Wednesday, March 30, 2011

German Expressionism + Rhine River Cuisine

Now Showing
at MoMA
German Expressionism:
The Graphic Impulse
Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
Portrait of a Man 
composition: 18 3/16 x 12 3/4" (46.2 x 32.4 cm); 
sheet (irreg.): 24 1/4 x 20" (61.6 x 50.8 cm) 
The essence of German Expressionism was to show real life emotions.
Edvard Munch's
"The Scream", 1893
One of the fathers of emotion based art, and a major influence on the German expressionist movement was the Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch. He summed up expressionism in this statement:
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969) 
Café Couple 
Watercolor and pencil on paper 
20 x 16 1/8" (50.8 x 41 cm) 
Since German Expressionism shows real life, if there is a down side to German Expressionist's art it came from the age of anxiety in which these artists worked. The movement flourished from 1905 until 1945, before and during World Wars I and II. These were times when pain, suffering and fear were the preeminent emotions.
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As a result of the world wars - death, maimed bodies, missing limbs, famine and disease from inadequate medical care were all a part of life in every German household. Thus, many of the images in German expressionistic art are "difficult" to view. A large part of the movement evolved into a protest against the horrors of war. 
Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918) 
Standing Male Nude with Arm Raised, Back View 
Watercolor and charcoal on paper 
17 5/8 x 12 3/8" (44.8 x 31.4 cm)

There are the occasional colorful paintings from artist Franz Marc, the free and extremely intimate depictions of lovers by artist Egon Schiele and the hectic pace of the people in the street by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. 
"They (street scene paintings) originated in the years 1911-14, in one of the loneliest times of my life, during which an agonizing restlessness drove me out onto the streets day and night, which were filled with people and cars." - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
German expressionistic art was created from the artists' point of view and their reaction to the world they were experiencing. The viewer of this art sees and feels the world through their eyes. 

Emil Nolde 
(German, 1867-1956) 

Museum of Modern Art
German Expressionism:
The Graphic Impulse
March 27–July 11, 2011
Virtually every artist in Germany at the time was inclined to work with printmaking as you will see, since this show at MoMA is 99% prints and an occasional painting shown in the large exhibition space on the 6th floor. The thematic categories for the prints in the exhibition are: 1: War; 2: Postwar Politics; 3: Death; 4: Religion; 5: Sex; 6: City Life; 7: Primitivism; 8: Fantasy; 9: Literary Subjects; 10: Nature; 11: Nudes; 12: Dance & Leisure; and 13: Portraits - all filled with primal emotions.

Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950) 
Group Portrait, Eden Bar 
composition (irreg.): 19 1/2 x 19 7/16" (49.5 x 49.3 cm); 
sheet: 23 5/8 x 27 11/16" (60 x 70.3 cm) 

Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950) 
Self-Portrait in Bowler Hat 
(1921, published not before 1922) 
plate: 12 11/16 x 9 3/4" (32.3 x 24.8 cm); 
sheet: 21 1/8 x 16 1/2" (53.7 x 41.9 cm) 
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969) 
composition (irreg.): 19 1/16 x 14 1/2" (48.4 x 36.8 cm);
sheet (irreg.): 23 5/8 x 18 5/16" (60 x 46.5 cm) 

BIO: Otto Dix was a painter, print maker and watercolorist. Known especially for his caustic portraits of postwar German society. Studied in Dresden from 1910 to 1914, where he encountered art of the Brücke and began painting in a colorful, emotionally exaggerated and gestural style. Profoundly influenced by writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, which he carried into war as an enthusiastic volunteer in 1914. Saw action as an artillery gunner; wounded multiple times and decorated with Iron Cross, Second Class. Served entire war, through 1918; emerged with scathing view of mankind. Settled in Dresden in 1919, where he made contact with socialist Expressionist groups; was also briefly involved with Dada, exhibiting works at First International Dada Fair in 1920. Created several monumental works chronicling the brutality of war, including a portfolio of fifty shockingly graphic etchings, The War (published 1924 and in this exhibition). Also focused on postwar decadence, depicting war profiteers, prostitutes and crippled veterans. Was tutored in printmaking by Conrad Felixmüller in Dresden in 1919/20, and eventually made 350 different prints, typically exploiting the starkness of black and white. Approximately one-third were created during his sharpest years between 1919 and 1924; others mostly date from the 1930s to the 1960s, when his outlook had mellowed somewhat. Stripped of honors and teaching position in 1933 by Nazis, who also seized 260 works, some of which were destroyed.  


Franz Marc (German, 1880-1916) 
Riding School After Ridinger 
Composition: 10 9/16 x 11 3/4" (26.9 x 29.8 cm); 
sheet: 12 13/16 x 14 3/4" (32.5 x 37.5 cm) 

Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956) 
Young Couple 
composition: 24 1/2 x 19 13/16" (62.2 x 50.3 cm); 
sheet (irreg.): 27 3/16 x 22 1/2" (69 x 57.1 cm

Max Pechstein (German, 1881-1955) 
Dancer in the Mirror 
composition: 19 7/16 x 15 3/4" (49.4 x 40 cm);
 sheet (irreg.): 31 11/16 x 22 13/16" (80.5 x 58 cm) 

Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956) 
Sheet: 23 5/8 x 29 15/16" (60 x 76 cm); 
Composition: 21 x 27 1/16" (53.3 x 68.8 cm)

Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
(1911), dated 1910 
composition: 9 3/4 x 7 3/8" (24.7 x 18.8 cm); 
sheet: 16 5/8 x 11 7/8" (42.3 x 30.2 cm) 

Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886-1980) 
Hans Tietze and Erica Tietze-Conrat 
Oil on canvas 
30 1/8 x 53 5/8" (76.5 x 136.2 cm) 
BIO: Oskar Kokoschka was a painter, print maker and dramatist. Performance of his early Expressionist play, Murderer, Hope of Women, at the 1909 Kunstschau exhibition scandalized Vienna. Had been promoted early on by the Wiener Werkstätte, which published his fairy tale Die träumenden Knaben (The Dreaming Boys) in 1908, the first of several books he wrote and illustrated. But friendship with architect and critic Adolf Loos decisively influenced his turn away from decorative influences, toward an expressive, gestural style of painting in portraits and other figurative scenes. From 1910, was in contact with Expressionist circles in Berlin, including Herwarth Walden, who reproduced many of Kokoschka's drawings and texts in his journal Der Sturm. Volunteered for Austrian army in World War I; seriously wounded in 1915. From 1916 to 1931, was supported by Paul Cassirer. Moved to Dresden in 1917 and taught at the art academy there from 1919 until 1923. Later resettled in Vienna, where he lived from 1931 to 1934. Labeled a “degenerate” artist by the Nazis, who confiscated 417 of his works. To avoid Nazis, fled to Prague (1934–38), then London (1938–53). Spent final years, from 1953 to 1980, in Switzerland. Ultimately made more than 560 prints, approximately one-third in the 1910s and 1920s. Most are lithographic or photo-lithographic portraits or book illustrations, which, like his drawings, feature a nervous, electrically charged style. 
Jeanne Mammen (German, 1890-1976) 
Carnival in Berlin N III 
(c. 1930) 
Watercolor and pencil on paper 
23 5/8 x 18 5/8" (60 x 47.3 cm) 

Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
Fränzi Reclining 
composition (irreg.): 8 15/16 x 16 1/2" (22.7 x 41.9 cm);
sheet (irreg.): 14 x 21 7/8" (35.6 x 55.5 cm) 
Sources for this article: 
Museum of Modern Art press release,,,


Vasily Kandinsky (French, born Russia. 1866-1944)

The Illustrated Book
Klänge (Sounds)

Sounds by Vasily Kandinsky. (1913). Illustrated book with fifty-six woodcuts, page (each): 11 1/16 x 10 7/8" (28.1 x 27.7 cm); overall: 11 1/4 x 11 1/4" (28.5 x 28.5 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, laid (Van Gelder Zonen). Publisher: R. Piper & Co., Munich. Edition: Book: 300 (signed and numbered); 45 h.c. The Louis E. Stern Collection. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Klänge is one of three major publications by Kandinsky that appeared shortly before World War I, alongside Über die Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art) and the Blaue Reiter almanac, which he edited with one of the group's co-founders, Franz Marc. Fearing poor sales, Munich-based Reinhard Piper only reluctantly published Klänge, and Kandinsky had to guarantee the production costs. More than two years after its release, Klänge had sold fewer than 120 copies. The planned Russian version never materialized. The publication was nevertheless influential on other avant-garde artists, and Futurists in Russia and Dadaists in Zurich recited and published some of the poems.

for this book.

German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse
By Starr Figura, With essays by Starr Figura and Peter Jelavich and contributions by Heather Hess and Iris Schmeisser

This volume showcases The Museum of Modern Art’s remarkable holdings of German Expressionist prints along with a careful selection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the collection. More than 250 works by some thirty artists, including Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Vasily Kandinsky, and Oskar Kokoschka, are accompanied by essays by Starr Figura, Associate Curator at the Museum, and Peter Jelavich, Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, that discuss the centrality of printmaking in German Expressionism and describe the movement’s sociocultural backdrop.  
Item# 795  $60.00

Inspired by the Rhine River Valley

Prepare meal & pretend you are dining in a
beautiful restaurant overlooking the Rhine.

6 salmon steaks
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups melted butter

Combine vinegar, salt and four cups of water in a high walled skillet or fish poacher. Bring liquids to a boil. Add salmon, reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain salmon and serve with melted butter. Exact time or even a little less is important. Serves 6.

German Potato Salad
  • 9 potatoes, peeled
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and slice thin.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving drippings.
  3. Saute onions in bacon drippings until they are golden-brown.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add to the sauteed onions and cook and stir until bubbly, then remove from heat. Stir in water and vinegar, then return to the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Carefully stir bacon and sliced potatoes into the vinegar/water mixture, stirring gently until potatoes are heated through.
Salad Greens
Oil & Vinegar Dressing: 3 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 part vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, grind of salt and grind of pepper.

Serve with a white Riesling:
Wegeler Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spatl vintage (2002 best year lately but all years are good).

Recipes: salmon / an original family recipe; potato salad from 

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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