Neo-expressionism acted as a major revival of painting in an expressionist manner in the 1980s and it occurred internationally

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  • Paula Rego, 'Nanny, Small Bears and Bogeyman' 1982
    Paula Rego
    Nanny, Small Bears and Bogeyman 1982
    Acrylic on paper
    support: 1200 x 1520 mm
    Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1984© Paula Rego
  • Philip Guston, 'Black Sea' 1977
    Philip Guston
    Black Sea 1977
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1730 x 2970 mm

    Purchased 1982© The Estate of Philip Guston
  • Georg Baselitz, 'Adieu' 1982
    Georg Baselitz
    Adieu 1982
    Oil on canvas
    support: 2500 x 3005 mm
    Purchased 1983© Georg Baselitz
  • Anselm Kiefer, 'Lilith' 1987-9
    Anselm Kiefer
    Lilith 1987-9
    Oil, ash and copper wire on canvas
    support: 3815 x 5612 x 500 mm
    support, each: 3815 x 2806 x 50 mm
    Purchased 1990© Anselm Kiefer
  • Gerhard Richter, 'Abstract Painting No. 439' 1978
    Gerhard Richter
    Abstract Painting No. 439 1978
    Oil on canvas
    support: 2000 x 3000 mm
    Purchased 1979© Gerhard Richter
  • Sigmar Polke, 'Untitled (Square 2)' 2003
    Sigmar Polke
    Untitled (Square 2) 2003
    Metallic paints on fabric
    support: 2003 x 1904 x 20 mm
    Purchased with assistance from Tate Members, Noam and Geraldine Gottesman and private donors courtesy of the American Patrons of Tate 2004© Sigmar Polke/ DACS 2010
  • David Salle, 'High and Low' 1994
    David Salle
    High and Low 1994
    Lithograph, woodcut and screenprint on paper
    image: 1445 x 1135 mm
    Presented by Tyler Graphics Ltd in honour of Pat Gilmour, Tate Print Department 1974-7, 2004© David Salle/VAGA, New York/DACS, London 2002

It was seen as a reaction to the minimalism and conceptual art that had dominated the 1970s.

In the USA leading figures were Philip Guston and Julian Schnabel, and in Britain Christopher Le Brun and Paula Rego. There was a major development of neo-expressionism in Germany, as might be expected with its expressionist heritage, but also in Italy. In Germany the neo-expressionists became known as Neue Wilden (i.e. new Fauves). In Italy, neo-expressionist painting appeared under the banner of Transavanguardia (beyond the avant-garde). In France a group called Figuration Libre was formed in 1981 by Robert Combas, Remi Blanchard, Francois Boisrond and Herve de Rosa.