'Portrait of Gabriele Münter' by Wassily Kandinsky
DER BLAUE REITER - Gabriele Münter

Official art academies in Germany were closed to women in her youth, so Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)  studied privately, first at the Ladies School of Art in Dusseldorf.  With an inheritance that gave her financial independence, she moved to Munich in 1901 and was introduced to Post-Impressionism and modernist techniques at the Phalanx School newly founded by Wassily Kandinsky, who left his wife to become her lover.  For about a dozen years they lived, traveled and painted together.  The couple's 'engagement' ended with his marriage to another woman after returning to Russia due to the outbreak of World War I. 

Among the first to exhibit with the 'Blue Rider' group, Münter helped to establish the German Expressionist style in which forms and perspective are reduced and thick areas of colors are spread broadly.  However, it was not until 1999 that a major retrospective and definitive catalogue were produced by Expressionist scholar Reinhold Heller, who assembled 82 paintings, prints and drawings from Münter's Expressionist years (1903-1920).  

While Kandinsky eventually abandoned all representational form, painting instead from 'inner necessity,' Münter continued to favor simplified but recognizable forms. Her paintings sometimes resembled stained glass windows she admired in Dresden, featuring compact areas of color with black outlines and little hint of perspective.

Best known for powerful landscapes, striking still life compositions and figure studies, she often depicted friends and colleagues in her work. The couple in the first picture below are Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne Werefkin, painters acquainted since their St. Petersburg schooldays. 

Another domestic scene shows Kandinsky in post-prandial conversation with Erma Bossi.

Jawlensky and Werefkin, 1908-09, oil on cardboard, Lenbachhaus, Munich.
Gelbes Haus mit Apfelbaum
Kandinsky and Erma Bossi, After Dinner, 1912, oil on canvas, Lenbachhaus, Munich.

 'Jawlensky and Werefkin' by Gabriele Münter

 'Gelbes Haus mit Apfelbaum' by Gabriele Münter

 'Kandinsky and Erma Bossi, After Dinner' by Gabriele Münter



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