Gabriele Münter

Date/place of birth

February 19, 1877, Berlin

Day/place of death

May 19, 1962, Murnau/Upper Bavaria

Gabriele Münter - Häuser am Wald
Gabriele Münter - Häuser am Wald

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Gabriele Münter biography

Gabriele Münter was born in Berlin on 19 February 1877, the youngest of four children of the dentist Carl Münter and his wife Wilhelmine; just one year after her birth, the family moved to Koblenz via Herford in Westphalia. The early death of her father in 1886 meant that Gabriele grew up in relative freedom, but also without education, which the artist later attributed to her difficulties in interacting with other people.

Her great creative gift was already noticeable while she was at school so that in 1897, she attended the Art School for Women in Düsseldorf, where the director was Willy Spat, bt mother’s death caused the premature end to her training as the aspiring painter chose to use the inherited financial independence for a two-year trip through the USA. In1901, Gabrielle settled in Munich and continued her studies with Maximilian Dasio, Angelo Jank, Wilhelm Hüsgen and Waldemar Hecker. She met her teacher and later partner, Wassily Kandinsky, in the Phalanx artist’s group; the relationship with the married Kandinsky, eleven years her elder, continued until 1914.

Gabriele Munter – New Artists’s Association of Munich and the Blaue Reiter

Gabriele Münter undertook many further trips with her secret lover Wassily Kandinsky, including to France, Italy, Tunisia and the Netherlands. Despite various influences, not least modern French painting during a stay in Paris, she remained faithful to her Post-Impressionist style. Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej Jawlensky invited Münter and Kandinsky to the Staffelsee, where a fruitful collaboration between the two artist couples emerged. During this time, under the influence of her progressive painting colleagues, Gabriele Münter developed into the most significant female representative of German Expressionism alongside Paula Modersohn-Becker. When Werefkin and Jawlensky founded the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (New Artist’s Association of Munich) together with Oscar Wittenstein and Adolf Erbslöh, Kandinsky became their first chairman in 1909. However, tensions arising from differing artistic views led to Kandinsky leaving the NKVM with Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter to ground the Blaue Reiter.

Separation from Kandinsky; occupation ban in Nazi Germany

The First World War brought with it the separation of Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky, and Münter fell into depression which intermittently prevented her from painting. It was only in Berlin that she produced tentative outline-like portraits of women with which the artist gradually approached working again. With the art historian and philosopher Johannes Eichner, a new man entered Münter’s life in 1927. The pair moved to Murnau where she created numerous flower still lifes as well as a few abstract studies. The National Socialists viewed Münter’s art as ‘degenerate’, and she was ban from working. She largely withdrew from her career, but was able to build on her earlier successes immediately after the Second World War with a retrospective exhibition of the Blaue Reiter. She took part in the first Documenta in Kassel in 1955, and on the occasion of her 80th birthday, bequeathed her collection of over 100 paintings to the Municipal Gallery in Lenbachhaus, which also included over 80 works by her former lover Kandinsky that were thought to have been lost.

Gabriele Münter died on 19 May 1962 in Murnau am Staffelsee. 

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Gabriele Münter Prices

Gabriele MünterHäuser am Wald€315.000
Gabriele MünterVase mit zwei Madönnchen€141.600
Gabriele MünterLandstraße mit gelbem Haus (Country Road with Yellow House)€127.050
Gabriele MünterJavanerkind (Javanerin)€113.400
Gabriele MünterRosa Stilleben€100.856
Gabriele MünterBlumen in braunem Topf€99.200

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