Expressionism was one of the main currents of art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has its roots mainly in Germany and Austria. As it became popular in the 1905, the Expressionists moved to the cities and started forming groups such as The Bride and The Blue Rider. There, they shared studios, exhibited their art works and published their works.
Most historians say that Expressionism was a response to another art movement called Impressionism. And if you recall what we've talked about, Impressionism is all about conveying what the eyes can see through loosened brushwork and light color palettes. Impressionists wanted to capture the passage of time, the changes in the environment, and other shifts in nature.
For an Expressionist, the goal is to illustrate the world how it is felt, not by how it looked on the surface. This is the reason why if you will see Expressionist Art, it is often emotionally charged, harsh, and feels quite agitated.
Have you seen this artwork?
And although you are more likely to associate Vincent Van Gogh with his Starry Starry Night painting, his painting, Sunflowers in 1888 is also an example of Expressionist art. His brushwork and his use of expressive colors paved the way for colors, in general, to be used as an emotional instrument.