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Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

GABRIELE MÜNTER

GABRIELE MÜNTER PAINTING TO THE POINT For the first time after 25 years, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation showed an extensive exhibition surveying the complete oeuvre of Gabriele Münter (1877-1962). For most art lovers, Münter’s name immediately evokes the german expressionism with the “Blue Rider” — a group of artists formed in Munich in 1911 with Kandinsky, Münter, and Franz Marc (1880-1916) at its score —, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) or the small town of Murnau in the Alpine foothills. These associations are not wrong, but they reduce the artist’s rich oeuvre to only a brief period and narrowly focus our view on a few facets of her long career. Münter’s creative achievements, even more than those of other female artists, have been interpreted and evaluated through the lens of her life and her relationship with Kandinsky. The exhibition seeks to draw attention to the complexity and distinctive autonomy of her art by examining it in light of art-historical questions. Its main emphasis is on Münter’s paintings, which, unlike in earlier shows, is presented in thematically focused sections rather than in chronological sequence. 156 Gabriele Münter, Bildnis Marianne von Werefkin, 1909, Pappe, 81 x 54,8 cm, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Inv.-Nr. GMS 656 Gabriele Münter, Dame im Sessel, schreibend (Stenographie. Schweizerin in Pyjama), 1929, Textiler Bildträger, 61,5 x 46,2 cm Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, Inv.-Nr. P 39

Gabriele Münter, Vom Griesbräu-Fenster, 1908, Pappe, 33 x 40,1 cm, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, Inv.-Nr. L 142 As Gabriele Münter was a photographer before she was a painter, the presentation opens with a small selection of photographs she took during her sojourn in the United States in 1899–1900. The following sections examine her creative engagement with the medium of painting. Complementing the classic genres of portraiture and landscape painting, themes such as the interior and Münter’s work in series are explored. They illustrate her playful approach to the visualization of spatial depth and her experimentation with different ways to capture the essence of a scene. An extensive section is dedicated to the “primitivism” in the painter’s oeuvre, which is rooted in her sustained interest in folk art, non-Western cultures, as well as in children’s experience. The representation of the world of labor is not something we readily associate with Münter, but such scenes do appear in her art. The paintings in the style of the New Objectivity she created in the late 1920s refute the widely held simplistic view of the artist as unperturbed by the upheavals of the Great War and who carried on in the manner her “Blue Rider” period. As well, and although Münter is said to have felt on uncertain ground in the realm of abstraction, she made abstract paintings that are highly diverse and sometimes strikingly modern. The exhibition would not be complete without a section surveying Gabriele Münter’s work through the lens of her exhibition history and her role as an important donor of art. Held one hundred and forty years after Münter was born, it also celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of her donation of “Blue Rider” works to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 1957. The majority of the works displayed in the exhibition are drawn from the artist’s estate, which is administered by the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation Munich. These paintings have never been on public view or were last exhibited decades ago. These are supplemented by international 157