COLORS OF DEATH

Morphing out of other Modernist art movements, Expressionism originated from the central parts of Europe after the turn of the 20th century. With an appreciation for regional folk traditions going back to the medieval era, these artists collaborated to form publications and collectives like Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter.

Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt are perhaps the most prominent artists to succumb to influenza during the 1918 pandemic. Schiele was actually a follower of Klimt, creating portraits of himself and others in contorted poses and vibrant textile patterns. Many of his works render the human form as grotesque and monstrous, likely inspired by the social climate in Germany at the time.

Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, maybe best known as the troubled visionary behind The Scream, survived the flu and depicted himself in a self-portrait from 1919. Wrapped in layers of clothing and blankets, the tension between the teal hues of the floor and the warmth of the orange walls and exposed skin seeks to express thephysical, emotional, and psychological experience of the disease. Like coronavirus, the flu often causes a high fever and chills in its victims.