Lot 17
  • 17


450,000 - 550,000 GBP
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  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Sans titre
  • signed with the monogram and dated 41 (lower left); dated 1941 and inscribed No. 75 on the reverse
  • watercolour and ink on paper
  • 22 by 50.6cm.
  • 8 5/8 by 19 7/8 in.
  • Executed in 1941.


Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris (acquired from the artist in January 1942) Van der Clip (acquired in 1944)

Private Collection, Paris

Sold: Sotheby's, London, 2nd July 1975, lot 263

Private Collection, New York (acquired by 1994)

Eykyn Maclean, New York & London

Acquired from the above by the present owner in April 2006 


Paris, Galerie L'Esquisse, Etapes de l'œuvre de Wassily Kandinsky, 1944


The artist's handlist: listed as 1941, 710 (Aq.s. blanc) Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1994, vol. II, no. 1345, illustrated in colour p. 477; illustrated p. 519 

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1941, the present work belongs to the last great period of abstraction in Kandinsky’s art. In 1933 the artist and his wife moved to Paris, in response to the political situation in Germany, with the intention of staying there for a year. However they remained in France for eleven years, until Kandinsky’s death in 1944. They settled in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, and the years spent there were among the artist’s most productive and fruitful ones. This new environment gave a fresh impetus to Kandinsky’s art, as Jean-Louis Prat has commented: ‘the work he created in the studio at Neuilly bear witness to a change in style and theme. To the severe geometric construction which characterised the works of his final Bauhaus years, he superimposes a repertoire of stylised and biomorphic shapes that seem to have been borrowed from the realm of molecular biology’ (J.-L. Prat, Kandinsky, Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 2001, p. 196). Following his move to the French capital, Kandinsky increasingly came into contact with works by Surrealist artists such as Joan Miró and Jean Arp, and under the influence of their style he moved away from the hard-edged geometrical abstraction that had dominated his œuvre throughout the 1920s. He found a new, more organic abstract idiom, reflected in the biomorphic shape of the present work. Coupled with a vibrant palette, this organic affinity imbues the composition with a wonderfully playful and optimistic character. Here, a variety of forms – both geometric and organic – is scattered across the surface of the paper, set against a neutral monochrome background. Combining his poetic sensitivity with a bright palette as well as with his theoretical principles, Sans titre brings together all the elements Kandinsky deemed essential for the fruition of abstraction: ‘in order to devote oneself fully to it, one must be a good draftsman, have great sensitivity for composition and for colours and, most importantly, be an authentic poet’ (quoted in ibid., p. 206).