For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2003

Graphic Visions: German Expressionist Prints and Drawings

January 25–April 6, 2003
West Gallery

Erich Heckel - Before the Mirror

Erich Heckel
German, 1883-1970
Before the Mirror
1920
lithograph
Museum purchase
1960/2.86

Nearly a century ago, artists working in Germany sought to create an art that would infuse not only their own work but German society with a new sense of spiritualism and energy. The works they created were fresh, expressive visions of an utopian society. Painters and printmakers such as Max Pechstein, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Kirchner and Max Beckmann employed distortion and exaggeration to create the vibrant and sometimes raw imagery found in German Expressionism from the years 1905 to 1924.

The exhibition is organized to allow viewers to see Expressionism’s initial impulse to restore Germany spiritually, to the disillusionment of the defeat in World War I, and, finally, to the effort to employ Expressionist art to advance working-class politics amid Germany’s post-war crisis. Expressionism’s deep engagement with contemporary cultural, social, and political issues is reflected through the bold graphic works in this exhibition which tell the story not just of Expressionism in the first quarter of the twentieth century but also of the nation in which the movement flourished.

Graphic Visions: German Expressionist Prints & Drawings, 1905-1924 brings together a remarkable group of works on paper. Drawn largely from the Museum of Art’s extensive holdings of Expressionism, the exhibition also includes important works from both private and public collections in southeast Michigan.

This exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art. Additional support has been provided by the University of Michigan’s History of Art Department and the Katherine Tuck Enrichment Fund.

 

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