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Gabriele Münter 1877 – 1962 German

I love a good story, and found one in the life of Gabriele Münter who played a significant part in several important art movements and was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. She was born in Berlin to upper-middle-class family and country that discouraged women from a career in the arts, but she defied convention , as she would the rest of her life, by attending Munich’s progressive new Phalanx School, where she studied with the painter Wassily Kandinsky. He was her mentor and then became her companion for over decade.

She helped establish the Neue Künstlervereinigung (New Artists’ Association) in 1909, and in 1911 she, Kandinsky, and several other artists left that group to form Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider Group). Kandinsky's relationship with Münter had an effect on his work as he began to adopt Münter's use of saturated colors and abstract expressionist style. They both championed modern art, the connection between visual art and music, and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting in its move toward abstraction.

Münter and Kandinsky traveled extensively and during the time leading up to WW1, they attempted to return to Germany and he was refused re-entry due to his Russian nationality. She returned to Germany alone and took refuge in the small Bavarian town of Murnau , A village untouched by industrialization, progress, and technology. Everything in her personal life took a radical turn. She embraced a more representational style and It was here, that within her landscape paintings, she emphasized nature. The village and countryside provided a sense of connection and confirmation of the importance of coexistence with nature.

During this tumultuous time she stored numerous works of art in a warehouse, but as tensions continued in Europe and condemnation of the modernist movements began to rise, she had all of the art work done by her, Kandinsky, and the other members of the Blaue Reiter transported to her house, where she hid them throughout the war. Through several house searches, the pieces were never found. On her eightieth birthday, Münter gave her entire collection of more than 80 oil paintings and 330 drawings, to the Städtische Galerie in Munich.

 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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