Born. 19.02.1877 in Berlin
Died. 19.05.1962 in Murnau am Staffelsee
German Painter, Expressionist
About the artist
Gabriele Münter was born on 19 February 1877 in Berlin. She loved to sketch and draw as a child and was supported by her family and schooled by a private tutor. Sadly, her father died, when she was only 9 years old. When she was 20 years old, she received artistic training at Ernst Bosch’s studio and later at the Damenschule (Women’s School) with the artist Willy Spatz.
When she turned 21, both of her parents had died and she was living at home with no income. Fortunately, both she and her sister had inherited a large amount of money, allowing them to continue their independent lifestyle. The sisters decided to take a trip to America to visit their relations in 1898, staying in Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. They spent their time taking part in many art and craft courses and returned two years later.
Münter returned to Munich In 1901, most official academies did not accept women so Münter had to study elsewhere. She enrolled in Maximilian Dasio‘s beginners’ classes at the Damenakademie (Women’s Academy) of the Münchener Künstlerinnenverein (Munich Women Artists’s Association), and continued her studies at the Wassily Kandinsky’s Phalanx School in Munich. Münter and Kandinsky became close friends and eventually formed a personal relationship that would last for over a decade.
Münter bought a house in Kottmüllerallee outside of Murnau in August 1909. Münter and Kandinsky lived and worked there in the summer months until 1914, when they were not in Munich or travelling. It was a place where collectors, critics, and their painter friends would often come to visit.
Münter and Kandinsky moved to Switzerland to escape the First World War. Kandinsky later chose to go to Russia alone at the end of 1914 where he met Nina Andreevskaya and the pair got married in 1917. Münter returned paintings and drawings to Kandinsky and stopped painting. In 1920, she moved back to Germany with Johannes Eichner and started painting again.
The 1930s was a difficult time for all artists in Germany. Many artists were banned from painting and some artwork was seen as degenerate art. Münter hid a lot of her and other artists’ paintings at her house, packing them away carefully. During the Second World War, her house was searched several times but the paintings remained well hidden.
In 1957, Münter gave her entire collection, 80 oil paintings and 330 drawings, to the Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus in Munich. She continued to live in Murnau and died at home on 19 May 1962.
Münter’s house is now owned by the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation. It is a museum that still has works and decorations from Münter’s life.