In expressionism, it is considered more important that the work depicts the subjective, personal emotions accurately, than that the subjects drawn are an accurate, external presentation of reality.


Expressionism found its roots in two groups of German painters, Die Bruecke and Der Blaue Reiter. Die Bruecke, meaning "the Bridge" was centered in Dresden and included artists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Otto Mueller, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

The other German Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter, meaning The Blue Rider, began in Munich in 1911 and lasted until 1913. Der Blaue Reiter took its name from a painting by Kandinsky title "Le cavalier bleu." The group was united more by their common goal of portraying spirituality rather than stylistic similarities. Der Blaue Reiter opened the doors fro abstraction because of its ideas of experimentation and originality. Artists involved were Franz Marc, August Macke, Gabriele Munter, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Alexei Yavlensky

The stylistic premise of Expressionism was that the artist's response to the environment was so intense that it affected the form of the art. Surface elements are distorted or exaggerated by subjective pressures. As a reflection of the time, Expressionist painting tended to be vivid and violent, with jarring images.