Of all the modern--as distinguished from traditional--movements, expressionism has been the most enduring. Futurism, Dada, surrealism have flourished and virtually disappeared; abstract art has waxed and waned in alternate cycles. But ever since the Armory Show we have had a vigorous group of expressionists, and their number has grown rather than diminished in the years since 1940. With many younger artists still developing their personal kinds of expressionism, there is no sign of the movement's ebbing. It remains a major current in our contemporary art.
This is particularly true if one includes within expressionism's flexible boundaries the abstract- expressionist trend of the 1950's, which has been widespread both here and abroad. But because the latter trend breaks so decisively with imagery, it will be discussed in the chapter devoted to free forms of abstraction, while the present discussion will concern itself only with expressionist works in a representational vein--paintings which deal with the recognizable world, though they distort it in varying ways and to various degrees in order to convey more vividly a mood or an emotion. Even with this limitation, expressionism embraces such different kinds of art that one may question whether it can justly be called a movement at all. Certainly there is little sense of solidarity or of a shared program