The Blue Rider

Gabriele Münter

 

 

GABRIELE MÜNTER

Gabriele Münter (1877 – 1962) had started capturing the people around her in portrait sketches at the young age of fourteen. After a brief course of studies at a drawing school in Düsseldorf, she lived in the United States from 1898 to 1900, where relatives frequently sat for her. With her documentary approach, she was interested in photography as well, so Münter more and more often also wielded the camera. In the spring of 1901, she came to Munich to study art, and in 1902, she enrolled in Wassily Kandinsky’s newly established Phalanx art school; in 1903, the two became romantic as well as artistic partners. Because Kandinsky was still married, the couple traveled for several years; they spent almost an entire year in Paris and did not definitively return to Munich until 1908. Almost right away, they discovered Murnau, which would prove their favorite place to paint. In 1909, Gabriele Münter bought a home in Murnau. The time they spent there together was among the most fertile periods of her oeuvre. By 1914, Münter’s particular strengths as an artist — her ability to simplify and her talent for accurate and striking delineation — were in full bloom. Reduction of form and clear color contrasts are also the hallmarks of the portraits of her artist friends, with which she became a sort of chronicler of the Blue Rider group. The mysterious still lifes she created around 1911 feature the products of religious artisan craftwork and reverse glass paintings she and Kandinsky collected. After the outbreak of World War I, Kandinsky returned to Russia; she met him one last time in Stockholm in the winter of 1915 – 16. After spending several years in Scandinavia and then moving between places in Germany, Münter returned to her home in Murnau in 1930 with her second life partner, Johannes Eichner; she would live and work there until her death in 1962.