Gabriele Münter

Munich-born Gabriele Münter (1877-1962), though denied entrance to the German Art Academies based on her gender, emerged among the leaders of the Munich avant-garde in the years preceding the outbreak of World War I. Up until the war, she participated in many of the most significant German avant-garde exhibitions.

In 1902, she embarked upon a pivotal twelve year personal and professional relationship with Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, then director of the short-lived progressive Phalanx School of Painting. Notably, in 1911, Münter was a founding member of the influential Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), led by Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Members included Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc, August Macke, among others. Though the artists’ styles differed, they shared a fundamental desire to express spiritual truth through art. They believed in a natural connection between visual art and music and of the spiritual power of color.

Though noting and observing Kandinsky’s stylistic progression toward abstraction, her own work remained figurative. Her work evolved from the late 1890s Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) influences to incorporate the unusual colors of the Fauves and Post-Impressionists — Matisse, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Ultimately Münter’s work embraced the precepts of Expressionism in the emotive use of line and color, simplification of forms and flattened spaces and a movement toward primitivism. An early love of landscapes endured throughout. Her particular choice of emotive expression — color!

To her lasting credit, Münter risked imprisonment during World War II by hiding her entire collection of Blaue Reiter artworks, over 80 oil paintings and 330 drawings, in her Murnau home. The works were deemed Degenerate Art. On her eightieth birthday she gave the collection to the Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

 

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wow. Thank you so much for sharing this artist and her work.