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Glossary: Der Blaue Reiter

English The Blue Rider, organization of artists, formed in December 1911 in Munich, that contributed greatly to the development of abstract art. Its founding members, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, co-edited a volume of essays on aesthetics entitled Der Blaue Reiter, a name that they had derived from a painting by Kandinsky and that, in turn, became the name of the group. Neither a movement nor a school and having no definite program, Der Blaue Reiter was a loosely knit organization of numerous artists who exhibited their works together between 1911 and 1914.

Der Blaue Reiter artists were expressionistically oriented, as was the earlier German organization Die Brücke; but, unlike that of Die Brücke, their expressionism took the form of lyrical abstraction and did not exhibit as many common stylistic characteristics. Wishing to give form to mystical feelings, they wanted to imbue their art with deep spiritual content. Der Blaue Reiter painters were variously influenced by the Jugendstil group, Cubist and Futurist painting styles, and naïve folk art.

The first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter, held December 1911 to January 1912, at the Moderne Galerie Tannhäuser, Munich, included among its participants the following artists: Henri Rousseau, David and Vladimir Burlyuk, Albert Bloch, August Macke, and founders Marc and Kandinsky. Although not officially a member of Der Blaue Reiter, the Russian painter Alexey von Jawlensky supported its aims. The Swiss painter Paul Klee became associated with the group in 1912, when he joined in a graphic-art exhibition held in Munich. Among others included in this show were André Derain, Jean Arp, Georges Braque, Maurice de Vlaminck, Mikhail Larionov, Natalya Goncharova, and Pablo Picasso.

The final exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter took place at the famous Galerie Der Sturm (see Sturm, Der) in Berlin, where they were included in an exhibition called the "First German Autumn Salon," held in 1913; at this time the German-American artist Lyonel Feininger also became affiliated with the group. With the outbreak of World War I, Der Blaue Reiter dispersed.

After the war, in 1924, Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee (all of whom were teaching at the Weimar Bauhaus at the time), and Jawlensky formed a successor group, Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four). Members of the group were united by a desire to exhibit together, which they did between 1925 and 1934, rather than by similarity of style.


"Blaue Reiter, Der" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.