Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showcasing an exceptional edition of the Der Blaue Reiter Almanac (1912), acquired from the estate of Arthur Lehning (1899–2000). It is on show until 14 January 2018. The Der Blaue Reiter Almanac is being presented on the basis of its genesis, at the same time dramatically exploring the revolutionary artistic ideas of the German group of Expressionist artists known as Der Blaue Reiter – The Blue Rider. This work is a rare, numbered exemplar of the almanac’s luxury edition, housed in its original box and containing two coloured and signed woodcuts by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. The Der Blaue Reiter Almanac is the first changeover in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s revamped presentation of its permanent collection.
The Der Blaue Reiter Almanac was intrinsically and editorially prepared by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc in 1911–1912 and contains contributions by August Macke, Arnold Schoenberg and others. This edition was produced by the Munich-based publisher Reinhard Piper and has become one of the 20th century’s most important art books. The publication was intended as the first in a series that would present an annual review of innovation in the arts and cast a glance to the future. The idea of innovation and leadership is expressed in the almanac’s cover plate: a triumphant knight bounding forward. The First World War brought an abrupt end to Kandinsky’s plan to publish an annual edition of Der Blaue Reiter. As an enemy alien, Kandinsky was forced to leave Germany, while Marc was killed in the vicinity of Verdun in 1916.
The Der Blaue Reiter Almanac will be shown alongside copies of i10 in conjunction with works from Arthur Lehning’s collection, such as a portrait of Lehning by photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, a self-portrait by Charley Toorop from 1928, and a chair by Gerrit Rietveld. These artefacts are a testament to Lehning’s close involvement with the international avant-garde.
[...] both of us loved blue, Marc – horses, and me – horsemen.” - Wassily Kandinsky
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen acquired this special edition of Der Blaue Reiter in conjunction with the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD), Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2016. This purchase was supported by the Mondriaan Fund and the BankGiro Lottery. Such a joining of forces made it possible to secure this unique exemplar for Dutch public ownership. The almanac will be exhibited in rotation: in the autumn of 2018 Der Blaue Reiter can be seen in the ‘Alexej van Jawlensky’ exhibition at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, thereafter at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.