van Gogh with 19 years
Expressionism originated in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century. The roots of expressionism can be traced back to two German painter groups, Die Bruecke and Der Blaue Reiter. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was key in starting modern expressionism by serving as channel for previously forgotten ancient art. Expressionism has been described as an artist's ability to not paint reality as people know it, but rather paint emotions and their feelings towards objects to illicit a response. This was done by distorting, exaggerating and using fantasy in partnership with intensity and a powerful use of the elements. Expressionism is said to contain all art forms so that the artist has the ability to go beyond any and all restraints or disadvantages of normal subject matter and examine only the feelings aroused by their inspiration.
Probably one of the most well known painters that was a part of the expressionism movement was Vincent van Gogh. It has been said that during the last year and a half of his life during the Expressionism movement he was under intense emotional turmoil and was not in his right frame of mind. A famous example of expressionism at it's best is van Gogh's "A Starry Night". Many other painters of this time had somewhat similar emotional problems. For example, Norwegian Edvard Munch dealt with a variety of phobias and James Ensor, a Belgian, liked life best in complete isolation.
Blooming later on in the century from the expressionism movement was abstract expressionism. This art movement was considered to be the Golden Age of American art. The use of brushstrokes and textures was used to convey the feeling of vivid emotions through the actual act of painting.