Gabriele Münter, the authenticity of the colors

Born in Berlin in 1877, Gabriele Münter is one of the founders of the Der blaue Reiter movement. A look back at the woman’s life Kandinsky said she had nothing to learn because she “had everything”.

The painter Gabriele Münter creates the matrix of a work whose outline is freed from limitations. These constraints are not only political, social and moral, but also perceptual. Gabriele teaches us to look at the world with childish eyes and therefore learn what we generally take for granted. It directs our gaze to what we do not see. She invites everyone to wonder, to wonder, as if nature, animals and objects were perceived for the first time. It is no coincidence that his naive style often evokes children’s drawings.

When she looks through the window of her home in Murnau at the sky, she sees the dark blue in sunny weather, black during the storm and purple at sunset when the lake turns red. Her gaze caresses the rolling ridges of the hills, painting the light green of pastures and deep swamps. The barely obscured light soothes the contours of this landscape face, whose purity it conveys.

A life between art and war

Gabriele Münter was born on February 19, 1877 in Berlin. Very early on, she is attracted to art, and her parents will support her calling as a painter who favors her studies. She took private drawing classes before attending the School of Art for Women from 1897. Being a woman prevented her from entering an art academy.

When she was twenty, she traveled with her sister Emmy to the United States. She takes about 400 photos, which already reveal her talent as an artist. She has an incredible talent, self-taught; Gabriele feels the importance of the snapshot she captures in her photographic portraits, but also in those painted.

She moved to Munich, took classes with Wassily Kandinsky. A romantic relationship will unite them in the village of Murnau am Staffelsee in Bavaria. Gabriele will discover the works of Matisse and Fauvism, which will change his style significantly. In 1909 she bought the house in Murnau, which she would represent many times. She received Franz Marc, August Macke and composer Arnold Schönberg there. In 1911, they founded the expressionist group called “Der blaue Reiter”, whose hard core is Paul Klee. This movement represents invisible art – the spiritual in art, that is, seeing beyond the apparent.

World War I separates Gabriele and Wassily. They previously had a tumultuous relationship. From 1920 she suffered from chronic depression. During World War II, she hid her works, which were considered degenerate art “degenerate Art”, the Nazis forbade her to exhibit.

In 1950, an exhibition of his collected works was shown in many German museums.

For its 80th birthday, it offers the city of Munich its entire collection. She died in Murnau in 1962.

© Gabriele Münter – Evening in the Park (Nightfall in St. Cloud), 1906

Gabriele Münter’s works

Gabriele is passionate about objects. She decorates furniture in Murnau’s house. Kandinsky paints the stairs in the house. They both love popular art, authenticity, natural creation without outside influence. The couple has a taste for the archaic. They paint the walls and furniture in the tradition of pure art. He likes Bavarian folk art and Russian ice bass, farmhouses that Kandinsky loved for their colorful ornaments. As Gabriele paints Wassily’s dresser, he decorates Gabriele’s bathroom closet.

Its pure colors applied in flat areas as well as simplified shapes are often delimited by black contours. His compositions are devoid of shadows and perspective is reduced in favor of the surface.

Outdoor painter, his magnificent landscapes are one of his favorite subjects.

The Murnau House has now been converted into a museum and houses personal works by Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky and, in addition to the furniture on the painted walls, exhibits a collection of folklore objects.

Kandinsky said of Gabriele that she had nothing to learn as she “had everything”.

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