Various Artists, Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc. Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). 1912

Various Artists, Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)


Not on view
Illustrated book with two woodcuts
page (each): 11 x 8 3/8" (28 x 21.2 cm); overall: 11 7/16 x 8 3/4 x 13/16" (29 x 22.2 x 2 cm)
R. Piper & Co., Munich
1260 (including Museum edition of 10 [this ex.]; Deluxe edition of 50; and Regular edition of 1200 [without the two woodcuts]); plus a second edition (1914) of 1100 (without the two woodcuts)
Acquired through the Helen Acheson Bequest
Object number
Illustrated Book
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
There are 2 works in this illustrated book online.
Vasily Kandinsky has 148 works online.
Franz Marc has 19 works online.
Various Artists has 60 works online.
There are 4,050 illustrated books online.

In June 1911, Vasily Kandinsky proposed to Franz Marc that the two men jointly produce an almanac that would serve, in Kandinsky's words, as "the document of our modern art." The idea ultimately spawned this single volume, as well as two exhibitions and a loose association of artists. The title Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) arose accidentally over coffee: as Kandinsky would recall in 1930, "We both loved blue, Marc—horses; I—riders. So the name invented itself."

The varied content of Der Blaue Reiter reflects Kandinsky's desire to break down walls between the visual arts and music, theater, folk art, children's art, and ethnography. In addition to essays by Kandinsky, Marc, August Macke, and other German and Russian artists, Der Blaue Reiter included Kandinsky's stage composition Der gelbe Klang (The Yellow Sound) and musical compositions by Arnold Schönberg and Alban Berg. The costly museum and deluxe editions contained two woodcuts, Kandinsky's Bogenschütze (The archer) and Marc's Fabeltier (Fantastic creatures).


Reinhard Piper was Kandinsky's only choice for publisher, although the relationship between Piper and Der Blaue Reiter's editors was at times volatile. Bernhard Koehler, August Macke's uncle-in-law, assuaged Piper's financial concerns by guaranteeing the production costs. Brisk sales prompted the publication of a second edition of the book in the summer of 1914, but World War I ended work on the digest's next volume.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen D. Paine, Boston.
Frederick Mulder, London; sold to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1981

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