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Expressionism was united by a rejection of Impressionism and a search for an inner, essential reality behind the external world of appearances. Nietzsche’s writings also inspired Expressionists to emphasize ‘personal expression’ during the creative process that rendered their works jarring, apparently unresolved and distorted. In this accessible introduction to the history of Expressionism, the characteristics of the movement are surveyed less in terms of a cohesive style than from the perspective of the milieu in modern German culture. The works of both well-known and less familiar artists are considered. In particular, the impact of the First World War is examined in light of the Utopian concerns of sculptors, architects, and painters. Expressionism’s demise during the 1920s and the Third Reich is traced through to the reemergence of the tradition after the Second World War.