Murnau’s picturesque location set against the impressive mountain range of the Alps, its unique quality of light, and the colourful village houses of the locals enthralled the artists. Inspired also by the most recent French painting — the works of Henri Matisse and the Fauves — the four friends experienced a boost of creative energy, painting views from the village and its surrounding countryside. Russian-born Werefkin was the most important female member of Der Blaue Reiter group, creating a distinctive style by assimilating the 'surface painting' of Paul Gauguin and Louis Anquetin with the ideals of Der Blaue Reiter, which included a desire to express spiritual truths through their art. In the present work, Werefkin uses a simplified rhythmic composition, primitive drawing and flattened colours to transform the simple motif of peasant women into an expressionistic scene which explores deeper issues. The musical reference in the title refers to Der Blaue Reiter’s belief in the strong connection between visual art and music.
Werefkin began her artistic career as a student of IIya Repin, the leading light of the Russian realist school. Following her meeting with Jawlensky in 1892, she left the country in the company of the painter and travelled to Munich. Here Werefkin subordinated her own work to that of Jawlensky for close to a decade, and only began to produce her own Expressionist works in 1906-07. Energetic, intellectual, and talented, she became involved in the raft of artistic associations springing up in Germany at this time, first joining the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (New Association of Artists in Munich, NKVM), before abandoning this to join together with Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Münter's Der Blaue Reiter in 1912.
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