Lot 2
  • 2

Wassily Kandinsky

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Diagonale
  • Signed with the monogram and dated 30 (lower left); titled, numbered 'No 5 ii  and dated 1930 on the reverse
  • Oil on cardboard
  • 19 1/4 by 27 5/8 in.
  • 49 by 70 cm


Galerie Maeght, Paris

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York

Private Collection, Germany (1997)

Private Collection, Europe (sold: Christie’s London, February 6, 2007, lot 74)

Acquired at the above sale


Lucerne, Galerie Rosengart, Kandinsky: Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, 1953, no. 6

Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Kandinsky, 1958, no. 35

Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Wassily Kandinsky: Gemälde 1900-1944, 1970, no. 102, illustrated in catalogue

Verona, Palazzo Forti, Monaco, Mosca, Bauhaus, Parigi, 1993 


Wassily Kandinsky, The Artist’s Handlist IV, no. 511

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and Work, Cologne, New York, Paris & Milan, 1958, p. 338, illustrated pp. 360 & 379

Hans Roethel & Jean Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, vol. II, 1916-1944, London, 1984, no. 956, illustrated p. 871 

Catalogue Note

This expertly-ruled oil painting dates from Kandinsky's years spent in the industrial town of Dessau, where the Bauhaus was relocated in 1925. Forced to leave Weimar due to the actions of right wing political forces, the school eventually moved into its celebrated Dessau building designed by Walter Gropius and completed by 1926. Kandinsky stayed at Dessau until October 1932, when the Bauhaus was closed by the National Socialist regime. His watercolors and paintings of this period are dominated by circles, triangles and straight lines. This focus on strict geometric forms reflects the influence of Russian Constructivist art, to which he was exposed during the war years spent in Moscow. With artists such as Kandinsky and Moholy-Nagy, Constructivist art gained in international stature and became an important artistic force in Germany, where geometry was accepted as a universal artistic language.


Clark V. Poling wrote about Kandinsky's work from the Dessau years: "This was a very productive period for Kandinsky's art. After he applied in his painting the abstract principles articulated in Point and Line to Plane and in his teaching, he developed a diverse set of pictorial images and modes.  Some of these represent particular responses to the Bauhaus context and his colleagues, most notably Klee" (C.V. Poling, Kandinsky: Russian and Bauhaus Years, 1915-1933 (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1983, p. 56).  In the present work, Klee's influence is visible in the precise, delicate rendering of line and the use of soft, almost translucent colors in the middle of the abstract signs and geometric shapes.  This arrangement could have been influenced by the Bauhaus Stage, a theatre branch of the school that developed modern, non-narrative performances, and to which Kandinsky was an avid contributor.