German Painting in Our Time

German Painting in Our Time

German Painting in Our Time

German Painting in Our Time

Excerpt

When speaking of German Painting "in our time", we realise that the term, as applied to the forces present and active in contemporary art encompasses far more than the creative work of living painters.

While the illustrative material for this book was being compiled, Baumeister, Feininger, Hofer, Nolde, Pechstein and, of the younger generation, Werner Heldt, passed away. But is the influence of the contemporaries of the "older" generation who died earlier -- Beckmann, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Klee, Schlemmer -- less present?

It is not the purpose of this book to show only the new trends and new talents which may have come to the fore since 1945, for then some of the younger artists would have merited mention. As is stands, this volume embraces within its framework three or four generations of painters -- living as well as dead. Which one of these generations, considering their influence and significance for our time, should have been given more limited treatment?

The revolutionary element operative at the beginning of our century which has been made the starting point of our discussion, was confined to the "Bruecke" and the "Blaue Reiter" movements. But it was not intended to write a history of the art of that period. If this had been so, Lovis Corinth, for instance, who achieved an Expressionist style beyond Impressionism, or Paula Modersohn-Becker who, though going her own way, never lost touch with her time, would have had to be extensively discussed. The works of the Impressionists projected themselves decisively into the contemporaries' sphere of existence. Whatever "historical" events are referred to, are mentioned only for general guidance.

Art is never merely an illustration of contemporary philosophical and scientific findings; it is analogous to them and often anticipates them. The brief and striking quotaotins from Kant to Heisenberg cited in the opening pages take the place of an historical introduction and are intended to promote a better understanding of our century's changed spiritual situation and to deepen the reader's awareness of the fact that artistic creation is not an esoteric occurrance but the expression of universal spiritual transformations.

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