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Blauer Reiter

Artists' association



The artists’ association the Blauer Reiter made an important contribution to German Expressionism. It was formed as an informal society in Munich in 1911, having separated following disputes with other members from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, or New Artists’ Association Munich, which had only been formed in 1909. The same year saw the opening of the first exhibition under the name Der Blaue Reiter in the Galerie Tannhauser. In 1912 Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc published an almanac bearing the same title, with contributions on contemporary trends in art. Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Alfred Kubin and Paul Klee were also members of the group. The artists were searching for new artistic stimuli based on the naive art which they found not only in the folk art of Upper Bavaria but also in Russian traditions – with which they came into contact through the Russian members of the group. They strove to find a way to express a new spirituality and thereby developed a colourful and increasingly abstract use of forms. Influenced by his teacher Franz von Stuck, Kandinsky adopted from Jugendstil the concept that the ornamental should take precedence over the content. This led him step by step towards an increasingly non-representational form of painting, which ultimately resulted in abstraction. The artists did not develop a uniform style, but believed that impressions and emotions should be processed individually and in different ways. The artists of the Blauer Reiter cultivated an intensive exchange of ideas with other avant-garde movements, including the Rhineland Expressionism of August Macke, as well as with French artists including Robert Delaunay, for example. The First World War, in which both Marc and Macke were killed, and the enforced exile of the foreign members of the group to their native countries, brought the movement to a sudden end.

Persons belonging to Blauer Reiter

Works associated with Blauer Reiter