The area south of Munich with its spectacular landscape against the backdrop of the Alps has long been a popular location for numerous artists to make their home or find a place of retreat. The fame of the Blue Rider and ZEN 49 group is undoubted. And still to this day, you will find a diverse and thriving art scene here. The Stadtmuseum Penzberg (Municipal Museum of Penzberg) captures this pulsating art scene in its special exhibits. The permanent exhibit is dedicated to Heinrich Campendonk (1889-1957).
This youngest member of the Blue Rider group was long overshadowed by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. In the course of time, though, his heightened perception of colour and his frequently ecstatic creative process led him to seek his own artistic path, now on display in the Municipal Museum of Penzberg. The Penzberg collection experienced sudden growth when it received 89 works of art from Compendonk's estate. This laid the foundation for a Campendonk Centre in Penzberg.
Beyond that, the Penzberg collection also boasts the only image of the encounter between the Blue Rider group and the Brücke Artists' Association: a double portrait of Franz and Maria Marc, created by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
Born in the German city of Krefeld and who died in Amsterdam, the artist lived for a period in Sindelsdorf in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. At the age of 15, Heinrich Campendonk completed training at the school of textile studies of Krefeld and later graduated from the school of arts and crafts. It was there that he met the Dutchman, Johan Thorn-Prikker, who became his teacher and mentor. It wasn't long before his fellow student, Helmut Macke, introduced him to his cousin, August Macke.
It was Macke who, in 1910, brought him into contact with the New Artists' Association of Munich (NKVM). Campendonk sent a selection of his works to Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, where upon they supported the artist, whose financial situation at that time was a precarious one. Soon, in the autumn of 1911, he moved to Munich and then later to the village of Sindelsdorf near Kochel and very close to the home of Franz Marc, whom he much revered. There he lived with his girl-friend, Adda Deichmann, who was later to become his wife. Campendonk's work in this period was strongly influenced both by his artist friends in the Blue Rider group and by Cubism. He created idyllic worlds of animals in landscapes with scenes of figures in transparent radiant hues of colour in his own individual style that were fairytale-like, but fragmented.
World War I brought along a severe loss for Campendonk: the death of his good friend Franz Marc, who, unlike Campendonk, did not evade military service. It was thus that he soon relocated to the town of Seeshaupt on Lake Starnberg, near another artist friend, Jean Bloé Niestlé. There, he regularly visited the surrounding mining towns which he used as motifs for his paintings. In 1921, Heinrich Campendonk moved back to Krefeld, and then a few years later, to Düsseldorf where, at the recommendation of Walter Kaesbach, he found his calling as a teacher of wall and glass painting, mosaics and Gobelin tapestry weaving. He was removed from his office by the National Socialists, but was then offered a position as Professor for monumental and decorative art at the Rijks Academy in Amsterdam. Despite numerous job offers, he did not return to his home country after the end of World War II, and, instead, spent his last years in the Dutch capital where he died in 1957.
The Municipal Museum of Penzberg is currently closed due to reconstruction.
It is scheduled to reopen in June 2016.
You can take a bus from Murnau directly to Penzberg or take a Deutsche Bahn train to Tutzing and then to Penzberg. From the train station in Penzberg, it is an approx. 20 minute walk to the museum.
Telephone: +49 (0)8856 813481