I first discovered the paintings of the German Expressionists during a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, so I was quite excited when I saw the collection of German Expressionist paintings at the St. Louis Art Museum.  I love the bold colors that this group of painters used in creating their works.

Of course, the German Expressionists were at the center of controversy during the early years of the Hitler Regime.  Many of the artists' works were deemed degenerate art by Hitler and the paintings (and sometimes the painters themselves) were destroyed by Hitler's order.  See my blog post in August, 2010 titled War Booty for more information.

In 1983, businessman and philanthropist Morton D. May (grandson of the founder of the May/Famous Barr Department Store chain) bequeathed his extensive collection of German Expressionist paintings to the St. Louis Art Museum.  Morton D. May began collecting German Expressionist paintings in the late 1940s.  His first purchase was a painting by Max Beckmann; his collection grew substantially when Mr. May discovered that Max Beckmann was actually living right in St. Louis and teaching at the local Washington University.  The two became close friends, and Morton May amassed one of the largest collections of Beckmann's works in the country.

All of the following paintings were part of Morton D. May's amazing collection:

Self-Portrait in Blue Jacket (1950) by Max Beckmann
(His 35th and final self-portrait)

Young Men by the Sea (1943) by Max Beckmann

The Bath (1930) by Max Beckmann

Acrobats (1939) by Max Beckmann
More than a dozen figures—including acrobats, tight-rope walkers, a snake handler
and other characters—bind together the panels of this triptych.

Acrobat on Trapeze (1940) by Max Beckmann
Beckmann's diaries from Amsterdam recount his numerous visits to cabarets,
theaters, and the circus.

Woman in Strong Light (1912) by Emil Nolde

Red Evening Sky (1915) by Emil Nolde (Such brilliant color!)

Sunset (1921) by Max Pechstein

Day of Steel (1911) by Max Pechstein

The Big Indian (1910) by Max Pechstein

Harlequin and Columbine (1913) by Heinrich Campendonk

Bucolic Landscape (1913) by Heinrich Campendonk
I love the bold colors in both of these paintings by Campendonk!

Spring (1912) by Alexei von Jawlensky

The Little Mountain Goats (1913-1914) by Franz Marc

Landscape with Cows, Sailing Boat and Figures (1914) by August Macke

Winter Landscape (1911) by Wassily Kandinsky
Between 1909 and 1911, Kandinsky lived and worked in Murnau, a village in the
Bavarian Alps. During this period, the artist turned away from the direct depiction
of nature in favor of a more abstract approach. 

The Painter and His Model II (1923) by Oskar Kokoschka

 Circus Rider (1914) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Kirchner is one of my favorite artists.  Here are two other paintings by him that were not part of the May bequest:
Portrait of a Woman (1911)

View of Basel and the Rhine (1927-1928)

In 1905, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was one of the founding members of the art movement Die Brücke (The Bridge).  In 1906, Max Pechstein and Emil Nolde joined the group.  The Brücke style attempted the creation of pure expression through color and form.  Their aim was to find new ways of artistic expression and to free themselves from the traditional academic style of the time. The Brücke is therefore one of the earliest German artists’ associations which had a crucial impact on the development of classical modern art. The artists collectively created a style which was to be defined within 20th century art history as Expressionism.

In 1911, Wassily Kandinsky, Heinrich Campendonk, Alexei Jawlensky, August Macke and Franz Marc later helped form Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group.  They all shared an interest in abstracted forms and prismatic colors, which, they felt, had spiritual values that could counteract the corruption and materialism of their age.  The name Blaue Reiter refers to a key motif in Kandinsky’s work: the horse and rider, which was for him a symbol for moving beyond realistic representation.  Der Blaue Reiter dissolved with the outbreak of World War I in August 1914.  Kandinsky, a Russian citizen, was forced to return to his homeland; Jawlensky, also Russian, moved to Switzerland and both Marc and Macke, were killed in action.



We lost our beautiful, beloved cat, MayMay on Friday.  She brought such joy and happiness to our lives for over 14 years.  I loved taking photos of her especially in Black and White.  So in an effort to help me through the grieving process, here are some of my favorite photos of my pretty girl:

MayMay, this is Mommy's tribute to you.  I love you so much and my heart is breaking because I miss you so much.  I miss hearing you jump down from somewhere you shouldn't have been.  I miss hearing the tinkling of the bell on your collar when you ran down the stairs.  I miss feeling your 6-pound body walk across the bed (and me) when I was trying to sleep.  I miss you snuggling with me at night while I read before bedtime (and trying to read through you and around you).  I miss you sitting in the bathroom while I took a shower (and making sure I knew you were there), waiting for me to give you the water bowl which was within easy reach...you just wanted me to put it right in front of you which I always did.  I miss you "exercising" your paws on the basket in my bedroom.  I miss singing you those silly songs I made up about you.  I miss you greeting me when I came home from work.  I miss rubbing your tummy and scratching your back.  MayMay, I just miss you so much...


S.L.A.M. aka St. Louis Art Museum

S.L.A.M.  Actually it stands for St. Louis Art Museum.

The day after visiting the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis we visited this museum which I had never been to before.

It was another beautiful, warm autumn day in St. Louis.  The leaf colors of the trees in front of the museum were spectacular...
What a fantastic museum!  Free entrance every day!  The permanent collection has examples of all of my favorite genres of art.

My recent trip to the Netherlands has given me a greater interest in Dutch Masters paintings such as this masterpiece, Portrait of a Woman (1650-1652) by Frans Hals:
This portrait was created during a conservative phase of his career, when sober and elegant portraits were favored by the wealthy citizens of Haarlem, the city in which he painted during most of his life. This unknown woman sat for the artist together with her husband, whose portrait is now in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

One of the unexpected highlights of this visit was seeing the 6-foot by 14-foot Water Lilies (1915–26) by Monet:
This mural-sized painting is part of a triptych featuring water lilies from the garden pond he created by diverting a river. For twenty-five years Monet obsessively painted the water lily motif at different times of day.  Its counterparts are currently located at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City and at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

One of my favorite artists is Vincent van Gogh.  What a thrill to see these two masterpieces, painted in 1890 in the small town of Auvers shortly before his death.  Both paintings, Vineyards at Auvers (top) and Stairway at Auvers show the intense, heavy brushstrokes and brilliant color that make van Gogh's paintings so beautiful!

Ah!  The Impressionists...

Renoir painted this colorful portrait of a woman, titled The Dreamer, in 1879, the height of his Impressionist period...

In Promenade with the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, painted in 1874, Monet exemplifies key aspects of his Impressionism, notably the incorporation of industrial elements into the landscape.

Monet painted his London series, which features the Thames, railroad bridges (including this beautiful Charing Cross Bridge painted in 1903) and buildings of Parliament enveloped in a dense morning fog during three trips he made to England between 1899 and 1901.

Paul Cézanne was fascinated by the subject of The Bathers.  This version was painted between 1890 and 1892.  This painting was purchased the year Cézanne died by Claude Monet.

Edgar Degas gives color a starring role in The Milliners, painted in 1898.  Degas produced over 20 paintings and pastels of milliners, beginning in the 1870s and continuing into the 1900s.
Then there is the genius of Manet...

In The Reader, painted in 1861, Manet enlivened his dark palette with creamy whites and varied flesh tones, inspired by the 17th-century Dutch painter Frans Hals (see his painting above), whom Manet admired.

What art lover doesn't recognize a Picasso?  Facets of creamy grays, whites, pinks, and browns form a mosaic of color and tone across the body, evidence of his continued exploration of Cubist fragmentation.
Here is his Mandolin and Vase of Flowers, painted in 1934.
Picasso painted The Mother in 1901 when he was just 20 years old...

I discovered the works of Modigliani during my visit to Paris in 2006.  Modigliani was a prominent figure of the “School of Paris,” a loose group of figurative painters who worked in France after the First World War. His greatest contribution to modern art was in portraiture.  Here is his Elvira Resting At A Table, painted in 1919.

One of my favorite painters is Maurice de Vlaminck.  I love the colors in his paintings; de Vlaminck used pure color, often straight from the tubes of paint, to create his dynamic landscapes, such as here in Le Havre: Le Grand Quai painted between 1906 and 1909.

These are just a few examples of the fantastic permanent collection on display at the St. Louis Art Museum.

In my next post, I want to introduce you to the German Expressionists, a group of artists whose paintings are some of my favorites.  The St. Louis Art Museum has several excellent works of art by many of the artists associated with this movement.

St. Louis Art Museum
Forest Park, MO  63110
  • Admission to the museum is free everyday.
  • Museum is closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
  • Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 to 5:00.
  • The museum is open Friday until 9:00.
  • For more information, visit: http://www.slam.org/