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Centre Pompidou in Paris acquires German expressionist painter Gabriele Münter's "Drachenkampf"
Gabriele Münter: Drachenkampf, 1913. Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Pompidou.

PARIS.- The Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris has acquired Gabriele Münter’s “Drachenkampf” (1913). It is the first major painting by Münter to be purchased by a museum in France and has been on view as part of the Centre Pompidou’s permanent presentation of art from its collections since May 2015.

Interest in the oeuvre of Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) is steadily growing in Germany as well as abroad, and we are especially pleased to report that the Centre Pompidou in Paris has decided to purchase Gabriele Münter’s “Drachenkampf” (“Combat with the Dragon,” 1913). It is the artist’s first work to enter the collections of a French museum.

At the suggestion of the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation, the painting was offered to the acquisitions committee of the Centre Pompidou, which voted to acquire it. The purchase was made possible by generous support from the Société Kandinsky.

“Der Drachenkampf” is among the finest pictures Gabriele Münter created in 1913 and ideally compliments the Centre Pompidou’s collection of works by the “Blue Rider” artists. The painter took inspiration from a wood sculpture art from Wassily Kandinsky’s collection of Russian folk that, years later, decorated his studio at the Bauhaus. It also appears in the almanac “Der Blaue Reiter” edited by Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Saint George slaying the dragon is a recurrent motif in the works of the “Blue Rider” artists, who interpreted it as a symbol of the avant-garde artist’s struggle against a hostile environment as well as the clash between spirituality and materiality. The painting thus exemplifies crucial principles of the “Blue Rider.” Gabriele Münter created a very personal version of the encounter in which the dynamic figural ensemble of rider and dragon stands out against a luminously colorful and almost abstract backdrop.

We at the Lenbachhaus and the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation have always believed that Münter’s work deserves to be presented among the creations of the preeminent painters of European modernism, and so we are delighted that, more than half a century after the artist’s death, a long-cherished wish has come true. It is a special moment in the history of both institutions, which work to raise international awareness of Gabriele Münter’s art.

As part of its decades-long efforts to promote Münter’s oeuvre, the foundation is currently compiling a catalogue raisonné of her paintings. Meanwhile, the Lenbachhaus, in close collaboration with the foundation, is preparing the first major exhibition of Münter’s art in twenty-five years. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2017—in time for Münter’s 140th birthday and the sixtieth anniversary of her extraordinarily generous donation of her collection of essential works by the “Blue Rider” artists to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 1957—the exhibition will propose a thoroughly revised assessment of Münter’s work.

We would like to thank everyone who helped make the Centre Pompidou’s acquisition of “Drachenkampf” possible. We are grateful, first and foremost, to the members of the Société Kandinsky: Édouard Balladur, Richard Armstrong, Vivian E. Barnett, Bernard Blistène, Christian Derouet, Fabrice Hergott, Alain Seban, Peter Vergo, and Armin Zweite. We would also like to thank Helmut Friedel, the former director of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, and Christian Briend, chief curator of prints and drawings at the Centre Pompidou, for their efforts. Special gratitude is due to Christian Derouet, the former treasurer of the Société Kandinsky, for his unwavering dedication, and to Bernard Blistène, director, and Alain Seban, former president, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou. ---Matthias Mühling, director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and chairman, Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation; Isabelle Jansen, director, Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation

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