Wassily Kandinsky

Exhibitions:
Aquarelles et gouaches. Collection privée de Madame W. Kandinsky. Paris, Galerie Maeght, 1957, cat.-no. 57
Aquarelles et gouaches W. Kandinsky. Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1959, cat.-no. 37
Kandinsky: Aquarelles & dessins. Paris, Berggruen & Cie, 1972, cat.-no. 48

This work by Kandinsky was created during his exile in Paris. It belongs to the later period of the artist’s career and combines several characteristics of his different creative periods. Kandinsky turned to abstraction at a very early stage, initially characterised by intense colour and a seemingly chaotic formal language. During his time as a teacher at the Bauhaus, however, the colours in his works became more restrained and the forms more ordered, sometimes even strictly geometrically arranged. Thus, this work also appears very clear, almost tidy. The background has been applied in a delicate pink using a spray technique. The slightly curved triangle filled with black, which divides the picture diagonal, forms a strong contrast to this. To the left as well as to the right of the space-consuming black triangle, there are further small-format geometric structures. This strict division of the picture is, however, interrupted by white, intertwined lines, which can also be found in both halves of the picture. However, both the structure found at the top of the triangle and the one that takes up the space on the right half of the picture attract particular attention. Both forms are biomorphic, and Kandinsky emphasises their unity with a complementary choice of colour. Because the biomorphic form in a green filled oval is strongly reminiscent of an embryo, one associates the violet, jaggedly broken circle in the upper half of the picture with the corresponding egg cell. Here, the qualities that characterised Kandinsky’s early work become apparent: through the expressive choice of colour, the artist creates an associative connection between structures, so that, despite the abstraction, a readability emerges. Thus, despite the existing severity of the geometry, a certain lightness pervades this work in its association with new life.

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