What is the difference between Expressionism and Fauvism

Expressionism - current affairs

Otto Müller (German painter, 1874-1930),
Landscape with bathers, 1915

Expressionism developed in the pre-war period of the Wilhelmine Empire. The increasing and all-dominating materialization and industrialization shaped the society. Many people left their manual and rural life. They sought their existence and success in the industrial cities. Social disparities grew, and so did the gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Expressionism represents an artistic response to this change in society. The associated protest on the part of the Expressionists turned against the bourgeoisie of the Wilhelmine era. They were looking for an expression for their own individuality. In it the human being should play a role and not function as a small building block of the whole.

Visitors in front of André Derain's (1880-1954) painting "The Paris of Modigliani and its Contemporaries" in the Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City.
Derain was a French artist and one of the main exponents of Fauvism.

"The Wild Animals"

Expressionism emerged from French Fauvism. The Fauvists - also called "the wild animals", exhibited their works in Paris from 1905-1907. Their new style of painting differed from that of the Impressionists - they wanted to make an art that would reinforce their own expression to a greater extent. She saw her role models in painters such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch.

The first exhibitions of the Fauvists, also known as "pre-expressionists", shocked the public. The Fauvists rejected socially established ideals and ideas of art and used bright, unfamiliar and unrealistic colors for their motifs. Important representatives of Fauvism were Henri Matisse and Andre Derain.

August Macke, portrait of Hans Thuar
(1887–1945, German painter), 1903

About the longing of the Expressionists

Despite all the differences between the artists of Expressionism, they all had one thing in common. The Expressionists used their art as a medium to preserve and express individuality, their innermost feelings and ideas. The longing and search for your own individual form of expression.

Most expressionists lived in big cities and moved in variety theaters, pubs, brothels and literary cafes. Their view and attitude to life in the city is expressed in numerous pictures and poems from this era. Although many Expressionists, especially German artists, stood behind their fatherland, they encounter problems in society. On the part of the ruling regime, their art was judged as "degenerate" and devalued. One consequence and reaction on the part of the state was to forbid many artists from practicing their art. In order to continue painting, many Expressionists were forced to leave their country.

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published by the team of authors, on November 18th, 2006, updated on April 17th, 2021