Draft for the Cover of the Almanac Der Blaue Reiter
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This is a design for the first Almanac of the Blaue Reiter group. The group, which ran from 1911 to 1914, marked a key moment in the development of Expressionism in Europe, rejecting the use of naturalistic colour and abstracting realistic forms. In the design we can see Kandinsky’s interest in the abstracted forms which would become a key feature in his later career when he rejected natural forms entirely in favour of geometric design. Our focal point is a central white horse and its rider, who appears to be holding a billowing blue fabric above his head. This flowing fabric perhaps represents new liberties for art under the Blaue Reiter. The image of the rider on horseback was seen frequently in Kandinsky’s work of this time, symbolising the artist’s battle against traditional artforms and methods. Behind and surrounding these central figures are various thinly-applied circular coloured washes, overlined with a thicker black line outlining various patterns and shapes. This design has a clear practical purpose (as a publication cover) which is seen in the thick orange border surrounding the design.