Der Blaue Reiter
Der Blaue Reiter was an informal association of artists, prompted by Wassily Kandinsky and Franc Marc in 1909, in opposition to the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (New Artists Association in Munich). Like the latter one, Der Blaue Reiter gathered members from German Expressionism movement, but aimed to unveil a deeper level of spirituality in art, prompting the artist to go beyond the visual representation and associate to colours ‘extra-visual properties’ – as described in Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, published in the Almanac in 1910.
The generalist sentiment and anxiety of 1910s was resolved in a form of expression that could bring meaning to colours and detach them from form. In this sense Der Blaue Reiter is considered the counterpart of Die Brücke, the other most relevant group in German Expressionism: where Die Brücke kept art mainly figurative, Der Blaue Reiter simplified form to leave more space to colour symbolism, and often recurring to animal themes (horses in particular) but also to Primitive and non-Western art. The group published also an Almanac, and counted among its members artists like Klee, Münter, Macke and Feininger, but also poets like Rainer Maria Richter and musicians like Schönberg. The group came to an end few years later with the start of WWI and the death of Marc and Macke.