387
387

PROPERTY FROM THE WILLIAM LOUIS-DREYFUS FOUNDATION & FAMILY COLLECTIONS

Wassily Kandinsky
HARTWEICH (HARD SOFT), NO. 390
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT
387

PROPERTY FROM THE WILLIAM LOUIS-DREYFUS FOUNDATION & FAMILY COLLECTIONS

Wassily Kandinsky
HARTWEICH (HARD SOFT), NO. 390
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Wassily Kandinsky
1866 - 1944
HARTWEICH (HARD SOFT), NO. 390
Signed with the artist's monogram and dated 30 (lower left); titled, numbered No. 390 and dated 1930 (on the verso)
Watercolor and brush and ink on paper mounted on card
Sheet: 19 1/2  by 16 1/2  in.; 49.5 by 42 cm
Mount: 22 3/8 by 19 in.; 56.8 by 48.2 cm
Executed in September 1930.
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Provenance

Karl Nierendorf, New York (acquired in December 1933)
Rudolf Bauer, Berlin (acquired by 1938)
Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York (acquired in 1938 and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, October 20, 1971, lot 39)
Berggruen & Cie., Paris (acquired at the above sale)
William Louis-Dreyfus, Mt. Kisco, New York (acquired from the above in 1975)
Acquired by the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collections by inheritance from the above in 2016 

Exhibited

New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Art of Tomorrow, 1939, no. 322
Chicago, Chicago Arts Club, Wassily Kandinsky Memorial Exhibition, 1945, no. 31
New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Wassily Kandinsky Memories, 1945, no. 161
Paris, Berggruen & Cie, Kandinsky, Aquarelles et dessins, 1972, no. 38
London, The Lefevre Gallery, Oil Paintings and Watercolours by Wassily Kandinsky, 1973, no. 27

Literature

The artist's handlist, no. 390
Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolors, Catalogue Raisonné, 1922-44, vol. II, 1994, no. 983, illustrated p. 284 & in color p. 258

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1930 while he was teaching at the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius' school of avant-garde art and architecture, the present work embodies the aesthetic principles Kandinsky promoted to his students. The Bauhaus relocated to Dessau from Weimar in 1925, and Kandinsky found the living and working conditions extremely favorable in this new environment. Radical examples of modern architecture were constructed for workshops and faculty residences, and Kandinsky shared a house with Paul Klee that overlooked the park. Kandinsky's served as a professor alongside Lyonel Feininger and László Moholy-Nagy, and provided the students with mandatory introductory courses in art and design, as well as lectures on the most innovative artistic theories of the day (see fig. 1). 

During his time at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky’s mode of artistic expression underwent significant change, and his experience with the Russian avant-garde and the Revolution had a particularly profound impact on his art. While he never committed himself to the Constructivist cause, his former role at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) within the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment had brought him into close contact with their ideas and aesthetic. Works executed during this time are therefore considered to be created in a manner honed by a period of experimenting with geometric forms and pure abstraction (see fig. 2).

Kandinsky developed his theories about the spiritual aspect of art while at the Bauhaus, and his ideas found a fresh expression in the paintings and watercolors from this period. In 1926, he published his book Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (Point and Line to Plane), which outlined his theories of the basic elements of artistic composition, evident in the dynamic contrast of color and form in the present work. Most notably, he developed his Theory of Correspondences, which emphasized a systematic study of pictorial elements, both in combining the forms of triangle and circle, considered by the artist to be “the two primary, most strongly contrasting plane figures” (quoted in Kandinsky, Bauhaus and Russian Years (exhibition catalogue) Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich & Bauhaus-Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin, 1984, p. 52). This theory is perhaps no more elegantly expressed than in Hartweich (Hard Soft), No. 390

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