Der Blaue Reiter

1911. – 1914.

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, i.e. 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.
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