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Expressionism Worksheet Name______________________________________Period____________ Expressionism, often referred to as German expressionism began in the Weimar Republic shortly after World War I (1914-18). The Weimar Republic was very liberal for this time in history, many individuals living alternative lifestyles immigrated to this area for that reason. Expressionism was dominated by artists from northern and Eastern Europe, while Cubism was dominated by predominantly French and Spanish artists and Dada/Surrealism captivated the interest of European and American artist alike. The 1920’s were characterized by the café, cabaret lifestyle, swing and jazz band music, drinking and dancing. The personality of this time in history has been captured in the stage musical Cabaret. This is the world Max Beckmann knew as a young artist. A veteran of WWI the hardships and human atrocities he experienced as a medic in the army affected his art and writing throughout the remainder of his life. In the Weimar Republic of the Twenties, Beckmann enjoyed great success and official honors. In 1927 he received the Honorary Empire Prize for German Art and the Gold Medal of the City of Düsseldorf; the National Gallery in Berlin acquired his painting The Bark and, in 1928, purchased his Self-Portrait in Tuxedo. In 1925 he was selected to teach a master class at the Städel school of art in Frankfurt, his fortunes changed with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, whose dislike of Modern Art quickly led to its suppression by the state. In 1933, the Nazi government bizarrely called Beckmann a "cultural Bolshevik" and dismissed him from his teaching position at the Art School in Frankfurt. In 1937 more than 500 of his works were confiscated from German museums, and several of these works were put on display in the notorious Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich. For ten years, Beckmann lived in poverty in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam, failing in his desperate attempts to obtain a visa for the US. In 1944 the Germans attempted to draft him into the army, despite the fact that the sixty-year-old artist had suffered a heart attack. The works completed in his Amsterdam studio were even more powerful and intense than the ones of his master years in Frankfurt, and included several large triptychs, which stand as a summation of Beckmann's art. After the war, Beckmann moved to the United States, and during the last three years of his life, he taught at the art schools of Washington University in St. Louis and the Brooklyn Museum. He suffered from angina pectoris and died after Christmas 1950, struck down by a heart attack in Manhattan. Edvard Munch Edvard Munch was born in Norway and his life was characterized by overwhelming hardships. Edvard’s mother died of tuberculosis in 1868, as did Munch's favorite sister Johanne Sophie in 1877. After their mother's death, the Munch siblings were raised by their father and by their aunt Karen. Often ill for much of the winters and kept out of school, Edvard would draw to keep himself occupied. He also received tutoring from his school mates and his aunt. Christian Munch, Edvard’s father also instructed his son in history and literature, and entertained the children with vivid ghost stories and tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Munch wrote, “My father was temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious—to the point of psychoneurosis. From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born.” Munch’s early drawings and watercolors depicted these interiors, and the individual objects such as medicine bottles and drawing implements, plus some landscapes. By his teens, art dominated Munch’s interests. At thirteen, Munch has his first exposure to other artists at the newly formed Art Association, were he admired the work of the Norwegian landscape school, and where he returned to copy the paintings, and soon he began to paint in oils. Unlike other 20th Century art movements, Expressionists were not a closely knit group of individuals bound by a common goal or mission statement. Rather, the expressionists were responding to the contemporary events of war, intolerance, prejudice and the human condition. Remember, artists not only record history, but impact it as well.
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