In part a reaction against Impressionism and academic art, Expressionism was inspired most heavily by the Symbolist currents in late-19-century art.
Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and James Ensor proved particularly influential to the Expressionists, encouraging the distortion of form and the deployment of strong colors to convey a variety of anxieties and yearnings.
The setting of The Scream was suggested to the artist while walking along a bridge overlooking Oslo; as Munch recalls, "the sky turned as red as blood.
I stopped and leaned against the fence...shivering with fear.
Chaim Soutine was a Jewish Expressionist painter whose textured, impasto style was influential for later gestural painters.
He is especially known for his portraits, landscapes, and studies of flayed meat.
Nolde was a Danish-German painter and printmaker who was affiliated with the groups Die Brucke, the Berlin Secession, and Der Blaue Reiter.
His bright, evocative paintings of religious scenes, seascapes, and flowers earned him a unique place in the greater Expressionism movement. Schiele was initially taken under the wing of Gustav Klimt, but soon discovered a painterly style that was solidly expressionistic in form.
While his style was reminiscent of Van Gogh, Klimt, Munch and others, Schiele shaped the female form in a uniquely non-representational manner, often twisting the body and face, making him an early proponent of European Expressionism.
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was a German Expressionist painter and printmaker, and a member of Die Brucke.