a tragic love story

18 08 2020

WASSILY KANDINSKY, 1866 – 1944, lived in MURNAU, a village near MUNICH in southern germany in front of the alps, from 1909 until 1914, together with GABRIELE MUENTER, 1877 – 1962. gabriele muenter had bought a house overlooking murnau in 1909, and the two of them stayed there frequently, using the countryside and murnau itself as an important source of inspiration for their paintings. kandinsky developed during these years his abstract painting style. the people in the village called the house the ‘RUSSENHAUS’ – THE HOUSE OF THE RUSSIAN.
the house should play an important role in the formation of a new group of artists, DER BLAUE REITER – THE BLUE RIDER. their members – FRANZ MARC, living in a village nearby, ALEXEJ VON JAWLENSKY, MARIANNE VON WEREFKIN, AUGUST MACKE and the composer ARNOLD SCHOENBERG, who often visited from MUNICH, were the new avant garde, the counterpart of the french FAUVISTS led by ANDRE DERRAIN and HENRY MATISSE in paris.
because of the start of the first worldwar in 1914 muenter and kandinsky first went to switzerland, kandinsky returned later in 1914 to his home and wife in moscow, gabriele muenter stayed in sweden until 1920 and lived in the murnau house from 1931 until her death in 1962. she never met kandinsky again.
a very tragic love story. but – because of the artistic exchange of the two of them in a beautiful place on earth, some of the most stunning paintings were created, masterpieces of GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM.

© wassily kandinsky

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expressionism in film

3 09 2013

EXPRESSIONISM comes from latin – EXPRESSIO, the ‘expression’. before WWI it was a development in style that was mainly aimed against naturalism and impressionism. expressionism became the ART of ENHANCED EXPRESSION.

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the characteristics of expressionism in film were painted- instead of built-sets, as well as distorted perspectives and high contrast in lights and darks. inspired by paintings and some theatre experiments like MAX REINHARDT at the deutsches theater in berlin, a few directors tried to come up with similar solutions for film after WWI. grotesque phantastic worlds were shown as a mirror of psychic nightmares. budgets in german and austrian films were not comparable to hollywood, and alone for that reason, the producers tried to compensate the missing technology and expensive set-designs in different ways. the art in those days was willing to experiment everywhere, what was leading in film as well to radikal new solutions.

2Original sketch for a scene in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari from Lotte Eisner
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famous examples are robert wiene’s DAS KABINETT DES DR.CALIGARI 1919, friedrich wilhelm murnau’s NOSFERATU 1921, paul wegener’s DER GOLEM 1920, karl grune’s DIE STRASSE 1923, fritz lang’s DR.MABUSE DER SPIELER 1922, and georg wilhelm pabst’s DIE FREUDLOSE GASSE 1925. the expressionist silent film featured very prominent actors, like GRETA GARBO, CONRADT VEIDT, POLA NEGRI, FRITZ KORTNER, ASTA NIELSEN and WERNER KRAUSS and became a major style influence in international film in its time.
later especially two film genres were influenced by german expressionistic film – HORROR FILM and FILM NOIR.

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