Left: Oskar Kokoschka. Nude with Back Turned. Acquired from the Galerie St. Etienne by the Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Right top: Egon Schiele. Reclining Woman with Green Stockings. Private collection.

Right bottom: Lovis Corinth. Walchensee Landscape. Acquired from the Galerie St. Etienne by the St. Louis Art Museum.

Austrian & German Expressionism

Overview, 1900 - 1933

In the early years of the 20th century, artists all over Europe were struggling to break free of the moribund traditions of the 19th century and to develop a new, modern language of color and form. This struggle had different manifestations in different parts of Europe. Cubism and Fauvism are probably the best-known of the early modern styles in France. Expressionism in Germany and Austria was related to the French movements, but somewhat different.


Perhaps the key difference between French modernism and Germanic Expressionism is the latter movement's intense focus on humanistic content, such as the anxieties of modern life, social problems, psychology and sexuality. In order to express these concerns, Expressionists used exaggerated, distorted forms and sometimes bright, unnatural color. Austrian Expressionism retained a closer connection to turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau than did German Expressionism. As a result, the Austrians relied more heavily on evocative line, and less on bright color.


The Galerie St. Etienne specializes in a range of Austrian and German artists active in the first decades of the 20th century, starting with the Art Nouveau period around 1900 and through the Weimar-era of the 1920s and early '30s.