It’s spring, a time of birth and rebirth, the perfect season to reflect on the stories, contributions, and accomplishments of women.
“My pictures are all moments of my life…instantaneous visual experiences….When I begin to paint, it’s like leaping suddenly into deep waters, and I never know beforehand whether I will be able to swim.”
―Gabriele Münter, Dialogues: Conversations with European Artists at Mid-Century by Edouard Roditi
Notes from Bett:
I first discovered the Expressionist artist Gabriele Münter when I was hired to provide music for a readers theatre production at the McNay. I was immediately drawn to her use of bold colors and thick lines, which seemed to imbue mundane subjects with menace and mystery. A print of her small painting “Yellow House with Apple Tree” hung in our kitchen for years. The shadows creeping across the lawn toward the house, the dark vegetation threatening to engulf the building from behind, and the demonic face suggested by brushstrokes in the tree at the left—even the apple tree in the foreground, with its trunk curving precariously to one side—suggested to me the ambivalence many women feel about domesticity, their place in the home, and their place in the world.
When Münter was coming of age, women were not allowed admittance to the established art academies of Europe, so she trained with Russian émigré Wassily Kandinsky, who became her mentor and lover. They were instrumental in founding Der Blaue Rider (The Blue Rider) school of modernism, which included Franz Marc, Paul Klee, and other influential artists of the period. After a bitter breakup with Kandinsky, who had repeatedly promised marriage, Münter fell into a deep depression and stopped painting, eventually recovering and continuing a prolific career. When Hitler came into power, Expressionist art was denounced as degenerate, and much was destroyed. At great risk to her own safety, Münter hid her compatriots’ artwork in her farmhouse, where it remained undetected despite numerous searches by the Nazis. The artist single-handedly saved a large collection of priceless paintings, preserving an influential catalogue of modernism which might otherwise have been lost forever.
“I think we were all more interested in being honest than in being modern.”―Gabriele Münter, Dialogues: Conversations with European Artists at Mid-Century by Edouard Roditi
See a video of “For Gabriele” here.
Joël and I will pay tribute to Gabriele Münter, American Songbook lyricist Dorothy Fields, and other artists male and female in a concert this Sunday at the Bihl Haus. Curated by Beverly Prado, it will feature vocalist/educator Katchie Cartwright and artist Carol Cisneros. Please join us for a beautiful afternoon celebrating the stories of women.
A Concert Celebrating Women Composers/Performers
Bett Butler (with Joël Dilley)
Katchie Cartwright (with Richard Oppenheim, George & Aaron Prado)
Carol Cisneros (with Jay Fort, Al Gomez, George Prado, Joe Gonzalez)
Sunday, March 3, 2-5 pm
The Bihl Haus
2803 Fredericksburg Rd. San Antonio TX 78201
Free and open to the public
A Concert Celebrating Women is an official event of the 6th Annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour.