Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)
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Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)

Selbstportrait mit Hut

Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)
Selbstportrait mit Hut
indistinctly inscribed (upper left); with the Nachlass stamp (on the reverse)
oil on board
19 1/8 x 13 7/8 in. (48.6 x 35.4 cm.)
Painted circa 1909
The artist's estate.
Galerie Resch, Gauting.
Acquired from the above by the father of the present owner.
P. Lahnstein, Münter, Ettal, 1971 (illustrated pl. 26, dated 'circa 1907').
G. Kleine, Gabriele Münter und Wassily Kandinsky: Biographie eines Paares, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig, 1990 (illustrated p. 338).
Exh. cat., Gabriele Münter 1977-1962: Retrospektive, Städtischen Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, July - November 1992 (illustrated no. 3, p. 87).
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Gabriele Münter 1877-1962, Zeichnungen, Gemälde, Hinterglasbilder und Volkskunst aus ihrem Besitz, April - July 1977, no. 24 (illustrated p. 65).
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Gabriele Münter: Between Munich and Murnau, September - November 1980, no. 33 (illustrated p. 36 and on the inside cover); this exhibition later travelled to Princeton, University Art Museum, November 1980 - January 1981.
Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Naive and Outsider Painting from Germany and Paintings by Gabriele Münter, March - May 1983, no. 5.
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Gabriele Münter, April - May 1988, no. 23 (illustrated pl. XV); this exhibition later travelled to Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, June - August 1988 and Aichtal-Aich, September 1988.
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Lot Essay

For Selbstportrait mit Hut, Gabriele Münter paints herself at the age of 32 as a forthright and independent woman with expressive simplicity. Münter retained a belief in the long held view that the human form is capable of expressing the spiritual essence of the individual and was a 'natural symbol of the spiritual, non-visible world' (quoted in R. Heller, Gabriele Münter: The Years of Expressionism 1903-1920, Munich, p. 111). In her efforts to express an inner response to external impressions, Münter was aware that she was not just representing a subject when she painted, but was also projecting herself and her unconscious desires onto the canvas. For Münter, self-portraiture was a means of fusing the relationship between subject and object. 'The painting of portraits,' she explained, 'is the boldest and the most difficult, the most spiritual, the most extreme task of the artist' (ibid, p. 112).
Executed with the recently liberated sense of colour and form she had developed alongside Kandinsky and Jawlensky in Murnau in 1908, the painting is one of her most reductive self-portraits, yet still maintains a close likeness to her image. Depicting herself as if dressed up for an outing, Selbstportrait mit Hut introduces an element of caricature in her portrayal that would reoccur in the many portraits and parlour scenes she would paint of her friends from the newly formed artist's association Neue Kunstlervereinigung München.

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