The Total Artwork in Expressionism: Art, Film, Literature, Theater, Dance, and Architecture 1905-1925
First theorized by composer Richard Wagner, the total artwork, or “gesamtkunstwerk,” proposed a synthesis of all arts towards a single, unified spectacle. Wagner’s ambitious conception flowered in the early twentieth century throughout numerous avant gardes, particularly in German Expressionism, where art forms cross-pollinated and collaborated to a remarkable degree. Past considerations of Expressionism have tended to focus only on individual genres, making The Total Artwork in Expressionism: Art, Film, Literature, Theater, Dance and Architecture 1905-1925 the first-ever publication to examine the interplay between these forms. Here, masterpieces of Expressionist film such as Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are united with set designs; the works of painters and set designers such as Ernst Barlach, Otto Bartning, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka and Ludwig Meidner are examined, alongside film stills by César Klein and Hans Poelzig; and documents by Bruno Taut and Ernst Toller, music scores by Paul Hindemith, poster art, dance masks and stage photographs provide historical and archival background, building a unique panorama of the Expressionist period. Renowned authors, key works and source texts from all disciplines allow the reader to thoroughly experience the ways the genres mutually influenced each other during this revolutionary period.
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