With a confirmation of authenticity by Dr. Rosel Gollek, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, dated 4.2.1983 (copy). This painting is registered with the Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, Munich, under the no. “V 24” (with the small labels on the reverse). This work will be included in the Catalogue Raisonné of paintings by Gabriele Münter by the Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung. Exhibitions:Gabriele Münter 1877-1962. Malen ohne Umschweife, Lenbachhaus, Munich et. al. 2018/19, cat. no.201, with col. illus.Provenance: The artist’s estate, with stamp on the reverse (not in Lugt); Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Foundation, Munich; Galerie Am Feuersee, Stuttgart; private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia, acquired from the aforementioned in 1973, subsequently in family ownership by descent.


• This painting was the inspiration for a three-part series of paintings in which Münther gradually reduced the originally figurative coffee house motif to an increasingly abstract composition
• Created in 1914 during Münther’s first abstract phase in the late period of the Blaue Reiter group
• The harmoniously balanced colours of the composition are exemplary of Münther’s fine observational skills A coffee house in a city.

In the foreground, a hand reaches for a cup: it is the artist’s hand, the back of her head is turned towards us, wearing a hat. We, the viewers, stand behind her and see the scene through her eyes. In front of her is a round table made of red marble, surrounded by chairs upholstered in black. In the background, a waitress in a white apron is serving a woman in blue. Her figure is reflected in the mirror on the wall. Gabriele Münter’s paintings from 1914 have bright colors and nervous brushstrokes. None of the lines in the work are entirely straight, everything seems to be in motion. These short, vibrating strokes make solid forms appear to dissolve. Clear bodies disappear behind the many small details, from the marbling of the table to the floor in iridescent shades of blue to the indefinable but colourful shapes on the other side of the shop window. From here it’s just a small step to abstraction. Münter never saw herself as an abstract artist. As late as 1956 she wrote to the American art historian Kenneth Lindsay: “I actually didn’t paint abstractly because my eyes from nature always provided me with motifs.” Accordingly, there are only a few abstract paintings in her oeuvre. Nevertheless, in the period from 1914 to 1915 she found her way to abstraction for the first time through an abstracting process in which “In the café” formed a key step. It is the largest work in a series of three coffee house paintings, all created in 1914. The smaller version is sketchier than the larger version. Münter paints with a reduced colour palette in muted tones. For the large version, she used stronger accents of yellow, green, red and blue. These colours can also be found in the last version, which Münter calls “Abstract Interior”. At first this third image appears to be a pure play of colours, but then one recognises the back of the artist’s head in green and blue, the pink arm, the chairs, the twinkling lights and even the waitress and her reflection in the mirror. In this way, Münter dissolves figurative painting into pure colour forms. However, this abstracting process remained the exception even in these years. She would not experiment with pure abstraction again until forty years later in her late work. However, she remained true to the colourful, figurative style of the present painting until the end of her life.

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