Archives for posts with tag: Expressionism

Postcards I have added to my collection over the past six months.

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A miniature print of Messiah (1919) by Ernst Neuschul, an Austrian born painter associated with the New Objectivity movement. I purchased this from the New Walk Museum in Leicester, which holds many German Expressionist works – and those of a similar ilk – which I will write about in the near future. You cannot help but be pulled into this image, which is so unflinching and unapologetic. The figure reminds me of the singer Richard Hell.

 

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This is from a box of postcards of Penguin Classic covers, which I was able to purchase singly from Oxfam Books and Music. The novel is The Drowned World by JG Ballard. Ballard’s novels are mainly dystopian in style, his most famous works being Crash and Empire of the Sun. I haven’t read The Drowned World (yet), although I have read others of his, but the submerged image of the Chrysler building, combined with the strong colours, really spoke to me.

 

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I received this in the mail around a month ago. How exciting it was to receive. My friend was on holiday in Scotland and sent me this postcard of John Byrne’s Jock and the Tiger Cat (1968). It is from the Perth Museum and Art Gallery, where the painting is currently held. Byrne is a Scottish playwright and artist, probably most known for the television series Tutti Frutti starring Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson.

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The funfair is something I’ve spoken about a few times on this blog, so adding this image to my collection isn’t a great surprise. I like that the shot is slightly out of focus, connoting movement, that the top of the image almost looks tarnished, and the soft natural haze mingling with the neon lights. It reminds me of Coney Island.

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Whilst on a recent trip to Dublin, I stopped at the National Gallery of Ireland for a look at their current exhibition, Lines of Vision, curated to celebrate 150 years of the gallery. I purchased this postcard of a painting I was drawn to in the collection entitled Moonlight (1926) by Paul Henry. Henry was born in Belfast and was particularly fond of the West coast of Ireland, where he spent a great deal of time painting landscapes. I liked the simplicity of the work, and on a personal note it reminded me of sailing to Norway last year.

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Anita Berber The Dancer, 1925 by Otto Dix

Anita Berber The Dancer, 1925 by Otto Dix

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I decided to do something a bit different today and use my face as a canvas. I wanted to recreate Otto Dix’s portrait of Anita Berber, making up my face in a similar style as Dix used for the painting. This photograph in no way does justice to the work of art; it is merely an homage to something I admire.

Anita Berber was a German actress and cabaret dancer who was born in Leipzig in 1899. She was a scandalous figure who became addicted to alcohol and hard drugs which she would consume with rose petals. Berber enjoyed the company of both genders (rumoured affair with Marlene Dietrich) and often favoured an androgynous personal style. She died from tuberculosis aged just 29.

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Products I used: MAC lip pencil in Redd; YSL Rouge Pur Pure lipstick in 143; MAC Play It Cool eye palette (limited edition) – shades used Silverwear, Hold My Gaze and Magic Moor; L’Oreal Telescopic mascara; Avon Super Shock gel eyeliner; BarryM liquid liner; Real Techniques brushes; Shu Uemura eyelash curlers; Ardell lashes.

Inspired by my recent trip to Norway (pictures to follow), I decided to compile a short list of my favourite works by Norway’s most famous artist.

Painter and printmaker Edvard Munch was born in Adalsbruk in 1863. He was a symbolic artist, often using psychological profiles, and became an early expressionist.

Munch frequently portrayed images of torment and insanity, most obvious in his most famous painting The Scream (1893). He had a troubled childhood and mental illness ran in the family.

Many of my favourite Munch paintings display a sense of isolation, of foreboding, tension hanging in the air above the figures, an almost palpable anxiety.

The Storm, 1893

The Storm, 1893


The Storm

I saw this painting in person at MoMA in New York and it had such a haunted quality. Its setting is the seaside village of Asgardstrand, where Munch spent his childhood summers. The woman in white is evidently isolated from the rest of the villagers, even in a harsh situation, creating a sense of nadir.

 

Melancholy, 1894

Melancholy, 1894


Melancholy

Melancholy is certainly how I would describe this painting. Sadness etched on the man’s face as he contemplates, pensive and forlorn. I feel like I can relate to this character and I am definitely drawn to the sea when I am feeling this way. The idea of life and death is of course symbolised by the ocean and these are recurrent themes in Munch’s work. Similar in theme and style to Separation below, this work is concerned with love and loss.

 

The Kiss, 1897

The Kiss, 1897


The Kiss

This painting is clearly different from the others detailed in that the figures are locked in an embrace, very much together, in fact almost melding into one. This represents the changing perceptions of women during the era, becoming more boldly sexual and dominant. This is perhaps a much softer version of his work Vampire.

 

Separation 1900

Separation 1900


Separation

This painting brings out such emotion in me. The man clutching his heart, alone but never alone, the woman who holds the key forever with him yet always apart.

 

White Night, 1901

White Night, 1901


White Night

I like this painting for its depiction of the Norwegian landscape – especially after my recent visit – with the spruce trees framing the fjord beyond. Whilst there are no figures in the painting, the single house continues the isolated theme of his work. For me, this has a definite van Gogh influence, and the use of colour is wonderful.

‘War was something horrible, but nonetheless something powerful…Under no circumstances could I miss it! It is necessary to see people in this unchained condition in order to know something about man’ Otto Dix

Marking the centenary of the First World War, the National Portrait Gallery’s current exhibition, The Great War in Portraits, shows the human side of WWI.

This small but powerful exhibit depicts the human horrors of war – facial disfigurement, loss of limbs, mental anguish, and of course death. The world had never before been exposed to such violence, with nine million people losing their lives.

Each work tells a different story from the same event, showing both the British and German response. Whilst the Brits mainly created traditional, conservative portraits, the Germans produced modern avant-garde works in a highly expressive style. These opposing German works could almost be considered part of the enemy at the time, depicting the true horrors in Expressionist and Realist styles.

However, not all of the British work was traditional. CRW Nevinson’s Futurist works were also in contrast to the portraits by war artist William Orpen.

 
GERMAN

The most famous painting on display is Ernst Kirchner’s Self-Portrait as a Soldier. The severed hand in this painting is conceived; Kirchner enlisted in the German army in 1914 but was discharged the following year after suffering a nervous breakdown. Here he displays his mental anguish through imagined physical injury.

Self-Portrait as a Soldier by Ernst Kirchner, 1915

Self-Portrait as a Soldier by Ernst Kirchner, 1915

Kirchner spent the following year convalescing in a Swiss hospital. Like many German artists of his epoch, in 1937 his art was deemed degenerate by the Nazis. Kirchner sadly committed suicide in July 1938. As a founding member of Die Brucke, Kirchner’s legacy in German art is enduring.

 

Max Beckmann was a painter and printmaker concerned with the human condition. Like Kirchner, he was discharged from the army in 1915 due to a nervous breakdown, after joining the medical corps the previous year. His experiences in the war were reflected in his work, often with an exaggerated highly stylised Expressionist manner.

The Hell by Max Beckmann, 1919

The Way Home from Hell by Max Beckmann, 1919

 

Whilst Beckmann and Kirchner are represented in the exhibition, two artists not included but who I feel deserve mentioning are George Grosz and Otto Dix.

Grosz joined the war in 1914 but was sent home after six months. In 1917 he was called up again but was deemed violent and also spent time in a mental hospital. After WWI his distaste for war, the German military and German people in general were depicted in his art; he caricaturised politicians and produced sensationalist work, often using vivid colours. His pejorative views of society and the Weimar Republic are extremely evident on the canvas. Grosz’ work during this time (along with Otto Dix) was part of a movement entitled New Objectivity. Grosz eventually fled to America on the cusp of Hitler’s rule. This painting, entitled Explosion, shows Berlin burning during WWI.

Explosion by George Grosz, 1917

Explosion by George Grosz, 1917

 

Unlike the German artists previously mentioned, Otto Dix served a full four years in the war. He was a machine-gunner. During this period he sketched graphic images of war terror, including scenes from the trenches and crippled and deformed soldiers, which became a central theme in his work until the 1930s. His work was later criticised by the state as being anti-military. Dix was then drafted into the German TA in WW2, was captured by the French and spent time in a prisoner of war camp. After his release he continued to develop his interest in portraits, whilst unusually, spending time in both East and West Germany.

Stormtroopers Advancing Under Gas by Otto Dix, 1924

Stormtroopers Advancing Under Gas by Otto Dix, 1924

 

BRITISH

One of the most haunting paintings in the exhibition is the Dead Stretcher Bearer by Gilbert Rogers. Rogers was a Liverpudlian who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. His art represented what he encountered: wounded British soldiers.

The Dead Stretcher-Bearer by Gilbert Rogers, 1919

The Dead Stretcher-Bearer by Gilbert Rogers, 1919

 

Portrait artist William Orpen is represented, as well as Henry Tonks, a British surgeon. Tonks painted those who had been injured in the war, particularly those with facial disfigurements. During WWI, his medical career took him to France and Italy as well as the UK, working in refugee camps, hospitals and ambulance units. In 1918 he became a war artist with John Singer Sargent.

 

CRW (Christopher Richard Wynne) Nevinson was the son of a war correspondent. He was a Futurist artist, who focused on the transport and movement of London. When the war broke out he went to France with the Red Cross. He left soon after due to injury and continued to use the Futurist style to depict the horrors of war.

La Mitrailleuse by CRW Nevinson, 1915

La Mitrailleuse by CRW Nevinson, 1915

 

If you are in London, this exhibition is well worth visiting. Entry is free and it runs until June 15th.

http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/firstworldwarcentenary/exhibition.php

My Halloween costume ideas for the ladies are inspired by films set in Germany.

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Lil Dagover as Jane in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

PANDORAS BOX, (aka DIE BUCHSE DER PANDORA, aka LULU), Louise Brooks, 1929
Louise Brooks as Lulu in Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) (1929)

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Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola in Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) (1930)

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Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972)

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Franka Potente as Lola in Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998)

German jewellery chain Thomas Sabo has created city themes for its bracelet charms, including this sterling silver Brandenburg Gate.
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http://shop.thomassabo.com/GB-en/charm-club/brandenburg-gate/pid/0269-001-12

Never thought I’d see Metropolis used as lipstick inspiration, but here it is:
liptropolis
http://www.lipstickqueen.com/liptropolis.html
{You can also buy this from the Space NK website}

Another classic of German Expressionist cinema, the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, showing a pivotal scene from the film, captured in a pendant.

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http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/82302531/the-cabinet-of-dr-caligari-surreal?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_query=german+expressionism&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=german+expressionism