Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited by Beat Wismer, Michael Scholz-Hänsel. Text by Beat Wismer.
The oeuvre of El Greco (1541–1614) was first introduced to a broad German audience in 1910, through Julius Meier-Graefe’s The Spanish Journey. Numerous artists subsequently caught “Greco fever” when they first saw larger groups of his works in the exhibitions that followed in Munich in 1911 and Düsseldorf in 1912. In his disregard for the Renaissance rulebook of painting, his love of dramatic mood and emphasis on emotive color and form, El Greco provided acrucial precedent for painters such as Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, Max Oppenheimer, Ludwig Meidner and especially members of the Blaue Reiter (August Macke, Franz Marc, Albert Bloch and others). El Greco and Modernism presents more than 40 paintings by El Greco, gathered from the most famous museums around the world, and sets them alongside the work of the modernists he influenced. Describing his critical role in such currents as Symbolism, Cubism, Expressionism and abstract art, this catalogue offers a richly illustrated account of how an artist who, in his time, had no imitators and virtually no pupils, would become a flexible lens for artistic self-discovery and one of the fathers of modernism in the early years of the twentieth century.
El Greco (born Domenicos Theotocopoulos, 1541-1614) was born on the Greek island of Crete, then a Venetian colony, and went as a youth to Venice, where he began by painting icons in the Byzantine style for the Greek community there. He soon succumbed to the powerful influences of Titian, Tintoretto and, later, Michelangelo. In 1576, El Greco went to Spain, settling in Toledo, where he spent the rest of his life--producing the depictions of the Toledan landscape that are justly among his best-loved works. El Greco's art aimed to arouse religious fervor in its viewers: consequently his brushwork is ecstatically free, color is used expressively and figures are elongated to maximum tension by their emphatic gestures. His work brings a great age of Christian art to its close. With 108 full-color illustrations, including all of his best-known and most characteristic works, this volume offers the reader a wide overview of the work of one of the world's most innovative painters.