Title: The Blue Gable
Artist: Gabriele Munter
Medium: Oil Painting on Canvas
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Gabriele Münter (19 February 1877 – 19 May 1962) was a German expressionist painter who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. Artists and writers associated with German Expressionism shared a rebellious attitude (influenced by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche) toward the materialism and mores of German imperial and bourgeois society. German Expressionistic art was an exegetic (and at times agonizing) reaction against the ambiguities and formalism of pre-World War I society. Its radical art and avant-garde mentality sought to end the alienation of painting from society.
Münter was born to upper middle class parents in Berlin. Regardless of the times, her family supported her desires to become an artist. She began to draw as a child. As she was growing up, she had a private tutor, and took classes at the Woman’s Artist School, since she was not allowed to enroll in the German Academies because of her gender. She didn’t feel challenged by her current school, so she decided to take her studies elsewhere. Both of her parents had died by the time she was twenty-one, and she was living at home with no occupation. In 1898, she decided to take a trip to America with her sister to visit extended family. They stayed in America for over two years, mainly in the states of Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. Both girls had inherited a large amount of money, allowing them to live freely and independently. Her childhood and early adulthood greatly impacted her future artistic career. She had a free and unrestricted life that was unconstrained by convention. Living in America and Europe had given Münter social exposure that many women did not have at the time. She began taking classes at the Munich’s progressive new Phalanx School, where she studied woodcut techniques, sculpture, painting, and printmaking. Soon after she began taking classes, Münter became attached to the Phalanx School’s director, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky was the first teacher that had actually taken Münter’s painting abilities seriously. In the summer of 1902, Kandinsky invited Münter to join him at his summer painting classes just south of Munich in the Alps. She accepted, and their relationship became more personal than professional.
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