Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale


Wassily Kandinsky
1866 - 1944
signed with the monogram and dated 27 (lower left); titled, dated 1927 and inscribed 390 on the reverse
oil on canvas
50 by 69cm.
19 5/8 by 27 1/8 in.
Painted in 1927.
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Nina Kandinsky, Paris (the artist's widow)
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne
Acquired from the above by the late owner in 1980


Berlin, Kartell der vereinigten Verbände bildender Künstler Berlins, Landesausstellungsgebäude am Lehrter Bahnhof, Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. Sonderausstellung, die Abstrakten: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee, 1927
New York, Valentine Gallery, Kandinsky, 1932, no. 8
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum & The Hague, Gemeente Museum, Kandinsky, 1947-48, no. 42
New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Kandinsky, 1948, no. 7
Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art; Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art; New York, M. Knoedler and Co.; San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Art & Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Kandinsky Retrospective, 1952, no. 39 (incorrectly dated)
Paris, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Kandinsky. 1866 - 1944. Exposition rétrospective, 1963, no. 114
Stockholm, Moderna-Museet, Kandinsky, 1965, no. 42
New York, Malborough-Gerson Gallery, Kandinsky, The Bauhaus Years, 1966, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue
Baden-Baden, Staatliches Kunstmuseum, Kandinsky, 1970, no. 73, illustrated in the catalogue
Tokyo, The Seibu Museum of Art, Kandinsky, 1976, no. 19, illustrated in the catalogue


The Artist's Handlist, no. 390
Will Grohmann, Vassily Kandinsky, Sa vie, son œuvre, Cologne, 1958, no. 255, illustrated p. 370
Hans K. Roethel & Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, London, 1984, vol. II, no. 833, illustrated p. 774

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1927, whilst Kandinsky was at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Geflecht reflects his radical aesthetic theory with all the stylistic hallmarks that defined this period. Having returned to Germany from Moscow after World War I, the artist started teaching at the Bauhaus school in Weimar in June 1922. He quickly became involved again 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. In 1925 the Bauhaus moved to the site at Dessau where the school was housed in architecturally ground-breaking buildings designed by Walter Gropius. Kandinsky’s role at the school, alongside Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee, provided the students with introductory courses in art and design as well as with lectures on the most innovative artistic theories of the day.

At the Bauhaus Kandinsky’s mode of expression underwent significant changes. His recent acquaintance with the Russian avant-garde and the Revolution had a profound impact on his art. Whilst he never committed himself to the constructivist cause, his role at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) within the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment brought him into close contact with their ideas and aesthetic. Works made at the Bauhaus, such as Geflecht, were created in a manner honed by a period of great experimentation with new forms and geometrical compositions. The privations of his life in Russia, induced by the Revolution, made it hard for the artist to find the space and materials needed for oil-painting. Preferring to perfect his ideas using watercolour, it was not until Kandinsky took up his teaching post at the Bauhaus that the impact of his time in Russia became fully evident in his paintings.

The Bauhaus school was also marked by a period of artistic cohesion amongst those who shared Gropius’s campus. Works such as Geflecht and Schwarz-Rot (fig. 1) possessed a similar harmonious balance of forms as did Paul Klee’s more figurative elements in pictures produced during the same period (fig. 2). Kandinsky was also capable of integrating the poetic and spiritual elements of his earlier works and they remained the underlying force of his art throughout the 1920s.

The artist stated: '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 (ed.), Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, New York, 1982, vol. II, p. 628).

In a letter to Will Grohmann Kandinsky wrote that he hoped that his audience would grasp 'what lies behind my painting, and are no longer content with the observation that I use triangles or circles [...] It must be finally understood that form for me is only a means to an end, and that I am so thoroughly and completely concerned with form - in my theories, too - because I want to penetrate its inner nature. You once mentioned the word 'Romantic', and I was delighted [...] Today there is a 'New Objectivity' - there ought to be a New Romanticism [...] The meaning, the content of art is Romantic' (quoted in Frank Whitford, Kandinsky: Watercolours and other Works on Paper (exhibition catalogue), The Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1999, p. 69).


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale