The broader movement of expressionism owes much to the progress made by the German artists involved here, along with a collection of Russian emmigrants.
Franz Marc was a highly significant contributor to this movement, but just one of many famous names that we remain aware of today. Their work has been studied and enjoyed for generations since the original artworks came about in the years leading up to WWI.
The most prominent members of this group included Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc, August Macke and Gabriele Münter.
Munich, Germany was their base and they collectively rejected the principle of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, an earlier local group set up by Kandinsky.
The artists felt it time to move onwards with more modern ideas and leave behind their previous styles. They were also collectively frustrated to receive repeated rejections of their work by exhibition hosts.
Alongside the prominent members, there was also Lyonel Feininger and Albert Bloch too. Paul Klee also played a role in the periphery.
Der Blaue Reiter was chosen due to the passion of Kandinsky and Marc for both horses and also tones of blue. It was, indeed, the title of an earlier work of Wassily from 1903.
The period of this group was filled with national exhibitions around German cities, trying to biuld a new following for their spiritual, symbolic art styles. Members within the group were varied in their techniques, but relatively adjoined over their use of expressive approaches.
They would also attempt to bring music together with art, visually representing sound in abstract form. Their promotion of modern art was not to disrespect what had gone before, merely to encourage others to find interest in their developing direction.
The outbreak of WWI saw to the end of this group of innovative artists, though there were already cracks appearing in the creative forces of the group over its direction.
Kandinsky, Feininger, Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky went on to form the Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four) group several years later. They would help support each other financially and emotionally whilst displaying work across the United States.
One of the finest collections of original Der Blaue Reiter paintings can be found at the Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus, Munich.