Expressionism in Lithuania

From German Artistic Import to National Art

Authored by: Giedrė Jankevičiūtė , Laima Laučkaitė

The Routledge Companion to Expressionism in a Transnational Context

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138712553
eBook ISBN: 9781315200088
Adobe ISBN:


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Expressionism occupies an exceptionally important position in the development of modernism in Lithuanian art and is considered a key feature of the national school of art that arose in Kaunas in the period between the two world wars. Standing in the National Gallery, in Vilnius, the expert eye notes that the bright thread of expressionism and the modernist narrative is woven throughout the twentieth century. Expressionism is likewise reflected in past efforts to summarize the development of Lithuanian art history. In accounts of the crucial moments of twentieth-century Lithuanian art, the concept emerges at least four times: first, in the 1910s, in a discourse on the new art; then, in 1930s polemics on the modern style of national art; once more, in the early 1960s in opposition to Social Realism; and finally, with the reactualization of expressionism that came with the efforts of Lithuanian artists (particularly painters) in the 1970s and 1980s to address, rethink, and reactualize the national expressionist artistic heritage.

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