Executed in 1925, the present watercolour is a wonderful example of Kandinsky's work from the 1920s when the artist moved back from Moscow to Germany in June 1922 and began teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar. He quickly became immersed in the German art world: he participated in a number of exhibitions, and his teachings and writings were crucial to the development of abstract art internationally.
Created during this very significant period of transition, Hartnäckiges Braun exemplifies the artist's gradual move away from the free flowing, irregular lines and shapes of his earlier years, towards a purer form of geometric abstraction. His watercolours and paintings of this period are dominated by circles, triangles and straight lines rather than by undefined shapes and loosely applied paint. This shift to stricter geometric forms reflects the influence of Russian Constructivist art, which he was exposed to during the war years spent in Moscow. It was owing to artists such as Kandinsky and Moholy-Nagy that Constructivist art continued to gain international recognition in the 1920s, becoming an important artistic force in Germany, where geometry became accepted as a universal artistic language.
Writing about this pivotal period in Kandinsky's art, Clark Poling commented: 'Basic shapes and straight and curved lines predominate in these paintings, and their black lines against white or light backgrounds maintain a schematic and rigorous quality. The large size and transparency of many of the forms and their open distribution across the picture plane give these compositions a monumentality and an expansiveness despite their relative flatness. Whereas certain abstract features of the series derive from Russian precedents, their vertically positioned triangles and planetary circles refer to landscape... Nevertheless, the transparency of forms, their rigorous definition and floating quality maintain the abstract character of the work' (Clark Poling, Kandinsky, Bauhaus and Russian Years (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1983, p. 51).
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