Ernst Wagner: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection
A gift of CIIS co-founder, Frederic Spiegelberg, this series of works on paper by Austrian artist, Ernst Wagner (1877-1951) includes evocative still-lifes and vivid tyrolean landscapes that reveal Expressionist influences.
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
There is little contemporary documentation of Ernst Wagner (1877-1951) but these vivid tyrolean landscapes and Expressionist-inspired still-lifes likely date from the first two decades of the 20th century. In watercolor paint and pastel, Wagner realized these works with loose brush strokes and an evocative palette that demonstrates the Expressionist emphasis on the subjective and emotional.
The Expressionist movement emerged around the turn of the century in Germany and Austria. Reacting against the naturalism of the Impressionist movement, Expressionist artists often distorted an image to evoke a subjective, internal experience. Distorted shape and the exaggerated use of color might be employed to conjure anxiety or despair. Their still-lifes, like those of Ernst Wagner, often employed symbolic elements like skulls and flowers as momento mori, reminders of the ephemeral nature of our existence.
Image credit: Ernst Wagner, untitled, a gift of Frederic Spiegelberg, n.d.