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German ExpressionismDer Blaue Reiter and its Legacies$
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Dorothy Price

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526121622

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526121639

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Feeling blue: Der Blaue Reiter, Francophilia and the Tate Gallery, 1960

Feeling blue: Der Blaue Reiter, Francophilia and the Tate Gallery, 1960

(p.136) 7 Feeling blue: Der Blaue Reiter, Francophilia and the Tate Gallery, 1960
German Expressionism

Nathan J. Timpano

Manchester University Press

In August 1960, the Arts Council of Great Britain, in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festival and the Tate Gallery, launched a major retrospective exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter artists, the first show of its kind in the UK to collectively introduce the group to the British public. According to the contemporary press, however, the exhibition was a failure when it moved to the Tate in late September. Critics and art historians alike derided the show for being too intellectually-minded, arguing that it spoke only to the erudite few who were already familiar with the Munich-based movement. Building upon the critical literature at mid-century, this chapter proposes a re-evaluation of the 1960 Tate exhibition and its curatorial agenda. Instead of suggesting that the show was inherently flawed because of its programme, it argues that the aesthetically non-unified style of Der Blaue Reiter was, in part, responsible for the show’s non-laudatory praise. As such, this chapter advances a rethinking of Der Blaue Reiter as a cosmopolitan movement that vacillates between historical and artistic significance, and considers how a bias for French modernism may have affected the manner in which the Tate exhibition was received in post-war Great Britain.

Keywords:   Tate Gallery, post-war art criticism, Francophilia, curatorial studies, historiography, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, August Macke

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