Gabriele Münter was one of the charter members of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a German expressionist group founded in 1911 that was united not by style but by the shared desire to convey spirituality and transcendence through art. In 1908 Müntersettled in the town of Murnau, near Munich, where she envisioned a utopian community of artists living outside the context of urban life. For Münter, the rural landscape allowed for an expression of spiritual purity, a dominant theme in her art.
Münter painted the village as a refuge from modern life, a place that might restore the harmony between humankind and nature disrupted by the modern city. The broad white areas of snow on the ground contrast with the glowing pinks, blues, and yellows of the cottages, which are tightly pressed together and overlapping, distorting perspectival depth. Although the brown pathway pulls the viewer's eye in, the space is simultaneously flattened by a network of thick black outlines that draw attention to the painting's surface.
Text by Phoebe Wolfskill, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008