Explore the groundbreaking work of a circle of friends and close collaborators known as The Blue Rider. In the early 20th century they came together to form, in their own words, ‘a union of various countries to serve one purpose’ – to transform modern art.

The artists rallied around Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter to experiment with colour, sound and light, creating bold and vibrant art.

Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation Deluge, 1913. Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

Expressionists is a story of friendships told through art. It examines the highly individual creatives that made up The Blue Rider, from Franz Marc’s interest in colour to Alexander Sacharoff’s freestyle performance. United by the values outlined in their publication The Blue Rider Almanac, they brought together broad and interconnected experiences, relationships and art practices. In this exhibition we spotlight 17 figures – artists, musicians and performers. We meet women artists who defied social conventions as well as those engaging in environmental issues and searching for new forms of spirituality. We also witness how performance enabled some to question seemingly fixed notions of identity and explore cross-cultural connections forged through photography.

The early 1900s was a turbulent age, and the Blue Rider artists experienced wars, revolutions and the dominance of extreme ideologies. Some artists lost their lives, while others were left bereft, stateless, displaced and persecuted. But for a brief moment before the outbreak of the First World War, their experimentation and belief in the transformative power of creativity played a decisive role in the making of European modern art.

Gabriele Münter, Portrait of Marianne von Werefkin, 1909. Lenbachhaus Munich, Donation of Gabriele Münter, 1957 © DACS 2024

The women artists played a central role in the movement. Discover experimental photographs by Gabriele Münter alongside the dramatic paintings of Marianne Werefkin.

Experience a collection of masterpieces from paintings, sculpture, and photography to performance and sound. This landmark exhibition is possible due to a collaboration with Lenbachhaus, Munich, who have offered Tate unprecedented access to their collection. It features over 130 works – brought together in the UK for the first time in over 60 years.

The exhibition is on until 20 October 2024.

Header:  Franz Marc, ‘Cows, Red, Green, Yellow’, 1911. Lenbachhaus Munich

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