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Neo-expressionism is a style of modern painting and sculpture that emerged in the late 1970s and dominated the art market until the mid-1980s. Related to American Lyrical Abstraction of the 60s and 70s, Bay Area Figurative School of the 50s and 60s, the continuation of Abstract Expressionism, New Image Painting and precedents in Pop painting, it developed as a reaction against the conceptual art and minimal art of the 1970s. Neo-expressionists returned to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body (although sometimes in an abstract manner), in a rough and violently emotional way using vivid colours and banal colour harmonies.

Overtly inspired by the so-called German Expressionist painters--Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner—and other expressionist artists such as James Ensor and Edvard Munch. Neo-expressionists were sometimes called Neue Wilden ('The new wild ones'; 'New Fauves' would better meet the meaning of the term). The style emerged internationally and was viewed by many critics such as Achille Bonito Oliva and Donald Kuspit as a revival of traditional themes of self-expression in European art after decades of American dominance. The social and economic value of the movement was hotly debated.

Critics such as Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, Craig Owens, and Mira Schor were highly critical of its relation to the marketability of painting on the rapidly expanding art market, celebrity, the backlash against feminism, anti-intellectualism, and a return to mythic subjects and individualist methods they deemed outmoded. Women were notoriously marginalized in the movement, and painters such as Elizabeth Murray and Maria Lassnig were omitted from many of its key exhibitions, most notoriously the 1981 "New Spirit in Painting" exhibition in London which included 38 male painters but no female painters.

Neo-expressionism around the world[edit]


United States[edit]



Main article: Figuration Libre




Main article: Transavantgarde

United Kingdom[edit]


South Africa[edit]






See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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11 news items

Huffington Post (blog)
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:11:15 -0700

I have lived through a few art movements: Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism, Neo Expressionism, Neo Geo, Pop Surrealism and of course Graffiti. The only one of these movements that really had life outside the museums and galleries was Graffiti.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:37:30 -0700

The exhibition jumps from Leo Gestel's impressionistically influenced Herfst (1909) via Pyke Koch's magical realism, Gerrit Benner's cocky neo-expressionism, and Marinus Boezem's conceptualist attempts to document the heavens in lead boxes or satellite ...


Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:18:13 -0700

Nobody was indifferent when Jedd Garet, one of the most prominent figures of the American neo-expressionism of the 80s, after a silent impasse of twenty years, reemerged in the new digital period. Friends and collectors celebrated Garet's reappearance, ...
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 04:26:15 -0700

By the early 1980s, when New York was enthralled with the sturm und drang of Neo-Expressionism, Paschke was rendering his figures in disembodied states against a ground of neon color, often shot through with rows of brighter, jagged bands, suggesting ...
Brooklyn Rail
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 05:11:15 -0700

From a critical standpoint, the exhibition poses questions about the descendants of 1980s neo-expressionism and realism, and brings to mind the legacy of Andy Warhol, who crowned Julian Schnabel and Basquiat as his successors. There is no clear link ...

Art Newspaper

Art Newspaper
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 04:15:41 -0700

Roginsky's The Red Door, 1965, is on show in Venice. It has also caused much misunderstanding of the artist's work. What strikes you most about Mikhail Roginsky (1931-2004) is that he did not give a damn about so-called “fine painting”. He declared ...

Brooklyn Rail

Brooklyn Rail
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 05:11:15 -0700

For the first time Neo-Expressionism was out. You wrote, “We were no longer the 'it' boys and girls, we were no longer hot.” And the India paintings that you showed in 1989 weren't well received critically, and the prices went down—I can't believe I'm ...
Washington Post
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:20:56 -0700

Art League's exhibits, features Neo-Expressionism, Figural Fine Lines and Tabletop. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Monday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Art League Gallery, Studio 21, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria.

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