Der Blaue Reiter (1911-14)

Expressionism & Spiritualism

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was not so much a movement as a dream, cooked up by Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke and Alexej von Jawlensky in Munich in 1911. It brought together figuration and abstraction, expressionism and spiritualism, and a desire for the synthesis of all the arts – painting, music, theatre, high art and folk art. Kandinsky wrote of a conversation with Marc: “We both loved blue. Marc loved horses, I loved riders. So the name came by itself.” The Blue Rider was over almost as soon as it began, an idea that ended with the outbreak of the first world war, in which both Marc and Macke lost their lives.

Kandinsky’s interest in the occult, and Theosophy in particular, was most evident during the years 1905–1912. Along with many other artists and thinkers of the time, Kandinsky believed that by the beginning of the twentieth century, western civilization had reached a crisis and was sinking under a crushing materialism. It was the artist’s task to lead society out of this impasse and to open new avenues of meaning and significance.

In the theosophical view, we possess four different kinds of bodies. There is the physical body we all know, but we also possess an astral body, a mental body, and a buddhic body. The astral body reflects our emotions and desires; the mental body is concerned with our thoughts; and the buddhic body with our spirituality.

Like many artists of the time, Kandinsky saw in music the non-material art par excellence, and he wanted to achieve in painting what he felt composers had already accomplished: liberation from the material world. In this need to map out the cartography of the inner realms, Kandinsky found a parallel in Theosophy. He began a series of paintings he called Compositions. Drawing on elements from Russian Symbolism and German Expressionism Kandinsky  let go of all representation and began to work in abstraction.

The Blue Rider_1903 (Kandinsky)

Head of a Woman_1911 (Jawlensky)

Promenade_1913 (August Macke)

Blue Horse I_1911 (Franz Marc)

Lyrics_1911 (Kandinsky)

Black Sport_1912 (Kandinsky)

Composition VII_1913 (Kandinsky)

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11 respuestas a Der Blaue Reiter (1911-14)

  1. Knight Rider dijo:

    Yesterday I had to hit the brakes because a fox crossed the road. I asked myself why this fox crossed the road. Probably to get to the chickens on the other side. I felt kind of blue. Good no car rear-ended me after I try not to hit some reckless fox. After all in this world we only have one body to keep us in a place we love to hate or hate to love. Prisoners on a one way trip to the Siberia of the Universe. University of Siberia… what job waits for us after graduation? Secretary of Putit in?. Clipping his smelly nose hairs. What body we we will have? Or is there nothing? The great big nothing we experience when loved ones have to go or like it better to share their life with themselves.

    Now why does the chicken cross the road? Sure there is heaven somewhere, why else hang in here like some damn bull after one to many fights. Am sure the bull knows he will win. In the end….

    • feseto dijo:

      Thank you for your comment. I know what you mean.
      Very funny cartoons!

      • Knight Rider dijo:

        The true beauty is that it all was so simple. A perfect friendship. One loves riders, the other horses and both love blue. In love and friendship that is a true movement, the simplicity of coming together, making life art. Unfortunately it was cut short by war.
        But the true connection will always live on. Some of us gather strength from that. In a world were friendship is place to fullfill ones own needs and the friend has to mirror the dreams and needs of the other before he or she will be giving back to the friendship.

  2. hectornic dijo:

    No coneixia aquesta etapa de Kandisky.

    Gràcies per la il·luminació!.

    Salut!

  3. regi60 dijo:

    What you wrote makes me think of the Blue Unicorn. Silvio Rodriguez still is looking for the animal. The Blue Unicorn, as Lluis Llach’s Ithaca, is an Utopia that indicates the way. It’s not possible to reach the finish, but the important thing is the path. We need unicorns and fantastic islands to live.

    • feseto dijo:

      Utopia is a very helpful and practical concept. The way is the goal.

      • Knight Rider dijo:

        The way is never perfect, or nearly. A friend is, one who will open heart and home. One day we should all meet in Fisterra. Beautiful goal.

      • feseto dijo:

        A magical place! A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.

      • Knight Rider dijo:

        If just all of us were able to be oneself in friendship. It can be the one way street, one asking for truth, the other doing the dare. Secrets hidden underneath the paint of my beloved painting. Friendship and love require daily commitment, no running away, no hiding. Like going to the museum every day to see the same work of art. Consider that the road to boring? Maybe. Also consider all the little details you learn, about the work of art and about the unknown places inside your soul and mind. The road to Fisterra is a wonderful symbol.

        Thank you for the post. Have a nice day.

  4. Carmen dijo:

    I love Kandinsky´s art, so mystical! And Expressionism in german movies, like The Blue Angel! Great choice of art in this post!

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