My lecture was today and I really had great expectations and was not disappointed. Because some of my latest paintings were leaning toward the brilliant coloring of expressionism and painting what I felt, not what saw, I became fascinated by the "expressionists." There is no doubt, or at least to me, that Van Gogh was heading in that direction. His "Wheat Field With Crows" was so different a million critics have tried to understand what he was trying to say.
|Van Gogh, "Wheat Field With Reaper"|
|Cezanne "Still Life With Apples and Pears"|
Cezanne, considered by many the greatest of the Expressionists clearly wanted you to consider each element of the painting as a separate item and perspective. Tables are a bit off (will that fruit roll off?), countryside is oftentimes angled the wrong way yet manages to capture how he felt about the scene. He led the way but the Germans picked up the torch as the French became more and more abstract.
|Kees Van Dogen's MODJESKO. OPERA SINGER|
This exhibition was 10 years in the making. The Van Gogh painting took 5 years to get. It was important to the exhibition that the painting that literally changed the direction of German art be the very first painting we saw. It set the tone!
There is another Van Gogh, used in promotion that luckily is small as it resides in a frame that NO air of any kind can enter. I saw it last year in Amsterdam and had no idea it was that fragile. Despite the small size it is wonderful. Spare strokes of color in the sky, trees and the field. It shows that Van Gogh can still confound us!
While the French pretty much stuck with their Impressionism and more and more variations of pointillism, the wild colors and brush strokes of the Germans was ignored. The French were heading toward abstract art more and more. It was this movement, in both countries that was shaping and molding what was to be, what we today call "abstract" art. But in 1914 it was not named and few had dared take that step. It would have to wait until after the war.
What fascinated me in this German art movement was that the two centers were Dresden, the Saxon capital and Munich, the Bavarian capital. Our lecturer pointed out that the Saxon's loved the use of color while in Munich colors were more subdued. I had to laugh. My ancestry is Saxon (my father was born there in 1922) and I love color as anyone who has visited my stores on Etsy or followed my blog. I am "not" shy about the use of color.
I can remember being so startled and surprised when we went back to Dresden to see the rebuilt Frauenkirche and the inside was a riot of color? Really? Maybe these Germans aren't so stuffy after all. After seeing what they did before the great war I know for sure they are not.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend you visit this exhibit. It is amazing and opens our eyes to developments we were not aware of. It turns out that LACMA has the largest collection of German painting in the world, maybe even more than Germany. After visiting the exhibit go upstairs. They have a fantastic collection of even more expressionists!
Please visit my craft store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com and my fine art store at AlanKrugFineArt.etsy.com. Thank you for stopping by and reading!