Audio: Gabriele Münter
Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)
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Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)

Dorfstrasse in Blau

Gabriele Münter (1877-1962)
Dorfstrasse in Blau
oil on board
13 3/4 x 10 1/8 in. (35 x 25.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1908-1910
The artist's estate.
Galerie Resch, Gauting.
Private collection, Germany, by whom acquired from the above, and thence by descent; sale, Christie's, London, 4 February 2008, lot 28.
Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owners.
P. Lahnstein, Münter, 60 Farbtafeln, 8 Zeichnungen, Ettal, 1971 (illustrated pl. 5, dated '1908').
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Gabriele Münter 1877-1962, Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Hinterglasbilder und Volkskunst aus ihrem Besitz, April - July 1977, no. 28, p. 66 (illustrated on the cover).
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Gabriele Münter, Between Munich and Murnau, September - November 1980, no. 22, p. 29 (illustrated); 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. 6, p. 110.
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Gabriele Münter, April - May 1988, no. 25 (illustrated pl. XIV); this exhibition later travelled to Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, June - August 1988, and Aichtal-Aich, Sammlung Eisenmann, September 1988.

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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

The multi-coloured houses of Murnau, the small, picturesque German village on the edge of the Bavarian Alps, provided the impetus for Dorfstrasse in Blau. Painted circa 1908-1910, Dorfstrasse in Blau illustrates the radical shift in Gabriele Münter’s career that occurred at this time, during which she turned from painting naturalistic depictions of the landscape, to instead rendering visions of nature in a more abstract and subjective way.

Münter first visited Murnau in the summer of 1908, with her former teacher and then lover, Wassily Kandinsky, as well as their friends, artists Alexej Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin. This summer sojourn had a great impact on each of these artists’ work, and both Münter and Kandinsky adopted a new mode of conveying the landscape around them. A sensation of vibrant colour, in Dorfstrasse in Blau, Münter has eschewed illusions of space and depth, instead distilling and simplifying the essential forms of the street scene and rendering it with planes of broad, unmodulated colour. The shades of vivid blue that demarcate the sky and shadows of the scene are used naturalistically, yet any colouristic nuances are absent, and instead the colours are intensified and exaggerated, to the point of becoming almost autonomous entities within the picture. Moreover, the flattened areas of gleaming colour, and the black lines that demarcate them, are reminiscent of a stained-glass window, a reference to Münter’s interest at this time in the folk tradition of Bavarian glass painting common to Murnau.

Writing in 1911, Münter recalled of this period in which Dorfstrasse in Blau was painted, ‘I made a great leap – from copying from nature, in a more or less Impressionist style, to feeling the content of things – abstracting – conveying an extract.’ (G. Münter quoted in Gabriele Münter: The Search for Expression 1906-1917, exh. cat., London, 2005, p. 27). In Dorfstrasse in Blau, Münter has distilled nature, depicting its raw essence, to create a heightened vision of reality that reflects her own emotional response to the world around her. It was this concept that would become central to the Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, which would be founded in Munich in 1911, by Münter and Kandinsky, Jawlensky, Werefkin and Marc, among others.

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