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Christian Lenz

(b Leipzig, Feb 12, 1884; d New York, Dec 27, 1950).

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and teacher. He was one of the most important German painters of the 20th century. He was initially influenced by traditional styles, but during World War I he rejected perspective and classical proportion in favour of a more expressive objective art. He was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s but continued to work, painting his celebrated secular triptychs in the late 1930s and the 1940s.

Beckmann showed artistic promise from an early age, painting as early as c. 1898 a Self-portrait with Soap Bubbles (mixed media on cardboard; priv. col.; see Lackner, 1991, p. 10). After training at the Kunstschule in Weimar (1900–03), he studied under the patronage of Julius Meier-Graefe in Paris. There he became acquainted with the works of the Impressionists, Cézanne, van Gogh and probably such early French paintings as the Avignon Pietà. From 1903 until the outbreak of World War I he lived mostly in or near Berlin. He began painting landscapes and from ...

Article

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

Paul Vogt and Ita Heinze-Greenberg

International movement in art and architecture, which flourished between c. 1905 and c. 1920, especially in Germany. It also extended to literature, music, dance and theatre. The term was originally applied more widely to various avant-garde movements: for example it was adopted as an alternative to the use of ‘Post-Impressionism’ by Roger Fry in exhibitions in London in 1910 and 1912. It was also used contemporaneously in Scandinavia and Germany, being gradually confined to the specific groups of artists and architects to which it is now applied.

Expressionism in the fine arts developed from the Symbolist and expressive trends in European art at the end of the 19th century. The period of ‘classical Expressionism’ began in 1905, with the foundation of the group Brücke, Die, and ended c. 1920. Although in part an artistic reaction both to academic art and to Impressionism, the movement should be understood as a form of ‘new ...

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Eckersbach, Zwickau, Dec 31, 1881; d West Berlin, June 19, 1955).

German painter and printmaker. He was apprenticed as a decorator in Zwickau from 1896 to 1900, when he moved to Dresden to enrol at the Kunstgewerbeschule, where he met the architect Wilhelm Kreis and the painter Otto Gussmann (1869–1926) and obtained decorative commissions. He continued his studies from 1902 until 1906 as Gussmann’s pupil at the Dresden Kunstakademie. Through Kreis, Pechstein was introduced to Erich Heckel in 1906 and was invited by him to join Brücke, Die, a group founded in the previous year that was quickly to become a major force in the rise of German Expressionism (see Expressionism §1). The founders of the group were all architecture students, leaving Pechstein as the only member to have received formal academic training as a painter. He remained closely involved with the group until 1910, drawing and painting in the studios of Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Dresden and also working communally with them ...

Article

(b Warsaw, Feb 24, 1885; d Jeziory, Polesie, Sept 17, 1939).

Polish writer, art theorist, painter and photographer . He was the son of the architect, painter and critic Stanisław Witkiewicz (1851–1915), creator of the ‘Zakopane style’ ( see Poland, Republic of §II 3. ). He spent his childhood in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains and was educated at his family home, a place frequented by artists and intellectuals, and also through his many travels to Eastern and Western Europe. From his wide acquaintance with contemporary art, he was particularly impressed by the paintings of Arnold Böcklin. Witkiewicz’s often interrupted studies (1904–10) under Józef Mehoffer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków had less influence than his lessons in Zakopane and Brittany with Władysław Slewiński, who introduced him to the principles of Gauguin’s Synthetism. Witkiewicz abandoned the naturalism of his first landscapes, executed under the influence of his father, rejected linear perspective and modelling and began to use flat, well-contoured forms and vivid colours, as in ...