Lower Main Street, Murnau

Lower Main Street, Murnau
Gabriele Münter (German, 1877-1962)
Oil on textured cardboard 
16-1/4 x 13-3/8 in. (41.3 x 34.0 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. David Gensburg 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
On View

A founding member of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, the Berlin-born Gabriele Münter made a great leap forward when she moved to the rural village of Murnau with Vassily Kandinsky in 1908. It was in this southern Bavarian town, whose main street is pictured here with Münter’s characteristically vibrant color and reductive forms, where the birth of German Expressionism took place. Several long visits by Alexei Jawlensky, among others, inspired the painter to move beyond copying nature to “take a great leap forward,” as she termed it, “to abstraction, feeling the content, the essence of things.” The striking jewel tones and black outlined forms of her painting recall a kind of folk art painting that both she and Kandinsky experimented with while in Murnau, a method in which painting was done on the underside of a sheet of glass. Münter’s unique use of illustrative color along with the meaningful connection to primitive German culture situated her work at the heart of the German Expressionist movement.


The artist, given as part of bequest in 1957 to;
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Städtische Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung).
Private Collection, Northamptonshire, England, by 1960 (sale, Bern, Kornfeld und Klipstein, 11 June 1969, lot 951, for Sf 34,000, to);
O. P. Reed.
David Gensburg, Beverly Hills, California, gift December 1970 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, 1970-1975;
Norton Simon Museum.

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