Galerie Maeght, Paris
Jan Mitchell, New York
Mr. & Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger, Washington, D.C. (by 1965)
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York (sold: Sotheby's, London, July 2, 1969, lot 80)
B. Gerald Cantor, Beverly Hills (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection, Beverly Hills (acquired from the above in 1976)
Acquired by descent from the above
Paris, Galerie René Drouin, Kandinsky Époque Parisienne, 1934-44, 1949, no. 36 (listed with the incorrect date)
Bern, Kunsthalle, Gesamtausstellung Wassily Kandinsky, 1955, no. 102
Washington, D.C., Corcoran Art Gallery & The Baltimore Museum of Art, Selections from the Kreeger Collection, 1965, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Kandinsky, Gemälde 1900-1944, 1970, no. 164, illustrated in the catalogue
Artist's Handlist IV, no. 682
Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and Work, New York, 1958, no. 682, catalogued p. 341; no. 493, illustrated p. 390
Sotheby's Art & Auction, New York, 1968-69, illustrated in color p. 251
Hans K. Roethel & Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Volume Two, 1916-1944, Ithaca, 1984, no. 1120, illustrated p. 1016
The French-German title of the present work is a result of its having been completed while the artist was in France during the war. After he left Germany upon the closing of the Bauhaus in 1933, Kandinsky immersed himself amidst the hotbed of creative activity in Surrealist Paris. Those pictures that he completed thenceforward and until his death in 1944 reflect the influences of this dominant avant-garde movement of the 1930s and early 1940s. In many of his compositions from this era, including the present work, one can see biomorphic elements that are similar to those found in the works of Masson and Miró. But, ever the committed theoretician, Kandinsky remained true to many of the formal principles that he had promoted while teaching at the Bauhaus. The present work, completed in 1941 with a sleek, laquered paint surface, is a "cool" distillation of the many influences, both past and present, that Kandinsky found so compelling at the end of his life.
Kandinsky has plotted every element of the present composition with a calculated precision that clearly evidences his formal and mathematical influences of Bauhaus design. The artist has taken a distinctly level-headed approach in his rendering of the composition, both in its methodical arrangement and balanced tonality, which may explain his title for the picture. Kandinsky credited the light in Paris with the richer tonality that is evidenced in his paintings from these years. "The Paris light is very important to me," he wrote to Galka Scheyer in 1935. "The difference to light in central Germany is enormous -- here it can be simultaneously bright and gentle. There are gray, overcast days also, with no rain, which is rare in Germany. The light on these gray days is incredibly rich, with a varied range of color and an endless degree of tones. Such a quality of light reminds me of the light conditions in and around Moscow. So I feel 'at home' in this light." (quoted in J. Hahl-Koch, Kandinsky, Brussels, 1993, p. 356).
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