A Positive Influence

Gabriele Münter (German, 1877–1962) The Green House, Murnau, 1911 Oil on canvas 34 3/4 × 39 1/2 in. (88.27 × 100.33 cm) Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.127 Photographer credit: P. Richard Eells © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Discussion-
Throughout his career, Kandinsky experimented with different processes and materials. While in Murnau, Germany, he painted on glass, an interest his friends Gabriele Münter, Marianne Werefkin, and Alexei Jawlensky also shared. Kandinsky, together with Franz Marc, founded the Blue Rider group specifically so that he and like-minded artists could share and exchange ideas around their work. Examine samples of each artist’s work. Ask students if they see any influence or overlap in the artists’ styles.

Activity-
Place your students in small groups of four to six. Provide students with painting medium (i.e., tempera, acrylic, watercolor). Will they all use the same paint, or will they each use a different type of paint? You might consider working on transparency sheets, rather than on glass. Have students paint a set of images or patterns on their sheet that have personal meaning. For example, Kandinsky used images from the Bavarian folk art he saw in the town of Murnau. After two to three minutes, instruct students to pass their work to another member of their group. Continue the rotation, each student adding to their personal patters or images to the picture in front of them, with what and where they best think compliments the picture. Continue the rotation until the students have their individual piece again. How has the work changed? In what ways is the original piece still the same. Consider displaying the work to create a class gallery.

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