Lot 37
  • 37

Wassily Kandinsky

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

Description

  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Flächen und Linien (Surfaces and Lines)
  • signed with the monogram and dated 30 (lower left); signed with the monogram, titled, dated 1930 and numbered No. 522 on the reverse
  • oil on board
  • 49 by 70cm.
  • 19 1/4 by 27 1/2 in.

Provenance

Galka Scheyer, Los Angeles

Galerie Maeght, Paris (acquired by 1953)

Private Collection, Paris (acquired by 1970)

Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired from the above in January 1972)

Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris (acquired from the above in February 1973)

Sale: Christie's, London, 5th December 1978, lot 43

Davlyn Gallery, New York (acquired by 1984)

Sale: Christie's, London, 23rd June 2004, lot 252

Private Collection, Switzerland (purchased at the above sale. Sold: Christie's, London, 23rd June 2009, lot 26)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, 1931, no. 60

New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Kandinsky, 1948, no. 13 (titled Areas and Lines)

Paris, Galerie Maeght, Kandinsky, 1953, no. 24 (catalogue published in Derrière le miroir, nos. 60-61, Paris, October-November 1953)

Paris, Galerie Maeght, Kandinsky: Bauhaus de Dessau, 1927-1933, 1965 (catalogue published in Derrière le miroir, no. 154, Paris, November 1965, illustrated)

New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Kandinsky, The Bauhaus Years, 1966, no. 40, illustrated in the catalogue

Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Wassily Kandinsky, Gemälde 1900-1944, 1970, no. 107, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Karl Flinker, Kandinsky, peintures, dessins, gravures, editions, œuvres inédites, 1972, no. 20

Shimane, Matsue City Culture Center, The Passage of Modern European Art, 1994, no. 39

Literature

The artist's handlist, vol. IV, no. 522

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and Work, London, 1959, no. 369, illustrated p. 380

Hans K. Roethel & Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, London, 1984, vol. II, no. 967, illustrated p. 879

Catalogue Note

A harmonious exploration of colour and form, Flächen und Linien is an important example of Kandinsky’s style from the years he spent in 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 in 1926. Kandinsky stayed at Dessau until it closed in October 1932, and it was in these surroundings that he developed some of his most significant artistic theories.

Combining flat planes of colour and clearly defined shapes in the style that became associated with his Bauhaus works, Flächen und Linien exemplifies the artist’s groundbreaking aesthetic experiments. Kandinsky believed that particular arrangements of shapes triggered an 'inner resonance' or 'spiritual vibration' and could elicit from a viewer a powerful emotional response; in the present work he forges a delicate balance of straight lines, circles and jagged shapes that, although sometimes hinting at tangible objects, remain in the realm of the purely abstract. 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 an international scope and became an important force in avant-garde art.

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 to his colleagues, most notably Klee’ (C. V. Poling, Kandinsky, Bauhaus and Russian Years (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 the line and use of soft, almost translucent colours. Furthermore, the title of this painting, echoing that of his treatise Punkt und Linie zur Fläche, accentuates the close connection between Kandinsky's writing and his art.

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