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10 Essential Artists: Expressionism

Expressionism is a revered movement in art history largely thanks to the enigmatic characters that emerged from the scene at the start of the 20th century. As the name suggests, expressionist paintings are very personal and subjective accounts of what the artist perceives around them. The introspective dive into one’s surroundings has left us with artworks that are both mind-bending and thought-provoking. Singulart selects the essential artists from the movement in years gone by, while also including contemporary artists who are carrying the expressionist baton.

Vincent van Gogh

Of course we have to kick things off with Vincent van Gogh. Arguably the most renowned artist of the 19th century, van Gogh’s life is one of delight and despair. His expressive brushwork that enveloped landscapes and nighttime scenes can certainly be felt among the works of expressionist artists that succeeded him.

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Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night (1889)

Edvard Munch

The Scream. Not at whole lot else needs to be said to justify the inclusion of Edvard Munch in such a list. Within his 1893 piece, the eerie feeling captured transcends the canvas and wraps the viewer within Munch’s world. As vibrant as expressionism can be, it is this detached and uneasy take on the perceived world that gives the style its edge. Munch gave artists a new outlook on how one’s own mindset should be portrayed on the canvas.

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Edvard Munch, The Scream (1893)

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon’s distorted portraits make for invigorating viewing. His nightmarish artworks were a result of Bacon trying to convey the wounds and trauma of a society recovering from World War II. Bacon’s sinister portrayal of the human face, as seen in his series of ‘Screaming Popes’, was perhaps a portrayal of the disturbing side of everything that we perceive to be trustworthy.

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Francis Bacon, Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953)

Viktor Sheleg

Viktor Sheleg is a Singulart artist whose works are “guided by emotions and energy”. The Russian artist looks to delve into topics such as conformity within the society that surrounds him. The result of which is captivating pieces that invite the viewer to examine the artwork in order to understand the emotion that is being conveyed.

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Viktor Sheleg, Flowing sound, 2020

Wassily Kandinsky

Born in 1866, Wassily Kandinsky was credited with pioneering abstract art. His expressionist works are dreamlike, with bright colors enabling the viewer to get lost within these intricate depictions. This evocative use of color and form was connected to his belief that art has a transcendental quality that is waiting to be unearthed by the viewer.

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Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau – Landschaft mit grünem Haus (1909)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s works were surreal in tone and portrayed characters in a world of despair and perplexity. As a man who lived life with depression lingering within his every move, it is no surprise that this sense of confusion was so incessant within his works.

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Self-Portrait (1931)

Wolfgang Neumann

Wolgang Neumann is a Singulart painter whose works carry on the great German tradition of expressionism. His aim with his works is to create surreal and nightmarish worlds, as absurd characters subsumed within mystical backdrops fill the viewer with unease.

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Wolfgang Neumann, Headhunter´s Foot (2011)

Egon Schiele

Egon Shiele was an Austrian expressionist whose works were uncompromising in their content. Contorted and distorted human figures are central to the works of Schiele, with an erotic theme being played out quite regularly. His works were eerie and disturbing but this element made his material so gripping.

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Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Lowered Head (1912)

Franz Marc

Franz Marc is an important figure in German Expressionism. The artist dealt with reality in a way that seems much warmer than some of his expressionist counterparts. His works display bright colors with free-roaming animals in technicolor fields. Much like Kandinsky, Marc was hoping to evoke a spiritual reaction within the viewer through his eye-catching pieces.

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Franz Marc, The Dream (1912)

Michael Ramsauer

Michael Ramsauer is a contemporary German artist whose ethereal style leaves the viewer filling in the gaps with their own interpretation. Swooping brushstrokes make figures emerge from the landscape that surrounds them. For Michael, and in keeping with expressionist principles, he believes that “painting is a kind of language with which you can communicate on a subconscious level“.

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Michael Ramsauer, Schaumgeborene (2016)

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