November 10, 2010

a visit to the Gabriele Münter Haus in Murnau + a bit of art historical drama

The painter Gabriele Münter spent the summer months with artist Wassily Kandinsky from 1909-1914 in this historic house in Murnau, where they welcomed other artists, composers, collectors, and intellectuals. I've been wanting to visit for quite a while, as it is only a one hour drive from Munich, and we finally made a spontaneous day trip last weekend.

I took this photo with a lovely view of the town of Murnau from inside the house. 

The rooms are preserved with many of the original furnishings,

and there are several paintings of Münter's intimate domestic scenes hanging in the rooms where they were created.

Notice how the lamp in the living room

becomes an important element in one of Münter's works.

This kitchen cupboard was painted by Kandinsky

as was the fanciful staircase.


The relationship between Münter and Kandinsky ended rather tragically, however. When WWI broke out in 1914, they first fled to Switzerland, and then onto Scandinavia. Kandinsky left for Moscow, and  abruptly broke off all contact with Münter. She found out later it was because had fallen in love and married a Russian woman.

After the war ended, Münter returned to Germany very depressed and unable to paint. Long visits to Berlin and Paris helped revive her spirits, and eventually she returned to Murnau with a new partner, an art historian who supported her career. Münter's and Kandinsky's works were banned under the Nazi dictatorship, and she was forced to hide their artwork during WWII. 

Later in life, Münter was celebrated for her artistic accomplishments. Upon her death, she left a large collection of her own paintings, as well as Kandinsky's and several other well-known artists from Der Blaue Reiter movement to the Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich, where they can now be seen in a permanent collection. 


Have you seen any inspiring art lately? Interesting exhibitions - historical or contemporary?

Hope you are having a good week!



Mary Zeran said...

Wonderful post! I adore the painting on the stairway. It is so wonderful when artists decorate their living spaces.

Emily said...

That is so cool! I've always loved Kandinsky and that one painting that Munter did of one of the rooms looks a lot like Van Gogh's interiors:) Glad you got to visit a piece of history and thank you for sharing a piece of their story here!

Fi said...

Thanks for this post. What a fun and quirky little tour.

Diane said...

What a wonderful place to visit--I loved this post!

Tante B said...

I love the work of Gabriele Münter, thank you for this post! And how lovely autumn weather did you have! This museum in Murnau is one of places that I always have wanted to visit - I still haven´t although I was born and raised near to Munich. Shame, shame.
I have seen many exhibitions lately in Madrid where I live, but the exhibition of Martin Ramírez in the Reina Sofía Museum was one the most impressing. He was an artist with mental desease and startet to draw and paint in the asylum:

ZenCrafter said...

Thank you for the wonderful post!
I love the idea of two artists creating a space together, and one that was so beautifully chronicled by Munter.

renilde said...

It's great that artists houses are kept and can be visited. Some of their creativity and soul stays alive in their rooms and there is the possibility to get a better image of them,I like that. Great post.

Danangib said...

Wonderful post! Great sory and lovely place for a family visit.

Demoiselle Libellule said...

Vor einigen Jahren waren wir dort, es ist wirklich ein ganz besonderes Künstlerhaus und Murnau war wunderschön, denn wir waren auch im Herst da und die Eichenallee war so fantastisch gefärbt!

Liebe Grüße


Holly said...

Great pictures. I really like how the lamp on the table made it into the art!

Carolina Bernardo said...

Completely in love with the details of the stairs*** Beautifull!

retrofemmeobjetdart said...

Thank you for such an interesting and moving post Stephanie... beautiful pics. I was reminded of a picture book I read recently about the Bloomsbury Group.

MagicMarkingsArt said...

what a great post. i so enjoyed seeing kandinsky's work as he used to be one of my younger art students favorite artists. the bedroom scene is absolutely magnificent and a great partner to van gogh's!
thanks for sharing your trip and a little art history.

cheap herve leger said...
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stephanie levy said...

Thank you and so happy that you enjoyed our visit too. I thought the story behind it all quite interesting :)


Annie Crow said...

Thanks for sharing! I love Gabriele's work, and have even been to Murnau, but we weren't able to visit the house on that trip so I'm still waiting to go. Now I have even more reason to!

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