Download 336 Issues of the Avant-Garde Magazine The Storm (1910–1932), Featuring the Work of Kandinsky, Klee, Moholy-Nagy & More


It’s easy to think of Expres­sion­ism—the art form that flour­ished in Ger­many dur­ing the ear­ly decades of the 20th century—as a kind of inchoate release of emo­tion onto the can­vas. The name itself sug­gests the com­mon idea of art as a means of “express­ing one­self.” Often intense­ly child­like, such as the work of Paul Klee, or com­plete­ly abstract, such as Wass­i­ly Kandinsky’s many geo­met­ric com­po­si­tions, expres­sion­ist styles influ­enced artists through­out the cen­tu­ry whom we tend to asso­ciate with emo­tion over rea­son, pas­sion over restraint: Willem de Koon­ing and Jack­son Pol­lack, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fran­cis Bacon.


But let us return to the movement’s roots and we see from its very begin­nings that Expres­sion­ism was high­ly the­o­ret­i­cal in its emo­tion­al­ism. Its high priest, Kandin­sky, pio­neered non-rep­re­sen­ta­tion­al paint­ing, and explained his method in cool­ly ana­lyt­i­cal terms in his trea­tise Con­cern­ing the Spir­i­tu­al in Art. Expressionism—not only in paint­ing, but in dra­ma, sculp­ture, dance, film, and literature—early on com­mu­ni­cat­ed its ideas in a week­ly mag­a­zine, Der Sturm (The Storm), found­ed in 1910 by artist and crit­ic Her­warth Walden and run­ning week­ly until 1914, then quar­ter­ly from 1924 to 1932. In that time, the pub­li­ca­tion amassed quite a few issues, and you can read (in Ger­man) and down­load all 336 of them here.


You can also see some of the inspired cov­er designs Der Sturm used over its decades of pub­li­ca­tion. “The mag­a­zine became well known for the inclu­sion of wood­cuts and linocuts,” writes the Guggen­heim, “includ­ing works by Guggen­heim col­lec­tion artists Marc Cha­gall,Vasi­ly Kandin­skyPaul KleeOscar Kokosch­ka,  Franz MarcLás­zló Moholy-Nagy, and oth­ers.” The muse­um site fea­tures sev­er­al of Der Stur­m’s graph­ic designs by Moholy-Nagy, such as the cov­er above, and Mono­skop adds the cov­ers fur­ther up and at the top of the post, by Oscar Ner­linger and Oskar Kokosch­ka, respec­tive­ly. Mono­skop also pro­vides a good deal of his­tor­i­cal con­text for the mag­a­zine and the gallery it fos­tered, Galerie Der Sturm, “start­ed by Walden to cel­e­brate its 100th edi­tion, in 1912.”


The gallery’s many exhi­bi­tions (see a full list here) demon­strate how much Expres­sion­ism over­lapped with a host of oth­er mod­ernist –isms of the peri­od. It start­ed “with an exhi­bi­tion of Fauves and Der Blaue Reit­er [a group includ­ing Kandin­sky and Paul Klee that formed the core of first Expres­sion­ist painters], fol­lowed by the intro­duc­tion in Ger­many of the Ital­ian Futur­ists, Cubists and Orphists.” Edvard Munch exhib­it­ed there, as did Georges Braque and Pablo Picas­so. Walden expand­ed the gallery’s activ­i­ties after WWI to include lec­tures and a the­ater, and he began pub­lish­ing books and port­fo­lios by Expres­sion­ist artists. Just above see the cov­er of Walden’s own book Ein­blick in Kun­st, and see sev­er­al more book cov­ers and a bib­li­og­ra­phy at Mono­skop.

A prod­uct of the Weimar Republic’s high cul­ture, the Ger­man Expres­sion­ist move­ment large­ly came to an end, along with Der Sturm and its asso­ci­at­ed work, as the Nazis came to pow­er. But the cur­rent of Expres­sion­ism moved pow­er­ful­ly through the cen­tu­ry, inspir­ing among oth­ers the mid-cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can Abstract Expres­sion­ists, who often broke away from detached, the­o­ret­i­cal under­stand­ings of art and engaged in direct and some­times bru­tal ways with paint and can­vas. But one can’t imag­ine these lat­er painters tak­ing the sub­jec­tive license they did with­out the ground­work laid by the tire­less Kandin­sky and his con­tem­po­raries or Walden’s expan­sive Der Sturm move­ment.

You can peruse the entire col­lec­tion of Der Sturm here.

via Mono­skop

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Exten­sive Archive of Avant-Garde & Mod­ernist Mag­a­zines (1890–1939) Now Avail­able Online

Down­load 2,000 Mag­nif­i­cent Turn-of-the-Cen­tu­ry Art Posters, Cour­tesy of the New York Pub­lic Library

Down­load the Com­plete Archive of Oz, “the Most Con­tro­ver­sial Mag­a­zine of the 60s,” Fea­tur­ing R. Crumb, Ger­maine Greer & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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