Blaue Reiter, der

Blaue Reiter, der

(dĕr blou`ə rī`tər) [Ger.,=the blue rider], German expressionist art movement, lasting from 1911 to 1914. It took its name from a painting by Kandinsky, Le cavalier bleu. Following the BrückeBrücke, Die
[Ger.,=the bridge], German expressionist art movement, lasting from 1905 to 1913. Influenced by the art of Jugendstil (the German equivalent of art nouveau), Van Gogh, and the primitive sculpture of Africa and the South Seas, the Brücke
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 artists of the previous decade, this second wave of expressionismexpressionism,
term used to describe works of art and literature in which the representation of reality is distorted to communicate an inner vision. The expressionist transforms nature rather than imitates it.
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 was led by KandinskyKandinsky, Wassily or Vasily
, 1866–1944, Russian abstract painter and theorist. Usually regarded as the originator of abstract art, Kandinsky abandoned a legal career for painting at 30 when he moved to Munich.
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, KleeKlee, Paul
, 1879–1940, Swiss painter, graphic artist, and art theorist, b. near Bern. Klee's enormous production (more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, and etchings) is unique in that it represents the successful combination of his sophisticated theories of art with a
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, MarcMarc, Franz
, 1880–1916, German painter. Influenced by August Macke, he developed a rich, chromatic symbolism. He depicted a mystical world of animals, especially horses, employing devices of distortion to express the animals' own awareness of their lives.
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, and MackeMacke, August
, 1887–1914, German painter. Trained in Germany, he made several trips to Paris, where he came in contact with impressionism and the fauvist and cubist painters.
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, in Munich. Through the use of distorted forms and startling color, they sought to discover spiritual truths that they felt the impressionists had overlooked. Less united stylistically and as a group than the Brücke, their art ranged from the sometime pure abstractions of Kandinsky to the romantic imagery of Marc. In 1911, Kandinsky and Marc prepared a significant collection of articles and illustrations published as the "Blaue Reiter" Album. Common to the artists in the group was a philosophical spirit, an intellectual approach to technique, and great lyrical spontaneity. The group disbanded at the outbreak of World War I. Marc and Macke were killed in battle.


See study by H. K. Roethel (tr. 1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Blaue Reiter, Der


(The Blue Rider), an association of artists that existed in Munich from 1911 to 1914. Its work was close to expressionism. The founders of Der Blaue Reiter were W. Kandinsky and F. Marc, both of whom had previously belonged to the Neue Künstlervereinigung. The group’s members and exhibitors included A. Macke, G. Münter, H. Campendonck, and L. Feininger (German); A. G. Iavlenskii, M. V. Verevkina, and the brothers D. D. Burliuk and V. D. Burliuk (Russian); P. Klee (Swiss); R. Delaunay (French); and A. Kubin (Austrian). The German avant-garde composer A. Schönberg was associated with Der Blaue Reiter.

Some members of Der Blaue Reiter, for example, Kandinsky and Marc, very soon turned to abstract art. Many others, however, preserved to some extent a representational basis, emphasizing mystically interpreted pictorial elements. In the 1920’s some of the members of Der Blaue Reiter, including Kandinsky, Klee, and Feininger, became major figures in the Bauhaus school.


Tikhomirov, A. “Ekspressionizm (Khudozhniki ob” edineniia ‘Sinii vsadnik’).” Modernizm, 1973. Pages 23–30.
Buchheim, L. G. Der Blaue Reiter und die “Neue Künstlervereinigung München.’ Feldafing, 1959.
Der Blaue Reiter. Edited by W. Kandinsky and F. Marc; new edition edited by K. Lankheit. Munich, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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