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Entries in The Blue Rider (1)


Heinrich Campendonk: Folk Infused Imagery

Heinrich Campendonk - Mystical Crucifixion - 1926-28 - Oil on glass - 17 1/2 x 15" (44.5 x 38.1 cm) - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (click photo for larger image)Heinrich Campendonk (1889-1957) is best known as a German Expressionist painter. However he was also an accomplished designer, stained glass artist, and printmaker.

Campendonk was invited by artists Franz Marc (1880-1916) and Wassily Kandinsky to become a member of the Munich artist’s group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in 1911. Later that year he took part in the first Blaue Reiter exhibition, and his paintings were illustrated in the Blaue Reiter almanac. His first prints were published in Herwarth Walden’s magazine Der Sturm in 1912. Campendonk was an admirer of primitive art and folklore, and animals often figure in his work. His paintings of animals in nature, often mystical in tone, were influenced by the example of Marc, although, unlike Marc, Campendonk often included figures in his compositions. 

After the First World War and the deaths of Marc and August Macke (1887-1914), Campendonk’s style changed. He destroyed much of his earlier work, and began to paint in a manner indebted to the dreamlike and folk-infused imagery of Marc Chagall, whom he had met in 1914. In the early 1920s, he took up the practice of stained glass design, and in 1925 had his first one-man show in New York. He received numerous commissions for large-scale stained glass decorations, and this public form of art was to occupy him for much of his later career.