Chochol, Pavel Janák, Zdeněk Kratochvíl, František Kysela, Antonín Procházka, Ladislav Šíma, Václav Špála, the writers Karel Čapek (1890–1938) and František Langer, and the art historian V. V. Štech. For personal reasons and differences of opinion, Bohumil Kubišta, Otokar Kubín and Matějček remained outside the group and soon returned to the Mánes Union. Gočár was elected the group’s first president....


Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, March 20, 1927).

Spanish Catalan painter. He studied briefly at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Barcelona in 1941 while working as a painter-decorator and from 1945 painted Expressionist-influenced rural landscapes, urban scenes, figures and even work tools. For a period of about five years from 1958 he adopted procedures from Art informel, such as his use of wooden supports partly destroyed by fire. His paintings of this period pay direct tribute to the chiaroscuro contrasts typical of Spanish Baroque art. In the mid-1960s Guinovart produced a series of very inventive paintings with collage elements indebted to Pop art, including mixed medium works such as Untitled (500×600 mm, 1964; Madrid, Fund. Juan March) and a series interpreting Picasso’s Guernica. In his subsequent work he systematically explored different aspects of representation while continuing to use diverse and unconventional materials such as wheat, maize, stones, sand and glass.

C. Rodríguez-Aguilera: Guinovart (Madrid, 1959) Guinovart: Obras desde 1946...


Karel Srp

(b Dvůr Králové, Aug 3, 1889; d Prague, June 2, 1927).

Czech sculptor and draughtsman. One of the outstanding Czech sculptors of the early 20th century, he had a considerable influence both during his lifetime and subsequently. He studied at the Central School of Ceramics at Bechyně from 1903 and then under Professor J. Drahoňovský at the School of Applied Arts in Prague (1905–9) where his exceptional plastic sensibility became apparent. He then spent a year in Paris at the atelier of Emile-Antoine Bourdelle. Gutfreund’s work can be divided into two contrasting periods: the first, beginning in 1910, is largely Cubist while the second, beginning c. 1919, shows a move to realistic sculpture. (Unless otherwise stated, all sculptures by Gutfreund mentioned below are in Prague, National Gallery.) His early work was influenced by Michelangelo’s Slaves (c. 1514; Paris, Louvre; see fig.) and by Honoré Daumier’s modelling and treatment of light, which jointly inspired Anguish (1911) and ...


Lucius Grisebach

(b Döbeln, nr Dresden, July 31, 1883; d Radolfzell, nr Konstanz, Jan 27, 1970).

German painter, printmaker and sculptor. He was one of the founders of the group Brücke, Die and one of its most influential and active members. His work was central to German Expressionism.

Heckel began painting and drawing as a schoolboy in Chemnitz, where he became a friend of Karl Schmidt (later Schmidt-Rottluff). In 1904 Heckel went to Dresden to study architecture under Fritz Schumacher at the Technische Hochschule, where he met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the artist Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966). In 1905 the four artists, united by common artistic desires and aims, formed Die Brücke. Heckel abandoned his architectural studies in order to pursue his creative work and to organize the group, although he continued to work as a draughtsman and site manager for the architect Wilhelm Kreis until 1907. In common with other members of the group, Heckel drew and painted life models, either in the studio or ...


Deborah Nash

(b Nuremberg, Feb 21, 1938).

German painter, film maker and teacher. In 1959 he studied under Fred Thieler at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin, but turned away from his mentor’s abstraction to a more figurative Expressionist style of painting. In 1961 he joined a group called ‘Vision’ and in 1964 co-founded Grossgörschen 35, an artists’ co-operative that exhibited a range of figurative work by artists who rejected abstraction. Passage V (1964; Düsseldorf, priv. col., see 1986 exh. cat., p. 32) is typical of Hödicke’s interest at the time in light and reflections: a car speeds past a department store at night and the instant is caught as rapid streaks of light; lights from the car collide with the artificial lights of the glass façade.

In 1966 the Grossgörschen group dissolved and Hödicke temporarily abandoned painting for a more conceptual approach. He moved to New York where he made a number of experimental films, such as ...