German Expressionism at The San Diego Museum of Art

Highlighting the recent bequest of 48 German Expressionist paintings, drawings, and prints from the estate of Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger, the Museum presents this exhibition dedicated to the modernist movement that developed in Germany and Austria in the first decades of the 20th century. German Expressionism was not the work of a single group of artists, but painters, sculptors, and printmakers in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, and Vienna were united in their exploration of common themes: primitivism, raw emotion, the solace of nature, the terror of the First World War and the subsequent social chaos of Weimar Germany.

The Human Beast will explore the many faces of Expressionism, focusing particularly on the artists’ attempt to evoke primal emotion in their depictions of unidealized nudes, the horror of war, or the overstimulation of modern life. Major new acquisitions from the Kondon-Giesberger bequest include works by Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, and Max Pechstein, and these join a strong group of Expressionist paintings and drawings that have long been at the Museum of Art, among which works by Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Beckmann, and George Grosz are particularly notable. A small group of loans will round out the selection.

Throughout the run of The Human Beast, three of the most significant Expressionist films M (1931), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and  Nosferatu(1922) will be shown in the Museum Galleries. After World War I, Germany became an important center for cinema. Utilizing highly stylized visuals, strange camera angles, and dramatic lighting, selected films employ a visual language and offer social commentary which share clear connections to works on view. All films are also available for purchase in the Museum Store.


Films shown on selected days on a continuous loop

M (1931)| Mondays and Fridays

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) | Tuesdays and Saturdays

Nosferatu (1922) | Thursdays and Sundays


All images From the estate of Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger.
Gabriele Munter, Tutzing, Oil on Masonite, 1908, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn