As well as its inventory of Austrian expressionist painting, the Belvedere also owns outstanding examples of German expressionism. Whereas Austrian artists favoured a sombre, morbid colouration and loaded their works with symbols of death and decay, German expressionism was dominated by a garish motley of colours, motifs of life in the big city, or religious subjects. The works include paintings by members of the artists’ group " Die Brücke" (The Bridge), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde, also portraits by Alexei Javlensky, an exponent of expressionism close to the " Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider) group. Both groups were on a constant quest for new, creative possibilities of expression.
One of the main exponents of German expressionism and leading personality within the artists’ group " Die Brücke", which he co-founded in 1905, is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; his work in the collection is represented by The Klosters Mountains (1923). He discovered African and Oceanic art as a source of inspiration, which is reflected above all in his woodcuts. Another major representative of expressionism is Max Pechstein, who joined the artists’ group in 1906, one year after its founding by Kirchner, Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff. He painted his Still Life with Apples and Bananas in 1912. Like Pechstein, Emil Nolde used a planar application of paint as vehicle of expression. Shortly after his brief membership of the " Brücke" he began painting his first religious pictures, among them Joseph Tells his Dreams (1910). Nolde and Pechstein, who both travelled to New Guinea, studied the new creative potential for representation inspired by the art of primitive peoples.
The painter Alexei Javlensky was born in Russia and lived in Munich. His personal friendship with Vassiliy Kandinksy had forged a close contact to the artists’ group
" Der Blaue Reiter". He found inspiration for his robust colour compositions in Russian folk art and in the French Fauves such as Henri Matisse, for instance, as is evident in the Portrait of a Lady (1908).
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