Neither a movement nor a school with a definite program, Der Blaue Reiter was a loosely knit organization of artists that organized group shows between and The work of these artists was diverse , but it generally reflected an interest in free experimentation and spiritual expression. Wishing to give form to mystical feelings, these artists wanted to imbue their art with deep spiritual content. The almanac featured essays by various artists as well as reproductions of works of primitive and folk art.
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Her Self-Portrait of exemplifies the experimentation of the former group and the semi-abstract manipulation of form and color that would develop in the latter. Her loose, dynamic brushwork shows the early influence of Vincent van Gogh on the NKvM artists and her use of arbitrary color is reminiscent of their study of Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch.
However, when Kandinsky painted that early canvas, perhaps indebted more to Gustav Klimt or Les Nabis, he had not yet developed the theory of color symbolism he would publish in Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Beyond his visual offerings, Kandinsky was central to the group as a theorist, and behind this cover he continued that role by publishing two essays and an experimental theater piece. In a letter to August Macke, he wrote: "Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay, and spiritual.
Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two. Marc was predominantly a painter of animals, and pantheistic "back-to-nature" groups, popular in turn-of-the-century Germany, influenced his idea of spiritualism.
Taking a stance closely related to Primitivism, Marc considered animals to be closer to an innate, natural state of spirituality that mankind lost with civilization. Oil on canvas - Solomon R. His largest painting at 6 by 10 feet , it is a dynamic cacophony of colors and forms with very little in the way of recognizable imagery. The widespread destruction of World War I struck many artists and intellectuals as a literal apocalypse, and Kandinsky would later respond by removing all recognizable imagery - especially representations of violent conflict - from his painting.
Marc achieved perhaps the most dynamic hard-edged style due to his adoption of Cubist faceting and the force lines of Futurism. The cross created by the diagonal background suggests sacrifice and rebirth. Many intellectuals, Marc included, saw the forthcoming war as a chance for spiritual renewal. Before his affiliation with the group, he was a musician and experimental graphic artist, but he had not developed his talents as a colorist. In he traveled with Macke and the Swiss painter Louis Moilliet to Tunisia, a trip that revolutionized his growth as an artist.
In Tunisia, Klee wrote in his diary of "discovering" color: "Color possesses me. It will always possess me. That is the meaning of this happy hour: color and I are one. I am a painter. It exchanges recognizable imagery for a balanced geometric composition of circles, rectangles, and irregular polygons delicately colored in a variety of mixed hues.
These visual cues have been taken to represent his feelings of wartime fear and anxiety. Sadly, Farewell was the last painting that Macke completed before his death at the front in September Though the Bauhaus would pursue different goals and eventually, a more streamlined design aesthetic , Feininger was among several Der Blaue Reiter members who wound up teaching at the groundbreaking institution.
His Cathedral woodcut for the cover of the Bauhaus program figuratively marked the institution with a Blaue Reiter "stamp. The Bauhaus would use the cathedral as a symbol for their goal of unifying the fine and applied arts under one roof; Feininger cleverly brought this goal into line with the concepts of spirituality and abstraction first put forth in Germany by his Der Blaue Reiter group nearly a decade prior.
Der Blaue Reiter Artworks
Her Self-Portrait of exemplifies the experimentation of the former group and the semi-abstract manipulation of form and color that would develop in the latter. Her loose, dynamic brushwork shows the early influence of Vincent van Gogh on the NKvM artists and her use of arbitrary color is reminiscent of their study of Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch. However, when Kandinsky painted that early canvas, perhaps indebted more to Gustav Klimt or Les Nabis, he had not yet developed the theory of color symbolism he would publish in Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Beyond his visual offerings, Kandinsky was central to the group as a theorist, and behind this cover he continued that role by publishing two essays and an experimental theater piece.
Der Blaue Reiter
Verlag, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. What was the Blue Rider Almanac? In publishing the almanac, the two young artists hoped to bring together the newest and most revolutionary achievements in modern art and present them to a supportive and enlightened readership. This wide-ranging selection vividly illustrated an anti-academic, open-minded, international, and tolerant vision. Painters, composers, and critics from different nations all wrote contributions in which they articulated the goals of this new art. The publication of the almanac was a collective, international and interdisciplinary undertaking.
The Blaue Reiter Almanac
Quote from a letter of Franz Marc to Wassily Kandinsky , c. Cohen, Lexington Books, Sep 14, , p. The loveliest prismatic colors and the famous Cubist style have become meaningless in terms of the objectives of the iconoclasts. Their thinking has a different aim: with their labor, they want to create symbols for their era. Joachim Neugroschel ; publisher: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, , p. We will try to become the center of the new movement.
The Blue Rider Almanac 1st Ed. *