Houses in Murnau on Obermarkt Wassily Kandinsky Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Houses in Murnau on Obermarkt is another relatively early painting from Wassily Kandinsky and features a beautiful array of colour and content. It is an example of his movement towards the abstract style that would later sweep across Europe and beyond.

As we look at this painting, we see ourselves down a side street, looking out towards a road that cuts across, which is lined by a row of houses. We can make out their tiled roofs and colourful frontages. A large tree hangs over the edge of the painting, cropped out partially. Kandinsky uses two contrasting tones of green to create a feeling of shade on the far part of the tree. Closer to us we see a plain wall on the right that frames that side of the painting and also a bricked lane, on which we are presumably standing, that makes use of the same tones of purple, blue and orange. A fence sits to the left and perhaps marks the boundary of Obermarkt. The whole piece feels positive and upbeat thanks to the charming content and the bright colours which feel distinctly modern in style.

Murnau am Staffelsee is a market town in Bavaria, Germany. It features in a number of famous artist's work, including that of Berlin-born, Gabriele Munter. Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin also produced paintings here. The streets feel distinctly traditional and it remains a popular destination today for those looking to appreciate the culture and architecture of the past. Kandinsky himself produced a number of pieces here, also including Murnau with a Church. He was a proud Russian who also grew to love much of Germany too, and found that both nations had something to offer his work, in terms of inspiration. His work is known to have been influential right across Europe, with him being considered to be amongst the very first to use abstract forms successfully.

This painting is dated at 1908, based on research into Kandinsky's career and where he worked at which points. He is known to have witnessed fauvist artworks in Paris just prior to this, and one can certainly see an influence within the colour scheme, though this artist does use a greater amount of darker tones which balances out the brightness elsewhere. The fauvists tended to just go bright everywhere, and so the painting here cannot be linked to that group, but was not entirely a part of it. An interesting footnote to this artwork is that in the following year of 1909, Kandinsky actually purchased a house of his own here, such was his love for the region.

Houses in Murnau on Obermarkt in Detail Wassily Kandinsky