- 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.
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
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
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
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.