Vassily KANDINSKY (Moscow, 1866 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1944)

Composition

29.5 x 42 cm. (11 58 x 16 ½ in.)
1931. Pen and black ink on paper.

Provenance
· France, Private Collection.

One of the founders of abstract art, Vassily Kandinsky turned to painting fairly late, after an initial career as a law professor at the University of Moscow. In 1896, he settled in Munich to study first at a private school and then at the Fine Arts School with Franz von Stuck, where future Bauhaus members Josef Albers and Paul Klee were co-disciples. Between 1910 and 1920, the artist abandoned figurative painting for pure abstraction, measured by the rhythmic use of color. He theorized his approach to art, especially painting, in his work, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, in 1911.

After the Revolution, Kandinsky actively participated in renewing how art was taught. He was elected Vice President of the Academy of Fine Arts in Russia. In 1921, he returned to Germany to participate in the exhibition of Russian Art. The following year, Walter Adolph Georg Gropius offered him a position teaching mural painting at the Bauhaus. Kandinksy remained one of the key Bauhaus figures until 1933, when the rise of the Nazis forced him to emigrate to France.

Dated 1931, the Composition which we present dates to the Bauhaus period. Here the artist plays with the checker board pattern which appears in his work for the first time in 1922 in a picture entitled Black Frame, which develops around a black and white chequered pattern. Here the checkerboard motif is more developed and occupies a major portion of the paper, but the alternation of white and black squares remains unfinished. On the left side, circles surround triangles and squares. This composition illustrates Kandinsky’s conception of the circle as linked to the fourth dimension. Bringing together contrasts in a single form, this geometric form frequently appears in the artist’s work.

We would like to thank Mr. Jean-Christophe Vincent, a specialist of the artist, for having authenticated our work (certificate dated January 31, 2018).

General Bibliography (Unpublished Works)
José de LOS LLANOS, L’aquarelle de Dürer à Kandinsky, Paris, 1996.
Hélène TRESPEUCH, "Le motif de l’échiquier dans l’œuvre de Kandinsky: quelle abstraction ?" Le jeu d’échecs comme représentation, Paris, 2009, pp. 97-109.

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