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Art Diary

The Anxious Eye: German Expressionism and Its Legacy

9 February 2024

German Expressionism can sometimes seem like little more than an exercise in gloom. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC’s new exhibition of the movement certainly has its share of angst – Otto Dix’s grim etching of burnt skulls on the battlefields, for example, or Paul Gangolf’s bluntly titled lithograph Koksende Hure (‘Prostitute on Cocaine’) – but also of colour and light. The show, which features over 100 prints, drawings, sculptures, illustrated books and portfolios (both from the gallery’s collection and donated by collectors), celebrates the pioneers of the movement, from Erich Heckel to Emil Nolde. It also demonstrates how German Expressionism has influenced later artists, many of whom create work that muses not on the horrors of the first decades of the 20th century but on modern ills such as racism, pandemics and the climate crisis. Find out more from the National Gallery of Art’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary

Dead Men before the Position near Tahure (1924), Otto Dix. National Gallery of Art, Washington

Man in Prayer (1919), Erich Heckel. National Gallery of Art, Washington. © 2023 Artists Rights Society

Untitled (Man) (2017), Kerry James Marshall. National Gallery of Art, Washington