Expressionism

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Expressionism is a label for an international tendency—as opposed to a coherent movement—in art, literature, music, theater, and architecture that lasted from approximately 1905 to 1920, predominantly in Europe. Expressionist art was often characterized by spontaneous brushwork or mark-making, distorted figures, a progression towards abstraction, and a concentration on forms and ideas borrowed from myths and so-called “primitive art.” In reaction to the shock of urbanization and the machine age, many of these artists attempted to convey psychological states of isolation and alienation, or sought refuge in the idea of a spiritual art. In Vienna, Egon Schiele created unsettling, sinuous portraits that evoked the anxiety of the age; in Germany, the formal experiments of Wassily Kandinsky combined new forms and color combinations with a focus on mysticism and expression; and in the field of architecture, Bruno Taut translated the utopian ideals of the tendency into fantastic buildings.

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