neoexpressionism, term given to an international art movement, mainly in painting, that began in the 1960s and 1970s, was a dominant mode in the 1980s, and has continued into the 1990s. A reaction against what was seen as the stark and sterile character of minimalism and other purely abstract movements, neoexpressionism stresses aggressive, personal, and often brutally distorted figural imagery, slashing brushstrokes, strong color contrasts, and an emphasis on conveying spontaneous feeling rather than formal concepts. Paintings are often extremely large and sometimes include collage elements, frequently rough or broken. Neoexpressionism has its roots in early 20th-century German expressionism and the abstract expressionism of the 1950s. The contemporary movement also arose in Germany, beginning in the late 1960s and early 70s in the work of such artists as Georg Baselitz, A. R. Penck, and Anselm Kiefer. Other artists who soon began to paint in a neoexpressionist style include the Italians Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, and Enzo Cucchi and the Americans Julian Schnabel, David Salle, and Susan Rothenberg.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.