The museum’s second floor invites visitors to discover the extraordinary riches of the world’s largest collection of works by the artists of the “Blue Rider” circle. Selected major works of post-Expressionist art and the New Objectivity round out the display. Buoyed by their productive collaboration in Murnau and Munich, the artists around Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alexej Jawlensky, and Marianne von Werefkin formally established the “Blue Rider.” The new group’s first exhibition was held at Galerie Thannhauser in Munich in the winter of 1911 and also included works by newcomers to the circle such as August Macke and Heinrich Campendonk. A second show, at Munich’s Galerie Goltz in the spring of 1912, featured art by Paul Klee and Alfred Kubin as well. An ample selection of all these artists’ works is on view in the presentation of the museum’s “Blue Rider” collection.
A tour of the exhibition begins with rooms dedicated to Kandinsky’s and Münter’s early oil studies and continues with the Murnau landscapes of 1908–1910, the “New Munich Artists’ Association” (N.K.V.M.), and Kandinsky’s famous large canvases. A separate gallery devoted to the art of Paul Klee was recently installed on occasion of the conclusion of an amicable settlement with the heirs of the former owner of the painting “Swamp Legend” (1919). The adjoining cabinet is entirely given to the art of Alexej Jawlensky, presenting works from different periods of his oeuvre including the rarely seen paintings “The Humpback” and “Seated Nude.” Other galleries combine examples of Art Nouveau and selections from Kandinsky’s early oeuvre such as “Couple Riding” with works by Gabriele Münter, August Macke, Franz Marc, and Heinrich and Ada Campendonk. August Macke’s lively small-format “Self-Portrait,” acquired by the museum in 2017, makes its public debut. Iconic examples of the mature oeuvres of Franz Marc, including “Blue Horse” and “The Tiger,” and August Macke, including “Milliner’s Shop” and “Turkish Café,” are assembled in another cabinet.
A selection of works from the museum’s post-Expressionism and New Objectivity collections is on view in the large skylit hall. Created by German and international artists between 1918 and the 1940s, these treasures are rarely on public display, and some have not been seen in many years. They exemplify the period’s extraordinarily rich range of visual idioms and thematic concerns.