Der Blaue Reiter

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Wassily Kandinsky (1866—1944) Russian painter and theorist

August Macke (1887—1914)

Franz Marc (1880—1916)

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A loose association of artists formed in Munich in 1911 as a splinter group from the Neue Künstlervereinigung; it held only two exhibitions (poorly received by press and public) and was broken up by the First World War, but its brief life is considered to mark the high point of German Expressionism. The name was also used in the title of the Almanac (a collection of essays and illustrations) published in 1912 by Kandinsky (the driving force behind the group) and Marc (another of the major figures); the cover of the Almanac featured a drawing by Kandinsky of a blue horseman (blue was the favourite colour of Marc, who regarded it as particularly spiritual, and the horse was his most cherished subject; Kandinsky, too, often painted horses with riders, evoking ideas of medieval knights or warrior saints). Unlike the members of Die Brücke, the main artists associated with Der Blaue Reiter (including Klee and Macke) were not stylistically unified, although their work tended towards the spiritual (contrasting with the more earthy concerns of Die Brücke) and also towards abstraction. They had no artistic or social programme and no plans for communal activities apart from exhibitions. Their two exhibitions were held in Munich in 1911 and 1912 (the first one travelled to several other German cities and the second one included works by a number of distinguished foreign artists, among them Braque, Derain, Goncharova, Larionov, and Picasso). Although Jawlensky's work was not included in either exhibition, he showed his work alongside Kandinsky, Klee, Macke, and Marc at the Sturm Gallery, Berlin, in 1913 and he is generally considered part of the Blaue Reiter circle; indeed, it is to these five that the idea of a Blaue Reiter group chiefly applies. Feininger also showed his work with the group at this exhibition.

Subjects: Art.

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