Gabriele Münter was a photographer before she was a painter. She took her first pictures around 1900, during a stay in the United States. She started painting soon after and never stopped—she worked on her art almost every day for the rest of her life. And Gabriele Münter went to the movies!
She was an open-minded artist who embraced experimentation; many of her accomplishments have lingered in obscurity because her oeuvre has generally been studied through the narrow lens of her life and her relationship with Kandinsky. That is why the focus of attention has been almost entirely on her pictures from the "Blue Rider" years. Art lovers usually associate Münter’s name with German Expressionism, with Murnau and her home in the picturesque small town, now a museum dedicated to her and Kandinsky’s work. Yet Münter’s art was far more multifaceted, imaginative, and stylistically diverse than most people are aware.
With this exhibition of her art at the Lenbachhaus, we seek to offer a broader perspective on Münter’s creative output. We will ask questions of art history to highlight its complexity and distinctive qualities and suggest a fuller appreciation of her achievements. Her work as a painter, presented in various thematic sections, will be at the heart of the show: from classic genres such as the portrait and the landscape to interiors, abstractions, and her "primitivist" work, visitors will encounter Münter’s oeuvre in all its richness.
Photography was her first creative medium, a fascination that left lasting traces in her paintings, so a small section will be dedicated to the photographs she took in 1899–1900 during her trip to the United States. She also was also an early aficionado of the new medium of film, and selected films will be shown in viewing stations.
The great majority of the 130 paintings have never been on public display or were last exhibited decades ago. They come from the painter’s estate, which is managed by the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation. The show is rounded out by rarely-seen works from international collections.
The exhibition is being prepared by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in collaboration with the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation and was timed to coincide with the celebrations of Gabriele Münter’s 140th birthday and the 60th anniversary of her donation of works by the Blue Rider artists to the Lenbachhaus in 1957.Curated by Isabelle Jansen and Matthias Mühling
This exhibition is organized by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau and Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation, Munich in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.