Movements in Twentieth-Century Art Before World War II


Name: Group named by Parisian art critic Louis Vauxcelles in his review of the 1905 Salon d'Automne: "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" ("Donatello among the wild beasts!"). The remark was made in reference to a room in the salon in which a classical-looking statue by Albert Marquet was surrounded by paintings by Matisse and others.
Who: Henri Matisse, Georges Roualt, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck.
When: c. 1905-1908.
Where: France.
What: First modern movement of the 20th century in style and attitude. Movement composed of a number of individual styles. Bold color was a unifying element among the Fauves.
Subject Matter: Images of contemporary life (influence of Impressionism).
Style: Violently contrasting, non descriptive colors, and flat patterns.
Janson Example: MATISSE, The Joy of Life, 1905-1906.
Kissick Example: MATISSE, Harmony in Red, 1909.
Influenced by: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.
Will influence: German Expressionism.


Die Brücke

Name: German for "The Bridge." Term coined by Schmidt-Rottluff.
Who: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Emil Nolde, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and Max Pechstein.
When: c. 1905-1913.
Where: Dresden, Germany.
What: Die Brücke artists believed their work to be a kind of bridge between revolutionary elements and the art of the future. First group of German Expressionist painters.
Subject Matter: City streets, landscapes, sexuality.
Style: Flat, linear, rhythmical expression; simplification of form; and brilliant color.
Janson Example: KIRCHNER, Self-Portrait with Model, 1907.
Kissick Example: KIRCHNER, Five Women in the Street, 1913-15.
Influenced by: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Munch, Berlin Secession, Fauvism, medieval woodcuts, Oceanic and African art.
Will influence: Later Expressionists.


Deutscher Werkbund

Name: Name means "German Work Federation."
Who: Hermann Muthesius, Peter Behrens, Henry van de Velde, and Walter Gropius.
When: 1907-1933.
Where: Munich, Germany.
What: An association of German artists, architects, manufacturers, designers, and crafts firms advocating the adoption of high quality mass production.
Subject Matter: Utilitarian objects and architecture.
Style: High quality machine style, abolition of ornament, functional design.
Janson Example: BEHRENS, A.E.G. Turbine Factory, Berlin, 1909-1910.
Influenced by: Arts and Crafts Movement.
Will influence: The Bauhaus.



(Analytic and Synthetic)

Name: Term coined in 1908 by Louis Vauxcelles after hearing Matisse refer to a painting by Braque as nothing but "little cubes." Like Impressionism and Fauvism, the term was originally derogatory.
Who: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon.
When: c. 1907-1918.
Where: France.
What: Analytic Cubism (earlier phase of Cubism): subject shown as if seen from several angles simultaneously (traditional perspective is abandoned); fragmented space. Synthetic Cubism (later phase of Cubism): separate elements are brought together in a layered collage look. Lettering sometimes added, as well as real materials (newspapers, labels, etc.).
Subject Matter: Portraits, figure studies, still lifes, landscapes.
Style: Analytic Cubism: dull, muddy, facets of color. Objects and background treated with similar concern. Synthetic Cubism: collage look, stencils, actual materials, usually vibrant color.
Janson Examples: PICASSO, Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910 (Analytic Cubism) and PICASSO, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912 (Synthetic Cubism).
Kissick Examples: PICASSO, Girl with a Mandolin, 1910 (Analytic Cubism) and PICASSO, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912 (Synthetic Cubism).
Influenced by: Cézanne's later work; African, Oceanic and Iberian sculpture; Rousseau's "primitivism."
Will influence: Orphism, Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Constructivism, and Art Deco.



Name: Group's name derived from the artists belief that society's redemption lay in the future.
Who: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, and Gino Severini.
When: 1909-1929.
Where: Italy.
What: Marinetti's Futurist manifesto of 1909 (the first of many by the group) outlined the group's aims: the destruction of museums and libraries, and the glorification of speed, machinery and violence. The group hoped for a new world order to emerge from the destruction of the status quo.
Subject Matter: Figures and objects in motion. Said Marinetti: "A roaring more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace."
Style: Visual embodiment of dynamism. Speed represented by the merging of objects or figures with their backgrounds. Vivid colors.
Janson Example: BOCCIONI, Dynamism of a Cyclist, 1913; BOCCIONI, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913.
Kissick Example: BOCCIONI, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913.
Influenced by: Cubism.
Will influence: Cubo-Futurism and Dada.



Name: Name coined by writer Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912 for paintings he saw in Paris by Robert Delaunay. Orpheus was the Greek god of music and lyrics. The term also derives from the Symbolist musical term Orphique, meaning "entrancingly lyrical."
Who: Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Francis Picabia, and Marcel Duchamp.
When: 1911-1914.
Where: Paris.
What: Painters associated with Orphism infused vivid colors into the somber tones of Analytic Cubism. They believed that musical, literary or visual sensations have equivalents in other mediums of expression.
Subject Matter: Very early paintings depicted modern life, but by 1911 the works are non-representational.
Style: Colorful, kaleidoscopic patterns of geometric shapes.
Janson Example: Robert DELAUNAY, Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon, 1913.
Influenced by: Cubism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism.


Der Blaue Reiter

Name: German for "The Blue Rider." Term first used by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky as a title for a 1903 painting.
Who: Lyonel Feininger, Alexey von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Franz Marc.
When: 1911-1914.
Where: Munich, Germany.
What: Kandinsky and other artists adopted the name Der Blaue Reiter for their new group and almanac, which they published from 1912-1914. Second group of German Expressionist painters, although this group was more international than Die Brücke. Three main approaches by these artists: spiritual, expressionistic and abstract. They wanted their work to embody spiritual concerns, which they thought had been neglected by the Impressionists.
Subject Matter: Portraits, landscapes, and animals, as well as non-objective scenes.
Style: Extremely varied among the members: vibrant color, representational, abstract, and non-objective.
Janson Example: KANDINSKY, Sketch I for "Composition VII," 1913.
Kissick Example: KANDINSKY, Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons), 1913.
Influenced by: Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Expressionism.
Will influence: Orphism and Futurism.



Name: Malevich first applied the term to his own paintings exhibited in Moscow in 1913.
Who: Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, and Liubov Popova.
When: 1913-1915.
Where: Moscow and St. Petersburg.
What: Combination of fractured, Cubist space with Futurism's color, dynamic movement and love of industry.
Subject Matter: Derived from Russian icons, folk art and children's art.
Style: Tubular forms against geometric backgrounds; colorful; fragmented space.
Janson Example: POPOVA, The Traveler, 1915.
Influenced by: Cubism and Futurism.
Will influence: Constructivism.



Name: Name derives from Tatlin, Pevsner and Gabo's Realist Manifesto of 1920 in which one of their directives was "to construct" art.
Who: Vladimir Tatlin, Naum Gabo, El Lissitzky, Antoine Pevsner, Liubov Popova, and Aleksandr Rodchenko.
When: 1913-1920s.
Where: U.S.S.R.
What: Constructivists rejected conventional easel painting in favor of utilitarian designs for mass production (art applied to social and industrial needs).
Subject Matter: Some works are non-representational, while others are functional.
Style: Abstract assemblages of industrial metal, plastic, glass, and wire. Among the first total abstractions in the history of sculpture. Other constructions were prototypes for architectural, stage, or industrial designs.
Janson Example: TATLIN, Project for Monument to the Third International, 1919-1920.
Influenced by: Malevich, Picasso's constructions, Cubism, and Cubo-Futurism.
Will influence: The Bauhaus, De Stijl and Minimalism.



Name: Malevich used the word "Suprematism" to describe his own paintings in a 1915 exhibition in Petrograd. Malevich: "the supremacy of pure feeling."
Who: El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Liubov Popova, and Aleksandr Rodchenko.
When: 1915-1923.
Where: Russian.
What: "Suprematism" reflects Malevich's belief in having reached the ultimate point in artistic expression. He believed his work conveyed an intellectual, even spiritual, essence.
Subject Matter: Completely non-representational.
Style: The first system of purely abstract pictorial composition, based on geometric figures. Narrow range of colors.
Janson/Kissick Example: MALEVICH, Suprematist Composition: White on White, 1918.
Influenced by: Cubism and Futurism (according to Malevich).
Will influence: Later Constructivism and the Bauhaus.



Name: Rumanian poet Tristan Tzara, along with a group of poets and painters, stuck a penknife in a French dictionary at random and it landed on "dada," which means "hobbyhorse." Nonsensical term appealed to the "Dadaists."
Who: Marcel Duchamp, Jean (Hans) Arp, Max Ernst, John Heartfield, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and Kurt Schwitters.
When: 1915-1923.
Where: New York and Western Europe (Zurich, Barcelona, Berlin, Cologne, and Paris).
What: Having seen the horrors of "modern" society in bringing about World War I, the Dadaists embraced irrational, intuitive, nihilistic, absurd and playful qualities; anything anti-modern and anti-rational. Dada has even been referred to as "anti-art." Dada isn't a style, but a world view.
Subject Matter: Everyday objects placed in absurd combinations; found objects; abstract compositions.
Style: Photomontages; collage; realism; abstraction; importance of chance.
Janson Example: DUCHAMP, In Advance of the Broken Arm, 1945, from the original of 1915.
Kissick Example: DUCHAMP, Bicycle Wheel, 1913.
Influenced by: Futurism.
Will influence: Surrealism, Conceptual Art, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Post-Modernism.

De Stijl

Name: Literally, "the style" (as opposed to a style) in Dutch. Also sometimes known as "Neo-Plasticism," after a 1920 pamphlet by Mondrian.
Who: Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, Georges Vantongerloo, and Gerrit Rietveld.
When: 1917-1931.
Where: The Netherlands.
What: Members believed in absolute artistic purity and rejected the subjectivity of the individual artist in an effort to create a more universal, spiritual art.
Subject Matter: Non-objective.
Style: Minimal abstract designs, straight lines, right angles, and primary colors (augmented by white, black and gray).
Janson Example: MONDRIAN, Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930.
Kissick Example: MONDRIAN, Composition in a Square, 1929.
Influenced by: Frank Lloyd Wright, Dutch mathematician and theosophist M.H.J. Schoenmaekers, and Constructivism.
Will influence: The Bauhaus and Art Deco.


Art Deco

Name: Name derives from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes ("Art Deco" is short for Arts Décoratifs), an exhibition held in Paris in 1925.
Who: Emil-Jacques Ruhlmann, Donald Deskey, René Lalique, and Timothy Pfleuger.
When: 1918-1939.
Where: Europe and the United States.
What: Decorative style associated mostly with mass-produced domestic goods, apparel, and graphic design rather than with architecture or art. Still, there are some notable architectural exceptions, such as William van Alen's Chrysler Building in New York.
Subject Matter: Stylized interiors, furniture, objects, and clothing.
Style: Eclectic blend of fragmentation; angular ornamentation; simple, massive, geometric forms; and luxurious materials.
Janson Example: RUHLMANN, Grand Salon of the Hôtel du Collectionneur at the 1925 Exposition, Paris.
Influenced by: Art Nouveau; the Bauhaus; Cubism; African, Aztec, and Chinese art of the Sung period (960-1279); De Stijl; and Frank Lloyd Wright.



Name: The Bauhaus school of art, craft, and design was founded by the architect Walter Gropius. Its name loosely means "building house."
Who: Walter Gropius, Josef Albers, Theo van Doesburg, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
When: 1919-1933.
Where: Germany.
What: The visual arts and architecture were studied and applied as related activities at the Bauhaus. Many of the designs were intended for mass production.
Subject Matter: Designs for architecture, furniture, typography, functional ceramics, tapestries, etc.
Style: The Bauhaus is really an institution, not a style. Although the Bauhaus designers initially concentrated on hand-crafted objects, they soon embraced industrial technology.
Janson Example: GROPIUS, Shop Block, the Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany, 1925-1926.
Kissick Example: GROPIUS, the Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany, 1925-1926.
Influenced by: Arts and Crafts Movement, Constructivism, De Stijl, Deutscher Werkbund, and Suprematism.
Will influence: Art Deco and Modern architecture.


(Automatism, Veristic, and Assemblage)

Name: Term coined by French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917 in reference to his own writings, as well as the work of certain painters, such as Picasso and Marc Chagall. In 1924, one of the founders, André Breton, revived the term in his Manifesto of Surrealism, where he describes a "super-reality" connecting the dream world and reality.
Who: André Breton, Salvador Dali, Paul Delvaux, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Alberto Giacometti, Arshile Gorky, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, André Masson, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Paul Klee, Giorgio de Chirico, Herbert Beyer, and Méret Oppenheim.
When: 1924-1945.
Where: Originated in France, spread to rest of Europe, the United States and Latin America.
What: Although similar to Dada in irrationality, Surrealism is more positive in spirit. The movement is mostly concerned with different aspects of the unconscious mind and representations of the dream state.
Subject Matter: Everyday objects in absurd situations, often mixed with psychoanalytic thinking. Other works are non-objective.
Style: Three main stylistic divisions of Surrealism are evident: Automatism, wherein the artist attempts to disengage conscious control in the creative act; Veristic, in which the style is very realistic and detailed although the subject matter appears irrational; and Assemblage, in which unrelated objects are juxtaposed in suggestion of an alternate reality.
Janson Example: DALI, The Persistence of Memory, 1931.
Kissick Example: DALI, Premonition of Civil War, 1936.
Influenced by: Hallucinatory writings of 19th century poets, Symbolism, Dada, and Freud's theories of the unconscious.
Will influence: Abstract Expressionism and Post-Modernism.


Harlem Renaissance

Name: Refers to a renaissance, or rebirth, of artistic activity by African-Americans in the Harlem area of New York.
Who: Jacob Lawrence, James van der Zee, Aaron Douglas, and Richard Bruce Nugent.
When: 1924-1930.
Where: New York.
What: New-York based cultural revival among African-American artists. The movement was primarily a literary movement that spread to the visual arts.
Subject Matter: Historical themes, social injustices, celebration of African-American cultural traditions.
Style: Style varied from the realistic, documentary photographs of van der Zee, to the simplified forms and flat colors of Lawrence.
Janson Example: LAWRENCE, The Migration of the Negro, panel 3 of "From Every Southern Town Migrants Left by the Hundreds to Travel North," 1940-1941.
Kissick Example: LAWRENCE, One of the Largest Race Riots Occurred in East St. Louis, panel 52 from The Migration Series, 1940-1941.
Influenced by: Trends toward abstraction at the beginning of the century.
Will influence: 1930s African-American painters such as Romare Bearden.

American Scene Painting

(Regionalists and Social Realists)

Name: Term refers to a general trend in American painting between the world wars, not an organized movement.
Who: Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Reginald Marsh, Grant Wood, and Andrew Wyeth.
When: 1920s-1930s.
Where: United States.
What: Rejecting European modernism and abstraction, American Scene Painters wanted to create a largely realistic style in the depiction of subjects and scenes related to American life. Two main groups emerged: Regionalists, who painted mostly scenes of midwestern and southern life and history , and the mostly New York, urban Social Realists. Edward Hopper is one of the few artists who can be connected with either group.
Subject Matter: Scenes from American history or contemporary America, portraits, landscapes, etc. Social Realists concentrated on urban, city scenes.
Style: Realistic.
Janson Example: HOPPER, Early Sunday Morning, 1930.
Influenced by: Ash Can School, late medieval style, 16th century Italian Mannerist style, and 19th century Realism.


Straight Photography

Name: Term probably originated in a 1904 exhibition review by the critic Sadakichi Hartmann in the journal Camera Work, in which he called on photographers to "work straight."
Who: Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Eugène Atget, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Imogen Cunningham, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Dorothea Lange, Albert Renger-Patzsch, August Sander, Edward Steichen,and Alfred Stieglitz.
When: 1900 through 1970s.
Where: Europe and the United States.
What: The movement represented a reaction against late 19th century Pictorialism, in which photographers sought to copy the effects of painters. To do this, photographers rejected darkroom tricks in favor of the basic properties of the camera and printing process.
Subject Matter: Usually identifiable, representational subjects: portraits, landscapes, still lifes, etc.
Style: Straight photography looks so familiar it is easy to forget that it is a conscious style. Usually, Straight Photographers produce black-and-white pictures. This style is often employed in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography.
Janson Example: ADAMS, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941.
Influenced by: Early Documentary Photography and Photojournalism of the mid- to late-19th century.
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