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Movements Der Blaue Reiter

Der Blaue Reiter

Started: 1911

Ended: 1914

Quotes

"These two possible resemblances between the art forms of today and those of the past will be at once recognized as diametrically opposed to one another. The first, being purely external, has no future. The second, being internal, contains the seed of the future within itself."
Wassily Kandinsky
"I knew that I must paint not what I saw, but only what was in me, in my soul. Figuratively speaking, it was like this: in my heart, I felt as if there were an organ, which I had to sound. And nature, which I saw before me, only prompted me. And that was a key that unlocked this organ and made it sound."
Alexej von Jawlensky
"Color is a power which directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."
Wassily Kandinsky
"Only today can art be metaphysical, and it will continue to be so. Art will free itself from the needs and desires of men. We will no longer paint a forest or a horse as we please or as they seem to us, but as they really are."
Franz Marc
"What I most cherish is the observation of the movement of colors. Only in this have I found the laws of those simultaneous and complementary color contrasts that nourish the actual rhythm of my vision. In this I find the actual essence, an essence which is not born out of an a priori system or theory."
August Macke

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Expressionism
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Die Brücke

KEY ARTISTS

Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
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Alexej von JawlenskyAlexej von Jawlensky
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Franz MarcFranz Marc
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August MackeAugust Macke
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Paul KleePaul Klee
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Lyonel FeiningerLyonel Feininger
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Natalia GoncharovaNatalia Goncharova
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David BurliukDavid Burliuk
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"The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul, so that it can weigh colors in its own scale and thus become a determinant in artistic creation."

Synopsis

One of the two pioneering movements of German Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter began in Munich as an abstract counterpart to Die Brücke's distorted figurative style. While both confronted feelings of alienation within an increasingly modernizing world, Der Blaue Reiter sought to transcend the mundane by pursuing the spiritual value of art. Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc were the theoretical centers of the group, which included a number of Russian immigrants and native Germans. This internationalism led the group to mount several traveling exhibitions during their brief tenure, making them an indispensible force in the promotion of early avant-garde painting.

Key Ideas

Though Der Blaue Reiter had no official manifesto, Kandinsky's treatise Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1910) laid out several of its guiding principles. Concerning the Spiritual crystallized the group's pursuit of non-objective or abstract painting and was widely read in avant-garde artistic circles across Europe and beyond.
Der Blaue Reiter painting was structured around an idea that color and form carried concrete spiritual values. Thus, the move into abstraction resulted partly from radically separating form and color into discrete elements within a painting or applying non-naturalistic color to recognizable objects. The name "Der Blaue Reiter" referred to Kandinsky and Marc's belief that blue was the most spiritual color and that the rider symbolized the ability to move beyond.
In searching for a language that would express their unique approach to abstract visual form, the artists of Der Blaue Reiter drew parallels between painting and music. Often naming their works Compositions, Improvisations, and Études (among other things), they explored music as the abstract art par excellence, lacking as it does a tangible or figurative manifestation. This also led them to explore notions of synesthesia, the crossing or "union" of the senses in perceiving color, sound, and other stimuli.
Beside its own groundbreaking artists, Der Blaue Reiter's traveling exhibitions featured the leading proponents of Fauvism, Cubism, and the Russian avant-garde, creating a vital central European forum for the development and proliferation of modern art.

Most Important Art

Composition VII (1913)
Artist: Wassily Kandinsky
Widely considered Kandinsky's prewar masterpiece, Composition VII was, at the least, the mostly highly worked canvas he achieved with Der Blaue Reiter. His largest painting (at 6 by 10 feet), it is a dynamic cacophony of colors and forms with very little in the way of recognizable imagery. Despite the heightened abstraction he achieved, scholars have studied Composition VII in relation to Kandinsky's earlier Compositions and his studies for the painting to uncover apocalyptic motifs borrowed from the Bible's Book of Revelations, such as a walled city on a mountain, the volleys of cannons and fanfares of trumpets, a cleansing flood, and the Last Judgment. Kandinsky's push for abstraction was predicated upon a belief that mankind lived in the end of times and required spiritual rebirth. The widespread destruction of World War I (1914-18) struck many artists and intellectuals as a literal apocalypse, and Kandinsky would later respond by removing all recognizable imagery - especially representations of violent conflict - from his painting.
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Beginnings

The Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKvM)

In January of 1909, Wassily Kandinsky proposed forming a new group of like-minded artists in opposition to traditional exhibition venues, the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Artists' Association), a secession movement that contained several future members of Der Blaue Reiter. The founders included Kandinsky's Russian compatriots Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, as well as the Germans Gabriele Munter, Alexander Kanoldt, and the German-American Adolf Erbsloh. Aside from their desire to "secede" from the mainstream art institution and their dedication to modern art, these artists shared an expressionistic visual style culled partly from the example of Fauvism and partly from turn-of-the-century Symbolism, as exemplified by artists like Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt.

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Der Blaue Reiter Overview Continues

The Two Sides of German Expressionism

The Die Brücke group, operating in Dresden from 1905 to 1911 and in Berlin until 1913, was an early influence for the directness of representation in the work of the NKvM and later, Der Blaue Reiter. The Munich artists, however, pursued rather different goals than their Dresden counterparts. While both groups learned of the importance of bold color from the Fauves, Die Brücke artists used vibrant color to express the heightened emotion of their simplified figures. For Kandinsky and his cohorts those colors needed to go beyond mere emotive persuasion to find resonance in the human soul.

Similarly, while both groups found the Western tradition lacking in inspiration and reached beyond it to "primitive" forms of art, Die Brücke artists would accept a certain level of crude "ugliness" in their art that was typically unwelcome in Der Blaue Reiter's harmonious compositions of color and form. While Der Blaue Reiter was born of the same alienation from the modern world that deeply affected Die Brücke, their answer wasn't to address that feeling through unsettling depictions of traumatic experience, but to attempt to transcend it through abstract artistic means. Die Brücke would, on the other hand, remain averse to total abstraction.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

In 1910 Kandinsky wrote the treatise Concerning the Spiritual in Art, cementing himself as a revolutionary art theorist. An eclectic mix of spiritualism, theosophy, color theory, and art history, Concerning the Spiritual nevertheless managed to make a succinct, impassioned argument for the movement from figurative, naturalistic painting into the realm of abstraction. For Kandinsky, the modern artist had a messianic mission to lead his viewer to spiritual transcendence through his art. The type of art best suited to accomplish this was abstract, or non-objective, art built upon a knowledge of the effect of form and color not only on the eye, but on the soul - a principle he referred to as "inner necessity."

Translated from the original German into French and English and published in 1912, Concerning the Spiritual was widely influential at its time of publication and is still widely considered one of the most groundbreaking theoretical texts in modern art. Kandinsky's suggestion that there were connections between visual components such as form, color, and movement and extra visual elements such as music, emotion, and thought provided the impetus for generations of avant-garde experimentation.

New Members, New Beginnings, and a New Name

The NKvM group mounted three traveling exhibitions during its three-year tenure, through which it accomplished two things. First, it garnered recognition from avant-garde movements outside of Germany, including contributions by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and André Derain, among others. Second, it served as something of an incubator for the increasingly radical theoretical proposals of Kandinsky, who would go on to found Der Blaue Reiter. Indeed, by the third NKvM exhibition of 1911-12, the artists of Der Blaue Reiter mounted a parallel exhibition in the opening gallery, having seceded from their own secessionist movement.

In 1911 the artists of the NKvM rejected Kandinsky's Composition V (1911), which he later subtitled Last Judgment. The lack of understanding this represented for his increasingly abstract work - even among his closest colleagues - led him to separate from the group to form the more radical Der Blaue Reiter. Though it kept several key NKvM figures in its orbit (Jawlensky, Werefkin, Munter), Der Blaue Reiter expanded its sights with the addition of Franz Marc, August Macke, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, and the experimental composer Arnold Schoenberg, as well as the German-American Albert Bloch, the Ukrainian David Burliuk, and the Russian Natalia Goncharova.

The name for the new group - Der Blaue Reiter - derives from a pivotal 1903 painting by Kandinsky. Painted in an early, Symbolist style, the painting nonetheless marked a turning point for the artist, where he began rendering his forms and colors with less distinct boundaries. By 1911, however, the name had achieved a new meaning due to the writings of Kandinsky and Marc: for both artists, the color blue indicated intense spirituality; for Kandinsky, the rider came to represent - among other things - the journey from worldly figuration to heavenly abstraction.

Der Blaue Reiter Almanach

Due to the centrality of Kandinsky and Marc, Der Blaue Reiter achieved a unifying theoretical rigor that made it a more defined movement than the earlier NKvM. In 1912 the group published its defining statement, the Der Blaue Reiter Almanach, edited by Kandinsky and Marc, which contained a number of theoretical essays by the two artists, one each by Schönberg and Macke, and an experimental theatre piece by Kandinsky. The Almanach also contained over 140 reproductions of works of art, most of which were pieces of "primitive" art, folk art, or children's art. This suggests that the artists of Der Blaue Reiter saw the Western figurative tradition as bankrupt and in need of rejuvenation through outside sources.

Concepts and Styles

An International Aesthetic

Though painterly style varied from one artist to another within Der Blaue Reiter, certain similarities are worth noting. The expressionistic art of Der Blaue Reiter was envisioned partly as a coloristic rejoinder to the contemporary monochromatic formal explorations being undertaken by the Cubist avant-garde in Paris. If Picasso and Braque were simplifying their palettes to grays and browns to better focus on issues of form, Der Blaue Reiter artists were heightening their use of color and theorizing its symbolic qualities. Indeed, the members of Der Blaue Reiter were well connected to the experiments of Cubism in France, Futurism in Italy and Russia, and a plethora of other splinter movements in Europe. Yet, while all of these aesthetic components of modern art came together in their canvases, they were always inscribed within the artists' intense study of expressive color.

Primitivism and the "Savages" of Germany

In an essay entitled "The 'Savages' of Germany" published in the Almanach, Marc described his colleagues - including the artists of the NKvM, the Berlin Secession, and Die Brücke - as "savages" fighting against an "old established power" to create "symbols that belong on the altars of a future spiritual religion." This rehabilitation of the notion of the "savage" went hand-in-hand with Der Blaue Reiter's interest in Primitivism in the arts.

Primitivism - a perhaps outdated term with negative connotations in the post-colonial era - was nevertheless a positively viewed concept at the beginning of the twentieth century. This is because, despite the colonial underpinnings that allowed European artists to know of non-Western cultures, its use in the arts constituted a genuine attempt on the behalf of modern artists to break through the intellectual constraints of modern Western society by reaching to a "simpler," potentially "freer" means of expression in less-developed parts of the world. For the artists of Der Blaue Reiter, this meant that their art often evinced a less laborious, more direct rendering of form far from the obsessive pursuit of naturalism and beauty that had previously been considered the highest goal of art.

Color Theory

In Concerning the Spiritual in Art and in essays published in the Almanach, Kandinsky laid out and developed specific extra-visual values for colors that he defined as Eigenschaften (properties). Yellow, for example, was the color of warmth and excitement; it could signify joy, annoyance, or enervation. Blue was the most peaceful and spiritually resonant color - the darker the blue, the deeper the feeling of calm.

Marc also established a theory of color that assigned symbolic values to specific hues, though his did not necessarily correspond to Kandinsky's. For example, in Marc's woodcuts and paintings - predominantly semi-figural paintings of animals in nature - the color yellow stood for feminine joy, while blue represented masculinity and (like Kandinsky) spirituality. Symbolism in color played out to different degrees in the works of many Der Blaue Reiter artists.

Music and Abstraction

For Der Blaue Reiter, music was the perfect analogy for the abstract visual arts. Not only was music capable of evoking deep emotional responses or spiritual resonances, but the timbres of certain instruments might evoke certain images or associations despite the inability for the human eye to "see" music. In addition, the language of sound and music lent a vibrancy and descriptive power to abstract art: painted compositions could be loud and cacophonous or quiet and harmonious; a pigmented form could crescendo across a canvas, or a pairing of hues could create a visual vibrato.

In addition, several of the members of Der Blaue Reiter had direct relationships to music. Besides being an exemplary painter, Schönberg is among the most important experimental composers and theorists of twentieth-century music, and his students included the groundbreaking artist-composer John Cage. A musician from his teenage years, Klee played violin in an orchestra well into his maturity as a painter. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote of Klee, "Even if you didn't tell me he plays the violin, I would have guessed on many occasions that his drawings were transcriptions of music." The contents of the Der Blaue Reiter Almanach demonstrate the group's commitment to musical form: a reproduction of one of Schönberg's songs, two others by his colleagues Alban Berg and Anton Webern, and an essay on "Anarchy in Music" by the Russian composer Thomas Alexandrovich de Hartmann.

For Kandinsky, the synesthetic relationship between color and sound could even be codified. In what he described as Klangfarbe (sound tones), each color had a pitch and volume, so to speak. Yellow, whose Eigenschaft was excitement, was connected to loud, sharp sounds. Blue, the color of peace and spirituality, was richer, and deep blues had a more sustained sound tone. Moreover, Kandinsky suggested that hues of varying saturation corresponded to the timbres of specific instruments, where red was the strong, forceful playing of a trumpet fanfare or a high, clear violin, and green was a gentle violin played at middle position. Fittingly, Kandinsky contributed an experimental theatre piece entitled The Yellow Sound to the Almanach as the first in a four-piece group of "color-tone dramas" he wrote, including The Green Sound, Black and White, and Violet.

Later Developments

The end of Der Blaue Reiter was almost entirely due to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Due to their Russian citizenship, Kandinsky, Jawlensky, and Werefkin were deported, with Kandinsky returning to Russia and Jawlensky and Werefkin immigrating to neutral Switzerland. Macke died in action a mere two months into the war, and Marc died at the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

The group was, however, extremely influential on generations of artists to come. Before their dissolution, the participation of Der Blaue Reiter in the groundbreaking 1912 Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne placed them among many of their artistic predecessors, including Munch, Klimt, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. One year later, when the curators lent a large number of canvases to the Armory Show in New York City, Kandinsky's art was seen for the first time on American soil.

Kazimir Malevich's creation of Suprematism in Russia in the mid-1910s is unthinkable without Der Blaue Reiter's theory of abstraction and spirituality as a model. The subsequent development of geometric abstraction in the Dutch De Stijl movement, best exemplified in the art of Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, owes a debt to both Kandinsky and Malevich.

Indeed, De Stijl and Der Blaue Reiter would come together under the roof of the Bauhaus, which might be seen as a next chapter for Der Blaue Reiter. Though the Bauhaus is predominantly (and accurately) thought of as a school of design, many of its early faculty were Expressionist painters. Among the initial appointees were Feininger and the Swiss Expressionist Johannes Itten, whose spiritual approach to abstraction paralleled Der Blaue Reiter's. Klee joined in 1920 and Kandinsky in 1922, forming a nucleus of painters that carried Der Blaue Reiter's experimental abstraction and color theory into the Bauhaus curriculum - a curriculum still imitated widely in art schools today. In 1924 while Kandinsky, Feininger, and Klee were together in Weimar, the painter and art dealer Emmy Scheyer brought Jawlensky back into their midst to form the exhibition group Der Blaue Vier (the Blue Four), promoting their art as an ensemble for the next decade.

Through the influence of Scheyer's exhibitions, the popularity of Klee and Kandinsky's art, and the immigration of the Bauhaus-taught painter and educator Josef Albers to the United States in 1933, the artists of Der Blaue Reiter also left a strong imprint on the development on Abstract Expressionism - perhaps most notably in the work of Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, and Mark Rothko. Pollock and Gorky's mature gestural styles and Rothko's focus on color combinations and the emotions carried or evoked by certain hues owe directly to the example of Kandinsky's painting.


Useful Resources on Der Blaue Reiter

Books
Websites
Articles
Videos
More
The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.
The Blaue Reiter Almanach

By Klaus Lankheit, Wassily Kandinsky, and Franz Marc

Expressionsim: A Revolution in German Art

By Dietmar Elger

Kandinsky, Complete Writings on Art

By Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo

Art Review: Kandinsky and Schoenberg, Seen and Heard on Canvas

By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
October 24, 2003

Back in the Blue Saddle, for a Gallop to Abstraction

By Karen Rosenberg
The New York Times
October 2, 2013

Different Modernist Trajectories: Schoenberg, Kandinsky, And The Blue Rider at The

Jewish Museum
By Richard McBee
December 26, 2003

In the Mountains: Wassily Kandinsky

By John Haber

in pop culture
Der Blaue Reiter on Last.fm

A Neoclassical band from Barcelona has taken the art movement's title as their name. Members Sathorys Elenorth and Lady Nott have taken inspiration from the modern artist group in their expressive aural, rather than visual, work.

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Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
A member of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, and later a teacher at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky is best known for his pioneering breakthrough into expressive abstraction in 1913. His work prefigures that of the American Abstract Expressionists.
TheArtStory: Wassily Kandinsky
Franz Marc
Franz Marc
Franz Marc
Franz Marc was a German painter and printmaker, and one of the pioneers of German Expressionism. Along with August Macke and Kandinksy, Marc founded The Blue Rider artist group. A student of Futurism and Cubism, Marc was a master of color and depth, and a major influence on mid-twentieth-century abstractionists.
TheArtStory: Franz Marc
Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism was an early twentieth-century art movement founded by Henri Matisse and André Derain. Labeled as "wild beasts", Fauve artists favored vibrant colors and winding gestural strokes across the canvas.
TheArtStory: Fauvism
Cubism
Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque between 1907-1911, and it continued to be highly influential long after its decline. This classic phase has two stages: 'Analytic', in which forms seem to be 'analyzed' and fragmented; and 'Synthetic', in which pre-existing materials such as newspaper and wood veneer are collaged to the surface of the canvas.
TheArtStory: Cubism
Alexej von Jawlensky
Alexej von Jawlensky
Alexej von Jawlensky
Alexej von Jawlensky was a Russian painter who was associated with German Expressionism. Jawlensky was a member of the Expressionist groups Der Blaue Reiter and Die Blaue Vier. Jawlensky's best known paintings contained pronounced color and quasi-abstracted forms.
Alexej von Jawlensky
Symbolism
Symbolism
Symbolism
Symbolism is an artistic and literary movement that first emerged in France in the 1880s. In the visual arts it is often considered part of Post-Impressionism. It is characterized by an emphasis on the mystical, romantic and expressive, and often by the use of symbolic figures.
TheArtStory: Symbolism
Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch
Norweigan painter and printmaker Edvard Munch was a pioneer of the German Expressionist movement. His works such as The Scream explored deeply psychological concepts in a Symbolist style.
TheArtStory: Edvard Munch
Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was the most renowned advocator of Art Nouveau in Vienna, and is remembered as one of the greatest decorative painters of the twentieth century. He also produced one of the century's most significant bodies of erotic art.
TheArtStory: Gustav Klimt
Die Brücke
Die Brücke
Die Brücke
Die Brücke (The Bridge) was a group of German Expressionist artists that banded together in Dresden in 1905. The group, which includes artists such as Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Emil Nolde, had a major impact on the evolution of modern art in the twentieth century and the creation of Expressionism. Die Bruke artists' used bold colors to depicts gritty scene of city life.
TheArtStory: Die Brücke
Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque was a modern French painter who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed analytic Cubism and Cubist collage in the early twentieth century.
TheArtStory: Georges Braque
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Picasso dominated European painting in the first half of the last century, and remains perhaps the century's most important, prolifically inventive, and versatile artist. Alongside Georges Braque, he pioneered Cubism. He also made significant contributions to Surrealist painting and media such as collage, welded sculpture, and ceramics.
TheArtStory: Pablo Picasso
André Derain
André Derain
André Derain
André Derain, the co-founder of Fauvism, was a French artist whose paintings exhibit the writhing energetic lines and bright colors characteristic of the movement. He strove to keep art modern and current throughout his career.
TheArtStory: André Derain
August Macke
August Macke
August Macke
August Macke was a German painter and a leader in the Expressionist group The Blue Rider. A close friend of Franz Marc, Paul Klee and Robert Delaunay, Macke's paintings were more Post-Impressionist and Fauvist in style, but were very expressive in terms of color and mood. Macke was killed on the front lines during World War I, at the age of 27.
August Macke
Paul Klee
Paul Klee
Paul Klee
The Swiss-born painter Paul Klee worked in a variety of styles, including Expressionism, geometric abstraction, and collage. His most famous works have a mystical quality and make use of linear and pictorial symbols.
TheArtStory: Paul Klee
Lyonel Feininger
Lyonel Feininger
Lyonel Feininger
Lyonel Feininger was a German-American painter and caricaturist associated with the Die Brucke and Der Blaue Rider groups. He painted in an original style reminiscent of Cubism and Futurism, but he is most famous for helping Walter Gropius build the Bauhaus school where Feininger taught until the school was closed down by the Nazis.
TheArtStory: Lyonel Feininger
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian-born American composer, painter and music theorist, and is often associated with the German Expressionist movement. Schoenberg was a pioneer in modern composition, developing his "twelve-tone" technique and several innovations in atonality.
Arnold Schoenberg
David Burliuk
David Burliuk
David Burliuk
David Burliuk was a Russian Futurist poet and painter. He was responsible for intensifying the debate on the primary function of fine art, believing deeply in the power of art as a reforming social force.
David Burliuk
Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova was a Russian Cubo-Futurist artist, who initially worked with the Suprematists and Constructivists. She fled Soviet Russia for France, where she promoted the principles of the Russian avant-garde as they were defined by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko.
Natalia Goncharova
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch painter, commonly associated with the Post-Impressionist period. As one of the most prolific and experimental artists of his time, van Gogh was a spontaneous painter and a master of color and perspective. Troubled by personal demons all his life, many historians speculate that van Gogh suffered from a Bipolar disorder.
TheArtStory: Vincent van Gogh
Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin was a French Post-Impressionist artist who employed color fields and painterly strokes in his work. He is best known for his primitivist depictions of native life in Tahiti and Polynesia.
TheArtStory: Paul Gauguin
Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich was a Russian modernist painter and theorist who founded Suprematism. Along with his painting Black Square, his mature works feature simple geometric shapes on blank backgrounds.
TheArtStory: Kazimir Malevich
Suprematism
Suprematism
Suprematism
Suprematism, the invention of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, was one of the earliest and most radical developments in abstract art. Inspired by a desire to experiment with the language of abstract form, and to isolate art's barest essentials, its artists produced austere abstractions that seemed almost mystical. It was an important influence on Constructivism.
TheArtStory: Suprematism
De Stijl
De Stijl
De Stijl
Founded in the Netherlands in 1917, De Stijl was an avant-garde dedicated to isolating a single visual style that would be appropriate to all aspects of modern life, from art to design to architecture. Taking its name from a periodical, its most famous practitioners were Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian, whose mature art employed geometric blocks of primary colors and vertical and horizontal lines.
TheArtStory: De Stijl
Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian, a founding member of the De Stijl movement, was a modern Dutch artist who used grids, perpendicular lines, and the three primary colors in what he deemed Neo-plasticism.
TheArtStory: Piet Mondrian
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist, who together with Piet Mondrian established the De Stijl movement. Van Doesburg's most famous work experimented with geometric abstraction and archetypal forms. He was also a prominent architect and writer.
TheArtStory: Theo van Doesburg
Bauhaus
Bauhaus
Bauhaus
Bauhaus is a style associated with the Bauhaus school, an extremely influential art and design school in Weimar Germany that emphasized functionality and efficiency of design. Its famous faculty - including Joseph Albers and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - generally rejected distinctions between the fine and applied arts, and encouraged major advances in industrial design.
TheArtStory: Bauhaus
Johannes Itten
Johannes Itten
Johannes Itten
Swiss expressionist painter and color theorist Johannes Itten was an influential teacher at the Bauhaus. He wrote influencial books and his biggest legacy is in the students that he influenced.
TheArtStory: Johannes Itten
Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Josef Albers was a German-born American painter and teacher. Celebrated as a geometric abstractionist and influential instructor at Black Mountain College, Albers directly influenced such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Ray Johnson.
TheArtStory: Josef Albers
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
A tendency among New York painters of the late 1940s and '50s, all of whom were committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes. The movement embraced the gestural abstraction of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, and the color field painting of Mark Rothko and others. It blended elements of Surrealism and abstract art in an effort to create a new style fitted to the postwar mood of anxiety and trauma.
TheArtStory: Abstract Expressionism
Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock was the most well-known Abstract Expressionist and the key example of Action Painting. His work ranges from Jungian scenes of primitive rites to the purely abstract "drip paintings" of his later career.
TheArtStory: Jackson Pollock
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter and a major influence on the development of Abstract Expressionism. In his own art he fused elements of Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism, and was close with key figures central to New York's burgeoning abstrct art scene, such as John Graham, Stuart Davis and Willem de Kooning.
TheArtStory: Arshile Gorky
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko was an Abstract Expressionist painter whose early interest in mythic landscapes gave way to mature works featuring large, hovering blocks of color on colored grounds.
TheArtStory: Mark Rothko
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