Lot 50
  • 50

Wassily Kandinsky

Estimate
700,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
Sold
725,000 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Rosa im Grau (Rose in Grey)
  • signed with the monogram and dated 26 (lower left); signed with the monogram, titled, dated 1926 and inscribed No. 352 and 41 x 52 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas 

Provenance

Nina Kandinsky, Paris (the artist's widow)

Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired from the above in January 1975)

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in November 1982)

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 30th June 1987, lot 70

Private Collection, Paris

Sale: Guy Loudmer, Paris, 17th June 1990, lot 72

Private Collection, United States (sold: Christie's, London, 18th June 2007, lot 21)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie de France, Wassily Kandinsky, 1930, illustrated on the cover of the catalogue

Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Wassily Kandinsky, 1931, no. 34

New York, Valentine Gallery, Kandinsky, 1932, no. 6

Los Angeles, Stendahl Art Galleries, Wassily Kandinsky, 1936, no. 17

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Museum of Non-Objective Paintings, In Memory of Wassily Kandinsky, 1945, no. 93 (with the incorrect Handlist number)

Paris, Galerie Maeght, Kandinsky, 1953, no. 9

Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Kandinsky, 1965, no. 40 (as dating from 1925)

New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Kandinsky. The Bauhaus Years, 1966, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue

Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Wassily Kandinsky: Gëmalde 1900-1944, 1970, no. 68, illustrated in the catalogue

Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Petits formats, 1978, no. 72

New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, The Blue Four, 1984, no. 45, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

The Artist's Handlist, vol. II, no. 352

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky: Life and Work, London, 1959, no. 352, listed p. 336; fig. 229, illustrated p. 368

Hans K. Roethel & Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, London, 1984, vol. II, no. 796, illustrated p. 740; illustrated in colour p. 746

Catalogue Note

Painted at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926, Rosa im Grau was executed in the same year as Kandinsky’s ground-breaking treatise Punkt und Linie zu Fläche was published. This extraordinary document has provoked admiration and devotion since it was first written, and works such as Rosa im Grau perfectly embody the artist’s theories. The publication coincided with Kandinsky's sixtieth birthday exhibition which opened in Braunschweig in May before travelling throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. In Punkt und Linie zu Fläche the artist discussed the genesis of abstraction, and its essential function: 'Abstract art, despite its emancipation, is subject here also to 'natural laws' and is obliged to proceed in the same way that nature did proceed, when it started in a modest way with protoplasm and cells, progressing very gradually to increasingly complex organisms. Today, abstract art creates also primary or more or less primary art organisms, whose further development the artist today can predict only in uncertain outline, and which entice, excite him, but can also calm him when he stares into the prospect of the future that faces him' (quoted in Kenneth Lindsay & Peter Vergo (eds.), Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, New York, 1982, vol. II, p. 628).

Founded in Weimar, the Bauhaus school provided a radically progressive environment where pupils and their teachers could explore the farthest reaches of aesthetic theory. In 1925 the school was forced to move to a new site in the industrial city of Dessau, a move predicated by the hostile government of Thuringia and its state capital, Weimar. In Dessau the Bauhaus flourished, and Kandinsky’s personal endeavours were complimented by those of his friend and neighbour Paul Klee, who shared a semi-detached ‘Master’s’ house designed by Gropius in the somewhat austere Bauhaus style. From 1926 to the demise of the school in 1932, Kandinsky’s output of paintings and works on paper was prolific, and in Rosa im Grau the inimitable abstract style developed during these years is wonderfully demonstrated.

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