Fabrik (Factory)

Gabriele Münter

German (1877-1962)

Fabrik [Factory] (1908)

Oil on academy board

The Louise Crombie Beach Memorial Fund, 1973.16

This painting’s intensity of color and expressive line is characteristic of Münter, a German expressionist painter whose imaginative landscapes evoke emotion through color. She was a member of Der Blaue Reiter [The Blue Rider], a group of artists who explored the spiritual values of art and symbolic associations of color in the years before World War I.

Münter and other members of the group often painted outdoors, using lightweight academy board as a support. Academy board is made of cardboard stiffened with a coating of lead pigments. Initially developed during the 19th century for use by art students, academy board became popular with professional artists as a cheaper alternative to canvas and wooden panels, especially as on-site oil sketching became more fashionable. The consistent size of Münter’s paintings during this period has been attributed to the basket size of her bicycle, which is how she traveled to her painting sites.