Gabriele Münter

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

“Monogrammed in the bottom left:


Gift from the artist to Thyra Wallin, Stockholm (1920), acquired directly from the previous owner there; Bukowskis Stockholm, November 3/4, 1993,

Modern Auction 489, lot 235; Christie’s New York, Impressionists & Modern Paintings, May 11, 1994, lot 193 (mistakenly dated as 1920 here);

Private collection in Northern Germany


Peter Lahnstein, Münter, Ettal 1971, p. 30, fig. p. 33;

Erich Pfeiffer-Belli, Gabriele Münter. Drawings and Watercolors, Berlin 1979, nos. 32-34,

p. 82-87, with illustrations.

After the great international success of the Munich artist association Blauer Reiter,

its members were scattered in all directions at the beginning of World War I;

Kandinsky initially returned to Russia, and Gabriele Münter traveled with the

support of the wife of Berlin’s Sturm Gallery owner Herwarth Walden, Nell, via

Denmark to Sweden. In Stockholm, Kandinsky and she wanted to meet on neutral

ground. Kandinsky came to Stockholm at the turn of the year 1915/1916, where

Gabriele Münter had organized an exhibition of his works in February and her works in March

at the Gummeson Gallery. In the same month, he finally moved to Russia and

married Nina Andreewsky the following year.

After initial economic difficulties – trade restrictions, rationing, and food scarcity

due to poor harvests were also prevalent in Sweden in 1916 – Gabriele Münter quickly fulfilled

portrait commissions and achieved success with various exhibitions of her works; she also became socially involved.

In 1915, Gabriele Münter and Thyra Wallin met for the first time, and the artist

stayed with the family on “Observatoriegatan” for a while. That Christmas

Thyra gave the artist Victor Rydberg’s “Singoalla,” a classic of Swedish

romantic literature, possibly to enhance her language skills. The painting “Music,” created in 1916, depicts the

Wallin family making music in their living room.

This interior scene provides a glimpse into a private, familial atmosphere and suggests

a sense of belonging almost as strong as Münter’s images from her time in Munich with Kandinsky,

depicting their shared living and creative environment. The Wallin family members were close friends of

Gabriele Münter in Sweden; further ink-brush drawings of Thyra were created around 1917 (see Pfeiffer-Belli,

op.cit., nos. 32-34). In a letter from 1918, Thyra Wallin referred to herself as Gabriele Münter’s “representative

in Stockholm” (letter dated January 18, 1918, Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation, cited from

exhibition catalog Munich/Frankfurt/Stockholm 1992/193, p. 150). In the painting “Music,” presumably seated

on the left, only the shape of the head and the hairstyle of the red hair offer hints about Thyra’s appearance.

In this portrait, the focus is on physiognomic peculiarities, evoking a childlike and girlish expression. However,

the texture of the flatly applied paint and the reduction to a few shades, the perceived simplicity, are not only

typical of Münter’s approach but also lend the portrayal, beyond its individual character, the significance of a

universally valid feminine portrait.”