Der Blaue Reiter was formed in 1911 in Munich as a loose association of painters led by Vasily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. They shared an interest in abstracted forms and prismatic colors, which, they felt, had spiritual values that could counteract the corruption and materialism of their age. The flattened perspective and reductive forms of woodcut helped put the artists, especially Kandinsky, on the path toward abstraction in their painting.
The name Blaue Reiter (“blue rider”) refers to a key motif in Kandinsky’s work: the horse and rider, which was for him a symbol for moving beyond realistic representation. The horse was also a prominent subject in Marc’s work, which centered on animals as symbols of rebirth.