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Otto Dix, Portrait of Anna Grünebaum

Otto Dix, Portrait of Anna Grünebaum (1926), oil, tempera and gesso on wood panel [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 24-Feb 15] Collection of McMaster Museum of Art

Living Building Thinking: Art and Expressionism

Art Gallery of Alberta
Edmonton AB – Oct 24, 2015-Feb 15, 2016

Rainer Fetting, Back Nude – Donald

Rainer Fetting, Back Nude – Donald (1986), oil on canvas [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 24-Feb 15] Collection of McMaster Museum of Art


Anselm Kiefer, Yggdrasil

Anselm Kiefer, Yggdrasil (1985-1991), emulsion, acrylic (partially charred) and melted lead on canvas [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 24-Feb 15] Collection of McMaster Museum of Art

Although regarded as one of the first art movements of the 20th century, Expressionism has roots in the 16th-century canvases of El Greco, who emphasized the interior life over objective reality. Just as interesting is how Expressionism has persisted, from the earliest days through the hyperinflation of Germany’s post-WW I Weimar Republic and on through to the Neo-Expressionism of the early 1980s, with the paintings of Wall Street junk bond beneficiaries Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel.

In recognition of Expressionism’s endurance, the McMaster Museum of Art has organized from its collection an exhibition focused on “the relationship between the artist and society, and the ever-changing responses and visual expressions that circulate through shared hopes and aspirations for social awareness and change.” That this exhibition should appear at the AGA is appropriate given that of all the Canadian provinces, Alberta is most susceptible to shifting market forces.

Those familiar with the movement’s early pioneers can expect to see work by Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele and Otto Dix, in addition to 1980s revivalists Anselm Kiefer, Elvira Bach and Rainer Fetting. Also notable is the inclusion of Canadians Gershon Iskowitz and Natalka Husar, whose haunting Commisar’s Daughter (2007) suggests that if Expressionism’s moment should come to an end, then this painting could serve as its epitaph.

Michael Turner














Gershon Iskowitz, Buchenwald

Gershon Iskowitz, Buchenwald (1944-1945), watercolour and ink on paper mounted on cardboard [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 24-Feb 15] Collection of McMaster Museum of Art


Natalka Husar, Commissar’s Daughter

Natalka Husar, Commissar’s Daughter (2007), oil on rag board [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 24-Feb 15] Collection of McMaster Museum of Art


 Sun, Nov 8, 2015