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12 Apr 2017

Modern Art Classics: Liebermann, Munch, Nolde, Kandinsky

Museum Barberini

Reviewed by Vera Wilde

Between the rapid impasto, distorted perspective, and emotive sway of Nolde's Breezy Day by the Sea (1906) and the flat swathes, perpendicular lines, and lively dots of Kandinsky's White Sound (1908), the seeds of Impressionism sprout Expressionism.

If the Impressionists make the ordinary extraordinary, their Expressionist heirs reach farther into history and deeper into psychology, elevating low culture and the unconscious to new heights. Kandinsky and Tamayo draw from folklore, while Munch focuses on perennial struggles with isolation, fertility, and mortality.

The classics illustrate Benjamin's forecast that advanced means of reproduction would transform the entire technique of the arts. Controlled distortion makes old images new, as in Warhol's Mona Lisa Four Times (1978). Old tools disorient in new ways, as in Francis's centering of empty white space in My Shell Angel (1986).

Exhibition Modern Art Classics: Liebermann, Munch, Nolde, Kandinsky link
Start date 23 Jan 2017
End date 28 May 2017
Presenter Museum Barberini link
Venue Humboldtstraße 5–6, Potsdam, DEU map
Image Wassily Kandinsky, White Sound, 1908, private collection, courtesy of the Museum Barbarini
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