164
164

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Wassily Kandinsky
ZARTES GEMÜT (DELICATE SOUL)
JUMP TO LOT
164

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Wassily Kandinsky
ZARTES GEMÜT (DELICATE SOUL)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Wassily Kandinsky
1866 - 1944
ZARTES GEMÜT (DELICATE SOUL)
signed with the artist's monogram and dated 25 (lower left); signed Kandinsky, titled, dated 1925, numbered No 198 and dedicated À M. Maurice Raynal, cordialement, Mars 1930 on the reverse
watercolour and pen and ink on paper laid down on the artist's mount
sheet: 35.9 by 25.1 cm., 14 1/8 by 9 7/8 in.
mount: 47 by 37.1 cm., 18 1/2 by 14 5/8 in.
Executed in December 1925.
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Provenance

Maurice Raynal, Paris (a gift from the artist in March 1930)
Sale: Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, 28th May 1964, lot 525
R. M. Light, Boston, 1964
B.C. Holland, Chicago (possibly)
Private Collection, United States (probably acquired from the above in the 1960s; sale: Sotheby's, London, 4th February 2010, lot 235)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner 

Literature

Artist's Handlist, Watercolours, listed as 'xii 1925, 198, Zartes Gemüt'
Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue raisonné, 1922-1924, New York, 1994, vol. II, no. 761, illustrated p. 150

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1925, whilst Wassily Kandinsky was teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Zartes Gemüt is an exquisite example of the increasingly geometric abstract language employed by the artist during this period. Formed of elegantly interweaving triangular and circular forms, the present work celebrates the supreme importance of the triangle within Kandinsky’s œuvre as a symbolic or theoretical signifier. Dominated by the powerful central form of an isosceles triangle, the interplay of the surrounding geometric shapes and lines infuses the work with an extraordinary sensation of dynamism and movement. At the upper right of the composition, a triangle appears to pierce the outer extent of a circle, a creative action which Kandinsky considered to be of seminal significance, declaring that: The contact between the acute angle of a triangle and a circle has no less effect than that of God’s finger touching Adam’s in Michelangelo’ (quoted in Christopher Short, The Art Theory of Wassily Kandinsky, 1909-1928: The Quest for Synthesis, Bern, 2010, p. 159). The present work also features an intriguing provenance: the first owner was Maurice Raynal - a critic and art historian who founded L'Intransigeant with Tériade - to whom Kandinsky gifted Zartes Gemüt in 1930.

The aesthetic theories governing many of Kandinsky's compositions throughout his career derived from his 1911 treatise, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, in which he praised the power of colour and its influence on the beholder. By the time Zartes Gemüt was executed, Kandinsky had taken these theories even further with the publication of Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (Point and Line to Plane) in 1923. Most notably, he developed his ‘Theory of Correspondences’, which emphasised a systematic study of pictorial elements and emphasised the importance of combining the forms of triangle and circle, considered by the artist to be 'the two primary, most strongly contrasting plane figures' (quoted in Kandinsky: Russian and Bauhaus Years, 1915-1933 (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1983, p. 51). In its thrilling combination of form and colour, Zartes Gemüt is a magnificent example of Kandinsky’s creative and philosophical theories during this highly significant moment in his artistic career.

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