Murnau is located south of Munich and, for over 100 years, the surrounding landscape has provided popular artists with the inspiration for their internationally famous masterpieces. This was particularly true for post-Impressionist, Expressionist, Modernist and abstract art. Works from these movements are on display at the town's castle museum, which focuses in particular on one of the icons of the Expressionist era: Gabriele Münter.
Münter and Wassily Kandinsky moved to Murnau in 1909. The Russian-German Expressionist painter Alexej Jawlensky was a member of the Blauer Reiter art group. On one of his many visits to Murnau, he captured a sunset in the town in his work "The Yellow Sound". Franz Marc, one of the most important German Expressionist painters, also came to the small town at the foot of the Bavarian Alps time and time again. Kandinsky and Marc formed the Blauer Reiter group, the origin of the nickname that the Murnau region bears to this day – das blaue Land, or "the blue country".
Many of the paintings these artists created in Murnau are now on display in the town castle's museum. The works of Gabriele Münter form the centrepiece of the exhibition, which contains over 80 of her paintings and drawings, ranging from early prints to her later abstract works. The collection is rounded out by paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, late Romantic-era artist Carl Spitzweg, landscape painter Eduard Schleich and works by the humorist, poet and illustrator Wilhelm Busch. All of them found inspiration in the Murnau region.
A tip: if you can't get enough of Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky, you should definitely visit Münter's house, just 800 m from the museum. The two central figures in the Expressionist movement lived here together for five years until 1914. Today, it commemorates their work and contains original fittings (including furniture) that the artists painted. You quickly get the feeling that both of them could walk through the door any minute.
To get from the castle museum to Münter's house, go right on Schlossbergstrasse (heading west) until you reach Untermarkt. Go left and then take the first right – Schlossergasse. Keep going until this joins Burggraben after 100 m. Go straight on until you reach the junction with Bundesstrasse 2. On the other side of this large road, the street forks. Take the right-hand street, Kottmüllerallee. Stay on this street until you reach Gabriele Münter's house 250 m away.
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How about a tasty meal before you head back home? Just 300 m from the castle museum, chef Klaus Distler Meter serves up hearty and reasonably priced Bavarian fare at Karg Braustüberl. The address is Untermarkt 27.
The museum is 16 minutes' walk from Murnau station. Walking out of the station, cross the forecourt towards the roundabout. Go straight on: you are now on Seehauser Strasse. Stay on it, even as it turns sharply to the right, until you reach a large road – Kellerstrasse. After 65 m, you will reach Bahnhofstrasse on the left. Walk along Bahnhofstrasse until you reach Postgasse on your left after 350 m. Go left and follow Postgasse for 130 m. Then go right at Untermarkt. Schlossbergstrasse is on the left after 89 m. The entrance to the castle's courtyard is 200 m along Schlossbergstrasse.