MoMA
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)

1912
Not on view
Medium
Illustrated book with two woodcuts
Dimensions
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)
Publisher
R. Piper & Co., Munich
Edition
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)
Credit
Acquired through the Helen Acheson Bequest
Object number
20.1981.1-2
Type
Illustrated Book

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).

PUBLISHING HISTORY

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 information
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen D. Paine, Boston.
Frederick Mulder, London; sold to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1981

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource