Categories: Trends

Neo-expressionism 1975 – 1990

A movement in painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, which emerged in the late 1970s and was firmly established on the critical map in the early 1980s with a number of major exhibitions, especially ‘A New Spirit in Painting’ held at the Royal Academy, London in 1981 The paintings are typically on a large scale, rapidly executed, and display a raw, expressive approach to their materials Objects such as straw or broken crockery may be embedded in the paint surface Subject-matter is usually figurative but often infused with a spirit of pessimism Neo-Expressionism has enjoyed particular success in Germany (Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz) and the USA (Julian Schnabel)

Neo-expressionism is a style of late-modernist or early-postmodern painting and sculpture that emerged in the late 1970s Neo-expressionists were sometimes called Neue Wilden (‘The new wild ones’; ‘New Fauves’ would better meet the meaning of the term) It is characterized by intense subjectivity and rough handling of materials

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Neo-expressionism developed as a reaction against conceptual art and minimal art of the 1970s Neo-expressionists returned to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body, (although sometimes in an abstract manner), in a rough and violently emotional way, often using vivid colors It was overtly inspired by German Expressionist painters, such as Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, James Ensor and Edvard Munch It is also related to American Lyrical Abstraction painting of the 1960s and 1970s, The Hairy Who movement in Chicago, the Bay Area Figurative School of the 1950s and 1960s, the continuation of Abstract Expressionism, New Image Painting and precedents in Pop Painting

New neo-Expressionism was an artistic movement, mostly focused on painting, which was born in the seventies of the twentieth century, characterized by a decisive recovery of the figure often represented under the deformed lens of restlessness. Nevertheless, this is an image that deteriorates, is consumed and dematerialized behind the rough pictorial treatment.

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Neo-expressionism dominated the art market until the mid-1980s The style emerged internationally and was viewed by many critics, such as Achille Bonito Oliva and Donald Kuspit, as a revival of traditional themes of self-expression in European art after decades of American dominance The social and economic value of the movement was hotly debated

Diffused mainly in the United States, Germany and Italy, neo-Expressionism, after the experimental anarchy of previous years, has indicated a path that is backward to the rediscovery of more traditional matrix forms. This, perhaps, is one of the reasons why it was well received by art dealers and art collectors around the world.

The language of the picture is usually characterized by a spontaneous, violent gesture, while in the early days, mainly motifs of the city were used as subjects, whereby partial expressions of expressionism were recaptured and reproduced. In particular, the return of painting to a personal and symbolic image language was called for.

Neo-expressionism protest painting found more ironic expressions to exploring the limits of the borders between kitsch, consumption and art, and “the normal” “The rational”.