The Lenbachhaus owns the world’s largest collection of art of the Blue Rider, one of the most important groups of avantgarde artists in the early twentieth century. The core of this treasure consists of the generous donation by Gabriele Münter, herself a painter and Wassily Kandinsky's companion until 1914. In 1957 she gifted more than a thousand works of the Blue Rider to the Lenbachhaus.
The Blue Rider circle formed as a breakaway faction from the New Artists Association Munich, an international group of artists, which had been founded in early 1909. It was a time when artists all over the world established numerous associations and colonies. The artists of the Blue Rider were to become famous for their radiantly colorful and expressive paintings. Developing visual idioms that charted distinctive paths toward abstraction or devised innovative modes of figuration, the artists followed an "inner imperative" and shared the belief in a "spiritual dimension". The legendary exhibitions of the Blue Rider group in 1911/12 and the almanac of the same title, which epitomized an international and expansive vision of art, have come to be regarded as milestones in the history of modernism.