The Major Roles of Expressionism, Dada, and Surrealism in the Roaring 20’s

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While the Roaring 20’s are known as period of massive economic growth for the US, for many countries it was a period of creativity that brought forth new, bold movements that changed the way the world looked at itself, both externally and internally. The Roaring 20’s was a foothold for many art movements such as the Expressionism and Surrealism movements along with the growth of the Dada movements, Expressionism, Dada, and Surrealism all played major roles in reconfiguring the focus and perception not only of visual arts, but also of literature, drama, and design In design and architecture the Art Deco movement started in Europe and spread throughout the continent before making its may overseas. Expressionism started out in pre-World Warl era Germany and exerted a strong influence on artists who followed throughout the 19205. Initially focused on poetry and painting.

Expressionism typically presented the world from a solely subjective perspective, radically distorting it for an emotional effect that evokes moods or ideas rather than physical reality. Many artists, however, began to oppose Expressionist tendencies as the decade advanced, Some of the art movements greatest influences are Vincent Van Gogh along with Edvard Munch. The Dada movement at the start was an informal gathering in Switzerland and was a means of protest against bourgeois, nationalist, and colonialist interests along with the outbreak of World War I. Dada opposed cultural and intellectual conformity in art and in society in general, usually displaying political affinities with the radical left, Dadaists also believed that the logic and reasoning of the Capitalist movement was the cause for the outbreak of the Great War.

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Dada artists met and formed groups of like-minded peers in Paris, Berlin, Cologne, and New York City who engaged in activities such as public gatherings, demonstrations, and the publication of art and literary journals. Notable Dadaists included Richard Huelsenbeck, who established the Berlin group, and George Grosz, who called his work a protest, “against this world of mutual destruction.“ Surrealism arose as an offset of the Dada movement and was based in Paris Beginning in the early 1920‘s as a cultural movement Surrealism spread across the globe and affected many forms of art such as visual arts, literature, theater, film, and music; and later political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory. Surrealist works featured elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions, and non sequiturt Many Surrealist artists and writers regarded their work as the material expression of the movement’s philosophy.

The movement‘s leader, French anarchist and antifascist writer Andre’ Breton, emphasized that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement, In 1924 he published the Surrealist Manifesto, which called the movement “pure psychic automatismr” Spanish painter Salvador Dali, best known for his 1931 work, The Persistence of Memory, was one of the most famous practitioners of Surrealism, Finally, the Roaring Twenties brought a revolutionary architecture form known as Art Deco. Originating in Europe, it spread throughout western Europe and North America in the mid- 19205 and remained popular through the 19305 and early 19405, waning only after World War III The name “Art Deco” is short for Arts Décoratifs, which came from the Exposition Internationale des Arts De’coratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925.

The first use of the term is attributed to architect Charles- Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, known as “Le Corbusier,” who wrote a series of articles titled, “1925 Expo: Arts Déco,” in his journal, L’Esprit Nouveau. The eclectic style emerged from the years between World War I and World War II, often referred to as the interwar period, and combined traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials and an embrace of technology, Visually it is characterized by rich colors, lavish ornamentation, and geometric shapes. Artists employing the Art Deco style often drew inspiration from nature and initially favored curved lines, though rectilinear designs became increasingly popular. In the United States, Art Deco can be seen throughout the country in New York (The Chrysler Building and Empire State Building) Detroit (Fisher Building) along with City Hall buildings such as Los Angeles and Buffalo’s.

However, when the Great Depression and great Stock Market Crash hit the US and world the artistic growth instead of halting was revamped The 19305 were a period of intense artistic experimentation, as new forms and methods were explored, transformative cultural institutions were founded, and artists self-consciously sought to reach broader layers of the public The rise of social unrest during the Depression heightened the political concerns of artistic works, while New Deal programs gave artists both federal recognition and the funding and space to work out new cultural fon‘ns Technical changes, like the popularization of the radio, changed how accessible culture was and to whom, and an international break from formalism and modernism also worked to produce a popularized, socially conscious tendency in American art, As part of the public relief programs of the New Deal, artists, musicians, actors, and writers were employed by the federal government in an array of projects designed to create jobs.

These programs started in a small way in 1933 and then became more common after 1935. Work relief was one of the goals, but leaders of these programs often also hoped to sponsor indigenous, regional talent and encourage the growth of a national, popular artistic culture. The guiding philosophies of the Federal Art, Federal Theatre, Federal Writers’, and Federal Music Projects promoted publicly engaged and publicly accessible artsl New ideas about the social responsibilities of artists and new styles and subject matter—conveyed by the artistic label “social realism”iwere part of this aesthetic transformation. The artistic legacy of the New Deal can be seen today in the murals that adorn public buildings throughout the state, including schools, libraries, and post offices.

Hundreds of artists worked on these murals, which in the spirit of the time, were usually painted in a realistic style and depicted groups of men and women working together in a common cause, either in 19305 contemporary scenes or in re-visions of the past history.  How did the Great Depression affect art? It revamped many art forms that started during the Roaring Twenties, along with giving many artists, photographers, and playwrights rich inspiration to write. In the Roaring Twenties art movements such as Expressionism, Dada, and Surrealism sprung up across the globe, the age of rich expansionism also led to the Art Deco architecture coming overseas to the US. When the Great Depression hit and the New Deal was implemented many artists were commissioned, with many of their works being murals.

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The Major Roles of Expressionism, Dada, and Surrealism in the Roaring 20’s. (2023, Apr 18). Retrieved from

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