The autumn 2012 exhibition of the Sara Hildén Art Museum presented the works of the major German expressionist artists from a century ago. The museum held an exhibition of graphic art by members of the group Die Brücke in 1993. The Expressions exhibition showed the works of the most important artists not only of this group but also of the group Der Blaue Reiter. The artists exhibited included Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Franz Marc, Heinrich Campendonk, Erich Heckel, Alexej von Jawlensky, Käthe Kollwitz, August Macke, Otto Mueller, Hermann Max Pechstein, Christian Rohlfs, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Arnold Schönberg and Emil Nolde.

One of the gems of the exhibition was Franz Marc’s famous masterpiece Three Cats (1914). The expressionists favoured subjects taken from nature and animals, through which they strove to express the lost connection between Man and Nature. Their yearning for Nature is manifested in their works in the form of animals, landscapes and gardens. Emil Nolde, in particular, painted many lusciously coloured garden scenes, several of which were on display in this exhibition. The tone for the exhibition as a whole was set by Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s Kneeling Woman, one of the major works of expressionist sculpture.

A collaborating partner for the exhibition was the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, which loaned paintings by the composer Arnold Schönbergin (1874–1951) as well as supplementary material related to his music. The Expressions exhibition was assembled in cooperation with German art museums, in particular those of the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. The main collaborating institution was the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, and loans have also been received from Tampere’s twin city Essen.