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Gabriele Münter im Freien vor der Staffelei (Gabriele Münter...
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Über das Objekt

A glorious celebration of colour and form, Gabriele Münter im Freien vor der Staffelei dates from a key period of development for Kandinsky and marks the artists definitive transition into the abstract. Depicting Kandinskys companion and lover the painter Gabriele Münter at her easel in the surroundings of the Bavarian mountains, it is also testament to his close collaboration with like-minded artists during these formative years working in Murnau and Munich. Kandinsky and Münter met when she began taking classes at the Phalanx School in 1902 and they quickly became close. From the very first they travelled out of Munich into the Bavarian countryside to draw and paint together, and in 1908 they discovered the small town of Murnau in the foothills of the Alps. They recommended it to their friends and fellow-artists Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin and the group spent the summer there, returning over the following years. The Alpine landscape surrounding Murnau was to have a profound effect on their art and this was augmented by the spirit of collaboration and experimentation between the four friends. As Reinhold Heller explains: The development was communal []. The artists collaborated, frequently painted identical scenes and, together, discussed the remarkable transformations their work underwent. Long, if not always deep, friendship made such interaction possible. Kandinsky, Werefkin and Jawlensky had known each other since at least 1897 []. This close association also sought to fulfil the frequent arcadian modernist vision of a utopian community of artists unrestrainedly outside the urban confines of cities (R. Heller, Gabriele Münter. The Years of Expressionism (exhibition catalogue), Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee (and travelling), 1997-99, p. 70).\nGabriele Münter im Freien vor der Staffelei offers a particularly valuable insight into this hugely formative relationship. Münter appears in four paintings from this period of which the present work is the only one still in private hands and this depiction of her in front of her easel vividly conjures the spirit of productivity and creativity that characterised their time in Murnau. The close ties between the group members are further emphasised by the provenance of the present work which initially belonged to Jawlensky. He kept it in his collection perhaps as a memento of those happy, productive years in Murnau until his death in 1941, when it passed to his wife Helene.\nThe unique context of Murnau was key to Kandinskys move towards abstraction. From an early stage in his artistic career, Kandinsky was aware that his pursuit of his own form of expression was leading him toward an entirely new visual idiom. In a letter to Gabriele Münter written on 2nd April 1904 Kandinsky wrote: Without exaggerating, I can say that, should I succeed in this task, I will be showing [a] new, beautiful path for painting susceptible to infinite development. I am on a new track, which some masters, just here and there, suspected, and which will be recognised, sooner or later. As predicted, in the years that followed Kandinsky travelled further towards abstraction than any painter previously, and as Will Grohmann observes in his celebrated monograph on the artist, it was 1910 that marked Kandinskys epoch-making breakthrough to the abstract (W. Grohmann, op. cit., p. 62).\nKandinskys first major breakthrough was his discovery that colour, when disassociated from representational concerns, could become the principal subject of a painting. Taking his cue from musical composition, Kandinsky determined that every colour corresponded with a particular emotion or sound. As Will Grohmann writes, Color becomes increasingly crucial. [... They] transport the subject to the sphere of dream and legend. This was the direction of development. The painter distributes and links the colours, combines them and differentiates them as if they were beings of a specific character and special significance. As in music, the materials now come to the fore, and in this respect Kandinsky stands between Mussorgsky and Scriabin. The language of color just as in those composers calls for depth, for fantasy (ibid., pp. 60-61).\nThis revelation was due in part to the journey the artist took to Paris in 1906 and his acquaintance with Fauve paintings by Derain, Delaunay and Vlaminck, as well as his appreciation of Cézannes brushwork in his late works. Though, as Hans Roethel writes: when Kandinsky returned to Munich, ideologically and practically, the ground was well prepared for abstract painting and yet it needed a final spark to come into being (H. K. Roethel & J. K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, London, 1979, p. 25). It was his visits to Murnau and the surrounding landscape and artistic milieu that provided this spark.\nThrough constant experimentation and extensive preparatory work Kandinskys artistic means developed from an essentially figurative Fauve style to pure abstraction. By 1910 he had found the language he sought, with sweeping lines, beautiful iridescent patches of colour and kaleidoscopic compositions (figs. 1 & 2). This is exemplified in the present work; the figurative remains, but the composition is radically altered and the colours have taken on a new vibrancy and autonomy. Kandinsky achieves a delicate balance between the subtle figuration of Münter herself and the almost completely abstracted landscape that surrounds her. It is a powerful illustration of Kandinskys pioneering pictorial language and his unique and important contribution to the history of twentieth century art.\nThis work has been requested for the exhibition Kandinsky and Malevich: Routes to Abstraction, to be held at the Musée Maillol, Paris from March to July 2020.\nSigned Kandinsky (lower left)
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notes

This work has been requested for the exhibition 'Kandinsky and Malevich: Routes to Abstraction', to be held at the Musée Maillol, Paris from March to July 2020.

medium

Oil on board

creator

Kandinsky, Wassily

dimensions

32.5 by 44.5cm.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie de Seine, Automne 1963, 1963, no. 8, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from 1908)

literature

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky. Life and Work, New York, 1958, no. 582, illustrated p. 397 (as dating from 1908) Hans K. Roethel & Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky. Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London, 1982, vol. I, no. 344, illustrated p. 324

provenance

Alexej von Jawlensky, Munich Helene von Jawlensky, Ascona (by descent from the above) Felix Handschin, Basel (acquired from the above in 1958) Galerie Änne Abels, Cologne (acquired in 1958) Dr. J. Steegmann, Köln-Marienburg (sold: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Stuttgart, 3rd-4th May 1962, lot 192) Galleria Fedeli, Milan (purchased at the above sale) Roman Norman Ketterer, Campione d'Italia Galerie de Seine, Paris (acquired by 1963) Eugene V. Thaw, New York Private Collection, Paris (acquired from the above in 1967) Thence by descent to the present owners

signedDate

Signed Kandinsky (lower left)

time_period

Painted in 1910.

time_range_end

1910

artist_range_end

1944

time_range_start

1910

artist_range_start

1866

consignmentDesignation

Property of a Private Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1866 - 1944


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*Beachten Sie, dass der Preis nicht auf den aktuellen Wert umgerechnet wird, sondern sich auf den tatsächlichen Endpreis zum Zeitpunkt des Verkaufs des Objekts bezieht.


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