Gabriele Münter (1877 – 1962)

Gabriele Münter und die Kinderwelt

[Gabriele Münter and the World of Children]

Frankfurt/Main and Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1997
Contains:
Friedel's picture book
Sketchbook 1906 to 1909
unpublished, private collection
Colored drawings, 12 x 18 cm

The book and its history

Schroeter, daughter of Münter's sister Emmy Schroeter, between 1906 and 1909. In a sketchbook created for Friedel, Münter drew a total of 13 pictures at the child's request. Five additional drawings were contributed by Wassily Kandinsky and friends Moyssey Kogan, Alexander Sacharoff, Marianne von Werefkin, and Vladimir von Bechtejeff (all except Kogan's and Bechtejeff's drawings are reproduced). These pictures are found in the sketchbook on pages 14 to 18 and probably date to 1909. At this time, Münter was already living frequently in Murnau, where she bought a house in 1909. Painter friends from Munich often came to visit, as did Friedel, who was often allowed to spend her vacations with her aunt.
Münter draws small everyday scenes and figures with simple contours, characterizes physique and movements, shows patterns and details, according to her liking and narrative pleasure. The drawing "Sleeping Friedel," which shows the blonde girl with two stuffed animals and a clown doll, is repeated on a color woodcut from 1908 (16.7 x 23.9 cm, Städt. Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich) Further connections between the picture book and free works are described in the publication.
Kleine documents in detail how Münter, like Kandinsky, was attracted to so-called children's art and saw the naive, undisguised child's gaze as a model for painting freed from conventions. It is about conveying emotional states and about reproducing the essence in form and color. Like Klee and Kandinsky, Münter also collected pictures of children (about 300 drawings) and quoted them both directly and indirectly in her own paintings.
The sequence of pictures: Catholic man / And his Wife too / A Photographing Man / Berlin Street Scene / The Plunge / Consoled Friedel - Contrite Father / Friedel with Cousin Annemarie / Cat Waske Taking a Nap / Auguste is Sick / Detta and Sofie Washing Up / A Couple in Paris / Sleeping Friedel / Ascent to Riederalp

Biographical note

Gabriele Münter, born in Berlin in 1877, died in Murnau in 1962, is considered an eminent painter and graphic artist of German Expressionism. In 1911 she co-founded the group "Der blaue Reiter" in Munich. She began her artistic training in 1897 in Düsseldorf in a 'ladies' art school'. In 1901 she came to Munich and attended courses at the private Phalanx Art School, where Wassily Kandinsky taught.
From 1903 until 1914 she lived with Kandinsky and traveled extensively with him. In 1906/07, during a joint stay in Paris, she produced large parts of her graphic work - colored woodcuts and linocuts. In 1909 Münter found a country house in Murnau, Upper Bavaria, where she developed her brightly colored, black-contoured, expressive style of painting. She cultivated friendly relationships with Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc and others. In 1917 Kandinky separated from her for good. From 1931 onwards she lived permanently in Murnau.
She was banned from painting by the Nazi dictatorship. Despite massive threats, she hid numerous paintings in her possession by Kandinsky and other artists of the Blaue Reiter in her Murnau basement and was thus able to save them from destruction. In 1957 she bequeathed her extensive artistic estate and possessions to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich.

Literature/Links

Jonathan Fineberg: Mit dem Auge des Kindes.
Kinderzeichnung und moderne Kunst.
Exhibition catalogue, Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1995

Karoline Hille: Gabriele Münter: Die Künstlerin mit der Zauberhand, DuMont, Cologne 2012

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