Franz Marc. Fantastic Creature (Fabeltier) (plate preceding page 1) from Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). 1912

Franz Marc Fantastic Creature (Fabeltier) (plate preceding page 1) from Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) 1912

  • Not on view

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.
Medium
Woodcut with tempera additions from an illustrated book with two woodcuts
Dimensions
composition: 5 3/4 x 8 11/16" (14.6 x 22.1 cm); page: 7 5/16 x 9 13/16" (18.5 x 25 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
20.1981.2
Illustrated book
Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)
Department
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.