(Acton 25) A further understanding of the characteristics of avant-garde art can be achieved by examining paintings such as “The Scream” by Edvard Munch; Henri Matisse’s “The Dance” and “The Dance II”; “Portrait of Ambroise Vollard,” “Three Dancers” and “Woman with Mandolin” by Pablo Picasso and “Woman in Blue” by Fernand Leger.
Expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” depicting an indistinct shape of a human whose face and mouth shown as distorted in fear or in anxiety. The figure seems to be unnerved by someone or something but may probably also be frightened by the bloodied sky overhead. In this painting from the Expressionist period, the artist portrayed the figure as an indistinct form to accentuate the raw emotion. The core of Expressionism was to paint and convey emotions through art therefore Munch exhibits in this painting the avant-garde way of addressing the principle of the art movement, which is to purely capture and express emotions through art without defining the form.
Henri Matisse’s first version of “The Dance” shows lightly-hued human figures dancing and floating in plain green and blue background while “The Dance II” shows the human figures in an intense shade of red dancing and floating in a more vivid blue and green. The two paintings each possess an avant-garde character, the first version discards the foreshortening technique of painting; Matisse employed colors instead to give the figures an impression of distance and movement thus creating an innovation on the use of colors for his artwork. “The Dance II” has the same innovative avant-garde character as the first version, however, the artist made another new approach for the second version by using colors in their unmodified or slightly modified value resulting into colors that are more vibrant and more defined impression of