Many members of the Expressionist movement were conflicted about life in the city. On one hand, they were disgusted by the materialistic lifestyle of the middle class in Germany’s big cities. On the other, they enjoyed the excitement and bustling activity that cities offered. Early Expressionist street scenes are filled with depictions of nightclubs and wealthy theater-goers as well as scenes of loneliness and isolation. After World War I, however, artists began to see the city as an extension of the battlefield, as they struggled with the ravaging effects of war on their collective psyche and on the country’s economy and people.
An international artistic movement in art, architecture, literature, and performance that flourished between 1905 and 1920, especially in Germany and Austria, that favored the expression of subjective emotions and experience over depictions of objective reality. Conventions of Expressionist style include distortion, exaggeration, fantasy, and vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of color.