Lot 149
  • 149

Wassily Kandinsky

250,000 - 350,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Ohne Titel (Untitled)
  • Watercolor and brush and ink over pencil on paper
  • 14 3/8 by 12 5/8 in.
  • 36.4 by 32.2 cm


Nina Kandinsky, Paris
Private Collection
Galerie Thomas, Munich
Private Collection (acquired circa 2000)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above)
Evan Janis Fine Art, New York (acquired from the above)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above and sold Sotheby’s, New York, November 5, 2008, lot 197)
Acquired at the above sale


Munich, Galerie Thomas, Wassily Kandinsky, Gemalde, Aquarelle, Graphiken, 1991, no. 13
Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein–Westfalen, Kandinsky, Kleine Freuden: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, 1992, no. 82


Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky, Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonné 1922-1944, vol. II, New York, 1994, no. 571, illustrated p. 24 

Catalogue Note

Composed of a dynamic combination of geometric and organic forms, Ohne Titel was created during a time of great significance within Wassily Kandinsky’s personal and creative life. Kandinsky had joined the teaching faculty at the newly founded Bauhaus school of art and design in June 1922 after a few recuperative months in Berlin. Kandinsky, alongside Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee, provided the students with introductory courses in art and design as well as lectures on the most innovative artistic theories of the day. In 1925 the Bauhaus moved to the site at Dessau where the school was housed in architecturally ground-breaking buildings designed by Gropius. At the Bauhaus Kandinsky’s mode of artistic expression underwent significant change, and his unique acquaintance with the Russian avant-garde had a particularly 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 had brought him into close contact with the ideas and aesthetic of the Russian Revolution. Works executed during this time were created in a manner honed by a period of great experimentation with new abstract forms and geometrical compositions.

During the course of 1922-23, Kandinsky's work gradually moved away from the free flowing, irregular lines and shapes of his earlier oeuvre toward a more geometric form of abstraction. His watercolors and paintings of this period are dominated by circles, triangles and straight lines rather than undefined shapes and loosely applied paint. This shift to a more geometric language reflects the influence of Constructivism. Constructivist art was gaining international attention and becoming an important artistic force in Germany during this time, where geometry was accepted as a universal artistic language. However, whilst developing this increasingly abstract vocabulary, Kandinsky's art did not fully adopt the practical, utilitarian quality characteristic of much of Constructivist art. Instead, the poetic and spiritual elements of his earlier works remained the underlying force. Ohne Titel reveals these dual strands of Kandinsky’s creative dialectic to intriguing effect, juxtaposing the angular form of the triangle with the more organic colored elements which float across the rest of the composition. The result is a superb example of Kandinsky’s pioneering cultural language during a period of seminal development for the artist.