The Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group of artists was formed in Munich in 1911 on the initiative of two leading artists of Modernism: Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneer of purely abstract painting, and Franz Marc, the creator of mysterious, abstracted animal pictures. The Russian and the German, together with many other visionary painters in their train, hoped to pursue a new spirit in art. They wanted nothing less than an apotheosis of the spiritual in art. The outbreak of the Great War seemed to put a brutal end to what was at the time the most important avant-garde movement in Germany, but its influence continued unabated and inspired whole generations of international artists to create similar utopias.
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