Wolfgang Beltracchi, 2017
Group Portrait of Der Blaue Reiter
Artistic voice: Heinrich Campendonk, 1914, Murnau
Oil on canvas, 190 x 275 cm

»The most important artist group of the early 20th century assembled in Murnau in Bavaria to form “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider) with the purpose of enriching art history with bold ideas. In 1910, Kandinsky marked the beginning of abstract art with his new images. Landscape themes disperse into a rhythmic structure of brightly coloured surfaces. Line and colour increasingly become the sole focus of the picture. His valiant fellow campaigners Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin lend a highly motivated and individual character to the group. Wolfgang Beltracchi unites these artists of history in an imaginary gathering in front of the “Russenhaus” building in Murnau. This expressive kaleidoscope of avant-garde artworks gives the creative dynamic of the individual artists a very direct presence.«

Kristina Piwecki, Lecturer in Art History, Zurich

In front of the Münterhaus building, the key members of Der Blaue Reiter are united in a group portrait. This group of artists had a significant influence on Heinrich Campendonk’s artistic process: they supported him financially, technically and creatively. Shortly before the beginning of the war that was to mean the end of Der Blaue Reiter, this painting portrays the artist community once again as representing a new way of creating and of living. The size of the painting is based on Kandinsky’s “Composition V”. Ignoring the “four square metres rule” caused a scandal in the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Artist’s Association) in 1911 – the birth of Der Blaue Reiter. The group sought new ways of expression; the inner life of the artist began reaching out to the subject and its depiction.