Top 25 Expressionism artists who changed its history

Early in the 20th century, Germany saw the emergence of the expressionism art movement. Bold colours, deformed forms, emotional and psychological intensity, and a sense of intensity were all characteristics of the movement.

Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Emil Nolde are a few of the best-known Expressionist painters. These artists were drawn to studying the individual’s inner world and producing artwork that expressed their sentiments and emotions.

Bold colours and energetic brushstrokes are frequently utilised in expressionist artwork to convey a sense of movement and vitality. Shapes are frequently warped or exaggerated, with an emphasis on evoking emotion rather than accurately depicting reality.

1. Edvard Munch

Expressionism artists

Born: 12 December 1863, Ådalsbruk, Norway

Died: 23 January 1944, Oslo, Norway

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art, Symbolism, Post-Impressionism

  • Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter from Norway.
  • His childhood was dominated by bereavement, illness and the fear that he would inherit a psychological disorder which was prevalent in the family.
  • In Paris, He learned a lot from the works of Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, especially their use of colours.
  • His final years were spent in peace and solitude.
  • Even though his work was forbidden by Nazi-controlled Europe, the majority of his works did not survive World War II, securing his legacy.


2. Wassily Kandinsky

Expressionism artists

Born: 16 December 1866, Moscow, Russia

Died: 13 December 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art, Der Blaue Reiter, Abstract art

  • Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian artist and art theorist.
  • He was born in Moscow, and His family was from Moscow. He spent his early years in Odesa and graduated from the Grekov Odesa Art school.
  • He was enrolled at Moscow’s University of Moscow, studying economics and law.
  • He returned to Moscow around 1914, following the beginning of World War I.
  • He was a professor in The Bauhaus school of architecture and art from 1922 until the Nazis ended it in 1933.


3. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Expressionism artists

Born: 6 May 1880, Aschaffenburg, Germany

Died: 15 June 1938, Frauenkirch, Davos, Switzerland

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was an German artist and printmaker who was an expressionist.
  • He was a volunteer for the army during the First World War but quickly suffered a breakdown and was later discharged.
  • His work was described as “degenerate” by the Nazis in 1933. Then, in 1937, more than 600 of his works were sold or destroyed.
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria.
  • His parents were of Prussian descent, and his mother was one descendant of the Huguenots, which Kirchner often spoke about.


4. Franz Marc

Expressionism artists

Born: 8 February 1880, Munich, Germany

Died: 4 March 1916, Braquis, France

Periods: Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter, Modern art, Cubism

Spouse: Maria Marc (m. 1913–1916)

Siblings: Paul Marc

Parents: Wilhelm Marc, Sophie Marc

  • Franz Moritz Wilhelm Marc was a German artist and printmaker. He was one of the most important artists that shaped German Expressionism.
  • He was the original member of Der Blaue Reiter.
  • He was recruited to join the German Army at the start of World War I and was killed two years later during Verdun, the Battle of Verdun.
  • In the 1930s, Nazis declared him a degenerate painter as part of their campaign to eliminate contemporary art.
  • His work is currently displayed in numerous renowned museums and galleries.


5. Egon Schiele

Expressionism artists

Born: 12 June 1890, Tulln, Austria

Died: 31 October 1918, Vienna, Austria

Spouse: Edith Harms (m. 1915–1918)

Nationality: Austrian, Czech

Education: Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1906–1909)

  • Egon Leo Adolf Schiele was an Austrian Expressionist painter of whom Gustav Klimt, a figurative painter in the 20th century’s early years, was a teacher.
  • His work is praised for its intensity and naked sexuality, as well as the numerous self-portraits that the artist created, including naked self-portraits.
  • Schiele was born in 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria.
  • At the age of 14 of age, his father passed away due to syphilis. Schiele became a ward for his maternal uncle Leopold Czihaczek, a railway official.
  • In 1907, Schiele sought Gustav Klimt, who generously helped younger artists.


6. Anita Malfatti

Expressionism artists

Born: 2 December 1889, Brazil

Died: 6 November 1964, Brazil

  • Anita Catarina Malfatti is hailed as one of the pioneering Brazilian artists to bring European and American styles that are part of Modernism into Brazil.
  • Her solo show at Sao Paulo, from 1917-1918, was controversial in the period, and her expressive style and subject matter were radical for the stale, old-fashioned art-loving Brazilians.
  • The history of culture throughout Brazil is important to the evolving theories about art’s mission and the importance that Modernist artists played in the development of art.
  • The style of Anita Malfatti’s painting has been accused of not changing artistically since her shocking return to Brazil’s vision of art.


7. Paul Klee

Expressionism artists

Born: 18 December 1879, Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland

Died: 29 June 1940, Muralto, Switzerland

Periods: Expressionism, Cubism, Modern art, Surrealism, Der Blaue Reiter, Bauhaus style

  • Paul Klee was born in Switzerland. German artist from Germany.
  • His distinct style was strongly influenced by the art movements that included cubism, Expressionism, and surrealism.
  • His work reflects his humorous and sometimes playful perspective, as well as his moods and values, and also his musical sensibility.
  • Klee could improve his talents in music as his parents supported and encouraged the young musician throughout his life.
  • Other hobbies, such as writing poems and drawing, were not encouraged similarly to the way music was.


8. Emil Nolde

Expressionism artists

Born: 7 August 1867, Province of Schleswig-Holstein

Died: 13 April 1956, Seebüll, Neukirchen, Germany

Spouse: Ada Vilstrup (m. 1902–1946)

  • Emil Nolde was a painter and printmaker from Germany.
  • He was among the first Expressionists who were also a part of Die Brucke
  • He is renowned for his bristles and his expressive selection of colours.
  • His watercolours are vibrant, brooding stormscapes, as well as stunning florals.
  • Nolde’s obsession with flowers showed his love for the art that Vincent van Gogh created.


9. Piet Mondrian

Expressionism artists

Born: 7 March 1872, Amersfoort, Netherlands

Died: 1 February 1944, New York, New York, United States

  • Pieter Mondriaan was a Dutch artist and theoretician of art who is considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
  • He was regarded as one of the first pioneers of abstract art in the 20th century.
  • Mondrian’s work was extremely romantic and was centred around the search for common values as well as aesthetics.
  • He was an active participant in The De Stijl art group and movement, co-founded by him and Theo van Doesburg.
  • He developed a non-representational style known as Neoplasticism.


10. Otto Dix

Expressionism artists

Born: 2 December 1891, Untermhaus

Died: 25 July 1969, Singen, Germany

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art, New Objectivity, Dada

Nationality: German

Parents: Franz Dix, Louise Dix

  • Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix HTML1 Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dixwas a German artist and printmaker.
  • Alongside George Grosz and Max Beckmann, He is widely regarded as to be among the top artist of his generation. New Sachlichkeit.
  • Otto Dix was born in Untermhaus, Germany, now an integral component of the town in Gera, Thuringia.
  • Between 1906 and 1910, he completed an apprenticeship under artist Carl Senff and began painting his first landscapes.
  • A majority of her earlier paintings were focused on landscapes as well as portraits that were painted in a stylized realism, which then shifted to Expressionism.


11. Marc Chagall

Expressionism artists

Born: 7 July 1887, Liozna, Belarus

Died: 28 March 1985, Saint Paul de Vence, France

Periods: Surrealism, Modern art, Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Modernism, Symbolism

Siblings: David Chagall, Maryasya Chagall, Zinaida Chagall

  • Marc Chagall was a French-Belarusian artist.
  • He was involved with a variety of important artistic styles and produced work in a variety of artistic styles.
  • Born in present-day Belarus, which was once but a part of the Russian Empire, he was of Belarusian Jewish origin.
  • During this time, he came up with his unique style and mixture of contemporary art based on his concept of Eastern Europe and Jewish popular culture.
  • According to Lewis, he was known for two things as a pioneer in modernism and a significant Jewish artist.


12. August Macke

Expressionism artists

Born: 3 January 1887, Meschede, Germany

Died: 26 September 1914, Champagne, France

Place of burial: Alter Friedhof, Bonn, Germany

Spouse: Elisabeth Erdmann-Macke (m. 1909–1914)

Children: Walter Macke, Wolfgang Macke

  • August Macke was a German Expressionist painter.
  • He was among the leaders of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter.
  • He was a part of a popular period in German art.
  • He was able to observe the growth of the principal German Expressionist movements as well as the beginning of the various avant-garde movements emerging across Europe.
  • Macke was the sole son of August Friedrich Hermann Macke.
  • In Paris in 1907, where he travelled first in 1907, Macke observed the art of the Impressionists. Soon after, he moved to Berlin and spent several months in the studio of Lovis Korinth.


13. Amedeo Modigliani

Expressionism artists

Born: 12 July 1884, Livorno, Italy

Died: 24 January 1920, Chu – Hospital De La Charité, Saint-Étienne, France

Spouse: Jeanne Hébuterne (m. 1917–1920)

  • Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian artist and sculptor who worked mostly in France.
  • He is known for his portraits and naked women in a contemporary style, characterized by an elongation that is surreal necks, faces, and figures.
  • His principal subject was portraits and full figures as depicted in his images and sculptures.
  • Modigliani is a member of the Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno, Italy.
  • His maternal great-great-grandfather, Solomon Garsin, had immigrated to Livorno in the 18th century as a refugee.


14. Gabriele Münter

Expressionism artists

Born: 19 February 1877, Berlin, Germany

Died: 19 May 1962, Murnau am Staffelsee, Germany

  • Gabriele Munter was a German artist who worked in the expressionist painting style and was at the leading edge of the Munich avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • She was a student and a friend of artist Wassily Kandinsky. She was also one of the founding members of the group called expressionist Der Blaue Reiter.
  • Munter was the son of middle-class parents in Berlin on 19 February 1877.
  • Her family supported her desire to pursue a career as an artist.
  • Her father died in 1886.

She began drawing when she was a kid. When she grew up, she was able to get private tutors.


15. Francis Bacon

Expressionism artists

Born: 28 October 1909, Dublin, Ireland

Died: 28 April 1992, Madrid, Spain

Periods: Surrealism, Expressionism, Cubism

  • Francis Bacon was born in Ireland. He was a British painter of the figurative artist who was known for his stark, disturbing images.
  • He earned himself a name among the greats of contemporary art due to his distinctive style.
  • Bacon didn’t begin to paint until the end of his 20s, after having spent the late 1920s and the early 1930s working as an interior decorator, gambler and bon vivant.
  • He claimed that his art career was slowed because he was too long searching for subjects that would maintain his interest.
  • Despite his existentialist and dim view, Bacon was charismatic and knowledgeable.


16. Käthe Kollwitz

Expressionism artists

Born: 8 July 1867, Königsberg

Died: 22 April 1945, Moritzburg, Germany

Period: Expressionism

Parents: Katherina Schmidt, Karl Schmidt

Children: Peter Kollwitz, Hans Kollwitz

  • Kathe Kollwitz was a German artist from Germany.
  • Her most well-known artworks, The Weavers and The Peasant War depict the consequences of hunger, poverty and warfare on people of the middle class.
  • Despite the realist nature of her earlier work, Her art is more closely linked to Expressionism.
  • Kollwitz was born in Konigsberg, Prussia, as the fifth child of her family.
  • Her mother’s father, Karl Schmidt, was an extreme Social democratic politician who later became a mason and builder of houses.


17. Max Beckmann

Expressionism artists

Born: 12 February 1884, Leipzig, Germany

Died: 27 December 1950, New York, New York, United States

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art, New Objectivity

Spouse: Mathilde Q. Beckmann (m. 1925–1950), Minna Beckmann-Tube (m. 1906–1925)

  • Max Beckmann was a German artist, draftsman, artist, printmaker and writer.
  • In the 30s and 40s, his art was clearer in the horrific imagery and contorted forms, using a mixture of brutal realism with social critique.
  • He is famous for the self-portraits that he painted throughout his life.
  • Beckmann was a huge success and was awarded official honours in Beckmann’s time during the Weimar Republic.
  • His fortunes changed after the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, whose dislike of Modern Art quickly led to its being repressed by the government.


18. Oskar Kokoschka

Expressionism artists

Born: 1 March 1886, Pöchlarn, Austria

Died: 22 February 1980, Montreux, Switzerland

Spouse: Olda Kokoschka (m. 1941–1980)

Movies: I’m OK, Internationaler Treffpunkt Salzburg, Oskar Kokoschka: zum 100. Geburtstag, Comenius

  • Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian poet, artist, playwright, teacher, and educator.
  • He had an older sibling, Berta, who was born in 1889. He also had a brother, Bohuslav, born in 1892.
  • Oskar was a believer in omens. This belief was sparked by an account of a fire that broke out in Pochlarn just after his mother had given birth to Oskar.
  • The family’s lives were difficult, in large part because of the lack of financial stability for his father.
  • One of Kokoschka’s teachers suggested that he pursue a career in the art of drawing after they were impressed with the drawings he made.


19. Max Pechstein

Expressionism artists

Born: 31 December 1881, Zwickau, Germany

Died: 29 June 1955, West Berlin

Spouse: Lotte Kaprolat (m. 1911–1923)

Education: Academy of Fine Arts Dresden

Place of burial: Friedhof Schmargendorf, Berlin, Germany

  • Hermann Max Pechstein was a German artist and printmaker who was an expressionist.
  • Pechstein is a native of Zwickau as the son of a craftsman employed in the cloth mill. The household of 8 lived on the income of the father.
  • He started as a decorator in his hometown before enrolling in the School of Applied Arts and later at the Royal Art Academy in Dresden.
  • The artist was also the sole member trained in formal art.
  • In 1933, Pechstein was vilified by the Nazis due to his work. He was prohibited from showing or painting his work, and later in the same year, he was dismissed from his teaching job.


20. George Grosz

Expressionism artists

Born: 26 July 1893, Berlin, Germany

Died: 6 July 1959, West Berlin

Artworks: Eclipse of the Sun, The Funeral

Place of burial: Friedhof Heerstraße, Berlin, Germany

Spouse: Eva Louise Peter (m. 1920–1959)

  • George Grosz was a German artist famous for his caricatural sketches and paintings depicting Berlin life in the 1920s.
  • The artist actively participated in Berlin’s Dada and the New Objectivity groups during the Weimar Republic.
  • He emigrated to the United States in 1933 and was a naturalized American in 1938.
  • In 1959, he returned to Berlin 1959 and passed away just a few days later.
  • His parents were fervently Lutheran.
  • Following his father’s death around 1900, the family relocated to the Wedding district in Berlin with his mother and sisters.


21. Paula Modersohn-Becker

Expressionism artists

Born: 8 February 1876, Friedrichstadt, Dresden, Germany

Died: 20 November 1907, Worpswede, Germany

Children: Mathilde Modersohn

Spouse: Otto Modersohn (m. 1901–1907)

  • Paula Modersohn Becker was a German Expressionist painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Her work is well-known for its ferocity, brutal, unapologetic humanity, and numerous self-portraits she has created that include naked self-portraits.
  • She is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the early expressionism movement and produced more than 700 works and more than 1000 drawings in her long painting career.
  • She made “sentimental” landscapes and scenes of the daily life of a peasant.
  • The wedding took place in May 1901. Becker Modersohn was married to Becker.


22. James Ensor

Expressionism artists

Born: 13 April 1860, Ostend, Belgium

Died: 19 November 1949, Ostend, Belgium

Buried: 23 November 1949, Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Duinenkerk, Ostend, Belgium

Education: Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels

  • James Ensor was a Belgian painter and printmaker. He had a significant influence on surrealism and Expressionism.
  • He was a part of the group of artists Les XX.
  • Ensor first displayed his work in 1881. From 1880 to 1917, Ensor’s studio was in the attic of his parent’s home.
  • The paintings of Ensor continued to be displayed, and he slowly gained acceptance and praise.
  • The four years that span 1888 and 1892 are the beginning of Ensor’s career.


23. Lasar Segall

Expressionism artists

Born: 21 July 1889, Vilnius, Lithuania

Died: 2 August 1957, São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil

  • Lasar Segall was a Lithuanian Jewish and Brazilian painter, sculptor, engraver and painter.
  • The work of Segall is derived from Expressionism, impressionism, and modernism.
  • The most memorable themes of his work included depictions of human suffering, such as war, persecution, and prostitution.
  • Segall was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, the son of the Torah Scribe.
  • In 1912, his first work was exhibited in an old insane asylum.


24. Chaim Soutine

Expressionism artists

Born: 13 January 1893, Belarus

Died: 9 August 1943, Paris, France

Movies: Chaïm Soutine: 20th Century Expressionist Artist

Place of burial: Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

  • Chaim Soutine was a Belarusian artist who contributed significantly to the movement of expressionists during his time at work and living in Paris.
  • In 1913, he emigrated to Paris with his fellow friends Pinchus Kremegne and Michel Kikoine.
  • Following the war, Paul Guillaume, a highly influential art dealer, began to advocate Soutine’s art.


25. August Strindberg

Expressionism artists

Born: 22 January 1849, Stockholm, Sweden

Died: 14 May 1912, Stockholm, Sweden

Children: Karin Smirnov, Friedrich Strindberg, Anne-Marie Hagelin, Hans Strindberg, Greta Strindberg, Kerstin Strindberg

Grandchildren: Arne A. Wyller, Christoph Sulzbach

Parents: Carl Oscar Strindberg, Eleonora Ulrika Norling

  • August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, and painter.
  • He explored various dramatic strategies and objectives, including naturalistic tragedy monodrama to historical plays.
  • He is often referred to as the “father” of modern Swedish literature.
  • In the 1890s, He travelled extensively in scientific research and research into the occult.
  • Strindberg was born on the 22nd of January, 1849. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden.

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