No more reporter of reality
The word 'expressionism' is used for innovative, anti-impressionist tendencies in the visual arts in Western Europe, starting around 1905. In Germany, France, Belgium and Austria, groups of like-minded artists arose who wanted to express reality instead of painting. indicate their own feelings towards their topic. For their visual language they made use of the expressive power of color and the free interpretation of forms. The earliest manifestation of expressionism takes place in Germany with the groups Die Brücke (Dresden, 1905-1913) and Der Blaue Reiter (Munich, 1911-1914), and in France with the Fauvists. Especially in Germany, the bond with reality sometimes fades to such an extent that it virtually disappears.
Expressionism in the Netherlands: De Ploeg and the Bergense School
Expressionism expresses itself in different ways in our country. As a real group we can only mention the Groninger Ploeg, in which the same spiritual unity prevailed as in the aforementioned German avant-garde groups. Bright, exuberant colors and a bold transformation of nature are the characteristic style elements of painters such as Johan Dijkstra, Jan Wiegers and Jan Altink in the heyday of De Ploeg from 1920 onwards.
The Bergen School (1915-1925) is usually also classified as expressionism, although this was more about a collection of individual artists who were active in Amsterdam and Bergen in turn and who had unanimous ideas. Their landscapes and still lifes are usually characterized by simple shapes and surfaces, a solid brushstroke and a color with a lot of browns, greens and ochres. For painters such as Arnout Colnot, Dirk Filarski, Harrie Kuijten, Piet van Wijngaerdt, Matthieu and Piet Wiegman and for a short time Leo Gestel, the French cubists, Cézanne and the painter Henri Le Fauconnier, who lived in the Netherlands from 1914 onwards, served as a source of inspiration. Painters such as Gustave de Smet who emigrated to the Netherlands in the First World War also influenced Dutch expressionism.
From now on it is about emotion
In addition, expressionism in the Netherlands from 1914 onwards mainly shows a diverse picture of individual artists who process expressionist impulses into a strictly personal style in which color and form express a strong perception of emotions. Some artists tried to depict a deeper, (spiritual) reality in their work, often making use of ideas from the worlds of theosophy and anthroposophy, such as Jacoba van Heemskerck, Else Berg, Mommie Schwarz and the early Charley Toorop. Others go their own independent course in reasonable isolation, with work with a strong emotional charge that reflects the feelings of the artist. Such as Herman Kruyder, Hendrik Chabot, Hendrik Wiegersma and Herman Gouwe.