Der Blaue Reiter 1911 – 1914

Der Blaue Reiter, German:Blue Rider, an artists’ movement which was active in Munich 1911–14 The principal members were Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alfred Kubin, Paul Klee, and August Macke A successor to the Neue Künstlervereinigung, the Blaue Reiter held its first exhibition 1911–12 Despite Franz and Maria Marc’s claim that they invented the title based on their liking of the colour blue and riding, the name, with its resonance of medieval knights and Christian warrior saints, probably had deeper roots in German and Russian culture An explanation of the group’s aims appeared in the almanac Der Blaue Reiter (the cover of which featured a drawing of a blue horseman by Kandinsky), published in 1912 and edited by Kandinsky and Marc One of the most important volumes on art produced in the 20th century, it included Kandinsky’s statement: ‘None of us seeks to reproduce nature directly…We are seeking to give artistic form to inner nature, ie spiritual experience’ With its bright colours and often semi-abstract images inspired by a wide variety of sources, the Blaue Reiter was perhaps the most lyrical of the expressionist movements of the early 20th century Today the major holding of Blaue Reiter art is in the Lehnbachhaus in Munich

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was a group of artists united in rejection of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München in Munich, Germany The group was founded by a number of Russian emigrants, including Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, and native German artists, such as Franz Marc, August Macke and Gabriele Münter They considered that the principles of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, a group Kandinsky had founded in 1909, had become too strict and traditional

Der Blaue Reiter was an art movement lasting from 1911 to 1914, fundamental to Expressionism, along with Die Brücke which was founded in 1905

The name of the movement is the title of a painting that Kandinsky created in 1903, but it is unclear whether it is the origin of the name of the movement, as Professor Klaus Lankheit learned that the title of the painting had been overwritten Kandinsky wrote 20 years later that the name is derived from Marc’s enthusiasm for horses and Kandinsky’s love of riders, combined with a shared love of the colour blue For Kandinsky, blue is the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal (see his 1911 book On the Spiritual in Art)

Within the group, artistic approaches and aims varied from artist to artist; however, the artists shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art They believed in the promotion of modern art; the connection between visual art and music; the spiritual and symbolic associations of colour; and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting Members were interested in European medieval art and primitivism, as well as the contemporary, non-figurative art scene in France As a result of their encounters with cubist, fauvist and Rayonist ideas, they moved towards abstraction

Der Blaue Reiter organized exhibitions in 1911 and 1912 that toured Germany They also published an almanac featuring contemporary, primitive and folk art, along with children’s paintings In 1913 they exhibited in the first German Herbstsalon