Neo-Expressionism (1980-todays)

Neo-expressionism is mainly based on the German Expressionist movement and spread to other parts of Europe and United States pretty fast.

Julian Schnabel's Hope (1982)
Julian Schnabel’s Hope (1982).

Image source: https://alchetron.com/Neo-expressionism

Neo Expressionism in Architecture 

Neo-Expressionist architecture is linked to some very unique structures. This architectural movement used to work on notable, large public buildings like museums and concert halls. Expressionist architects wanted to create buildings useful in evoking feelings or emotions. Neo-Expressionist architecture is subjective; it’s easier to define it in four points:


  • It tends to stay away from geometric rigour.
  • It doesn’t rely on past styles.
  • It is highly personal.
  • Its structures tend to be unique works of their creators.
New Delhi's Lotus Temple.
New Delhi’s Lotus Temple.

Image source: https://codinaarchitectural.com/new-delhis-lotus-temple/

 Masters of Neo-Expressionism

Eero Saarinen started his career with an apprenticeship and partnership with his father. His most important commission was the TWA Flight Center, which can be considered the apex of his previous works and a demonstration his neo-expressionist art and the technical marvel in concrete shells.

TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport
TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport.

Image source: https://www.chegg.com/flashcards/3114-final-new-material-b570ec81-0720-4f84-968e-473fe2b8ba83/deck

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid is the undisputed queen of contemporary iconic architecture. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. Hadid’s designs are characterized by their dynamic formal qualities of sinuously, curving lines. One of her projects is MAXXI in Rome.

MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts (1998–2010), Rome, Italy
MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts (1998–2010), Rome, Italy.

Image source: http://www.archidatum.com/gallery?id=7795&node=7796

Neo-Expressionist Painting

Neo-Expressionism spreaded through all of Germany, where new generations felt the need to distinguish themselves from a past of horror constituted by the undeniable acts of the Nazi regime during the war. It was featured with a return to figuration in expressive, gestural, and sometimes brashly aggressive art pieces.

Galerie Michael Schultz, Art Exhibition of German Neo-Expressionism
Galerie Michael Schultz, Art Exhibition of German Neo-Expressionism.

Image source: https://www.schultzberlin.com/de/news/neo-expressionism-german-art

Neue Wilden

Neuen Wilden, or “New Savages”, was a group of German expressionist painters, active in the eighties in Berlin and Germany. The word includes neo-expressive German art of the 1980s, the most relevant cities for the movement were Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. Sometimes the term is also employed with international Neo-expressionism.  It passed to describe a group of younger artist, followers of a “screaming” and gestural painting, with violent and dissonant tones.

Georg Baselitz Nachtessen in Dresden [Supper in Dresden] 1983
Georg Baselitz, Nachtessen in Dresden [Supper in Dresden] 1983.

 Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/412923859558852117/

Neo Expressionism in Italy

In 1979, Italian art critic and curator Achille Bonito Oliva worked at an introduction for an exhibition he organized in the town of Genazzano. Titled Le Stanze”, was about the show hosting a small group of young painters whose works seemed to have recalled the Expressionist painting at a time when Conceptual art ruled art tendencies. To talk about their art, Oliva used the term Transavanguardia”.

'Musica_Ebbra',_painting_by_Enzo_Cucchi,1982
‘Musica_Ebbra’, painting by Enzo Cucchi,1982.

Image source: http://www.encyclopediart.org/enzo%20cucchi.htm

 the IDLENESS OF SISYPHUS, SandroChia, 1981 Permanent collection of MoMA, New York
The IDLENESS OF SISYPHUS, SandroChia, 1981,Permanent collection of MoMA, New York.

Image source: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79656

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Neo-Expressionism

https://www.theartstory.org/movement/neo-expressionism/

Leave a Reply