Painting by Marianne von Werefkin (1860 – 1938)
“Europe was transformed by the new experience of metropolitan life between 1860 and 1930. Expressionism was a visionary expression of what it feels like to be adrift, exhilarated, in a fast-paced, incomprehensible world.”
– Jackie Wullschlager
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality.
Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including expressionist architecture, painting, literature, theatre, dance, film and music.
The term is sometimes suggestive of angst.