Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky and Münter, Arp and Taeuber
Bibiana K. Obler, Assistant Professor of Art History, authored this compelling examination of the work and lives of Expressionist artists Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter and Dadaists Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber illuminates the roles of gender and the applied arts in abstraction’s early days. Both couples, like Expressionism and Dada more generally, strived to transcend the fragmented individualism promoted by capitalism. Through abstraction and by unsettling the boundaries between the decorative and fine arts, they negotiated tensions between the philosophical and commercial aspects of their production. Both pairs were feminist—the women ambitious and the men supportive of their work—but theirs was a feminism that embraced differences between the sexes. This innovative look at the personal relationships of two influential artist couples shows how everyday life—mundane concerns along with spiritual and intellectual endeavors—informed the development of abstraction.