388
388

PROPERTY FROM THE WILLIAM LOUIS-DREYFUS FOUNDATION & FAMILY COLLECTIONS

Wassily Kandinsky
LA FORME BLANCHE
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT
388

PROPERTY FROM THE WILLIAM LOUIS-DREYFUS FOUNDATION & FAMILY COLLECTIONS

Wassily Kandinsky
LA FORME BLANCHE
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Wassily Kandinsky
1866 - 1944
LA FORME BLANCHE
Signed with the artist's monogram and dated 39 (lower left)
Gouache on black paper laid down on board
12 5/8  by 19 5/8  in.
32 by 49.8 cm
Executed in 1939.
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Provenance

Nina Kandinsky, Paris (the artist's wife)
Kleemann Galleries, New York (acquired circa 1957)
Harold Straus, New York (and sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, May 2, 1974, lot 148)
William Louis-Dreyfus, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection, New York (and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 19, 2012, lot 22)
Acquired by William Louis-Dreyfus for the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collections at the above sale

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie René Drouin, Kandinsky, gouaches, aquarelles, dessins, 1947, no. 61
Liège, Association pour le progrès intellectuel et artistique de la Wallonie, Kandinsky, gouaches & dessins, 1947, no. 60
New York, Kleemann Galleries, Wassily Kandinsky 1866-1944, 1957, no. 17, illustrated in the catalogue
Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen & Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Kandinsky, Kleine Freuden, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, 1992, no. 168, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

The artist's handlist, no. 620
Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolors, Catalogue Raisonné, 1922-44, vol. II, 1994, no. 1255, illustrated p. 459 & in color p. 437

Catalogue Note

La Forme blanche inhabits the realm of pure aesthetic expression. Kandinsky and his wife Nina left Germany in 1933 and settled in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy inner suburb of Paris, where he was to live out the remainder of his life (see fig. 1). In 1934, Kandinsky wrote to Jawlensky: "We don't want to leave Germany permanently (we've got deep roots there!), but we'd like to stay in Paris for a couple of years... Our flat's on the sixth floor, with a great view of the Seine, the hills behind it, and a huge expanse of sky. The Bois de Boulogne is a couple of minutes away" (quoted in Jelena Hahl Koch, Kandinsky, London, 1993, p. 322).

Kandinsky’s years in Paris resulted in works that many consider the crescendo of his artistic ideology. While his development was strongly influenced in the 1920s by his Bauhaus colleague Paul Klee, whose watercolors and oil paintings of these years demonstrate similar artistic predilections, Kandinsky’s production in Paris took a different direction. Paris at the time was culturally dominated by the Surrealists. The stimuli of Surrealist Paris inspired dramatic manifestations of color and form, most notably the shift from primary colors to pastels. Sharp textural and color contrasts characterize many works from his period, evoking a distinctive “musicality.” 

Although Kandinsky was well aware of Surrealism—he had exhibited with the proto-surrealist Dada group in Zurich in 1916 and the Surrealists in Paris in 1933—he was never a Surrealist. Their emphasis on automatic writing and the unconscious was from his concept of “inner necessity.” Rather he became interested in the idea of nature and natural growth. The new motifs that were incorporated into his paintings in 1934 were biological: images particularly related to zoology and embryology (see fig. 2). The sources for many of Kandinsky’s biological forms from this period can be found in the encyclopedia Die Kultur der Gegenwart, whose volumes were in the artist’s library and marked in many instances with references to illustrations which in turn can be found in specific canvases from the period. Kandinsky also clipped photographs from scientific articles on deep-sea life, such as algae, sea-polyps and plankton. Vivian Endicott Barnett suggests that "Kandinsky's images of amoebas, embryos and marine invertebrates convey spiritual meaning of beginning, regeneration and a common origin of all life. Because of his spiritual beliefs and his ideas on abstract art, Kandinsky would have responded to the meanings or rebirth and renewal inherent in the new imagery of his Paris pictures" (Vivian Endicott Barnett in Kandinsky in Paris (exhibition catalogue), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1985, p. 87).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York