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Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
LOT ID: 78659
Ohne Titel, ie. circa 1920

Watercolor, Ink, Pen, on paper.
8 х 11.25 in. (20.32 x 28.58 cm.)
Unsigned, inscribed, not by the artist, on the lower left in Cyrillic, "N 31. Perosn. zak/V.v. Kandinskogo
Lot description
Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, December 16, 1866–December 13, 1944) was an early 20th-century Russian painter whose work is most closely characterized by pure Abstraction. With both parents as musicians, Kandinsky himself was led to playing both the piano and the cello from a young age. Several of his paintings have musical titles, including the series Improvisations and Compositions, which highlight the influence this upbringing had on his art. "Ohne Titel" encompasses just such thematic abstractions, with emphasis on the interplay of shapes and colors to express the emotional tenor of a musical score. According to Nina Kandinsky, this work is also a study for the embroidery on a dress designed by Nadezhad Petrovna Lamanova, a famous Russian Avant-garde dress designer. "Ohne Titel" measures 8 x 11.25 inches (20.3 x 28.6 cm) and is in excellent condition.

Kandinsky gave up a lucrative career of teaching at age 30 to enroll in art school in Munich, Germany. It is said that while he was still in Russia, Kandinsky was able to see an exhibit featuring the painting of Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), which was a large part of his artistic inspiration. It was the series Haystacks at Giverny that inspired him to think of art in such a nontraditional way. It is said that Kandinsky was bothered by Monet's Impressionistic style; however, Kandinsky's own work would go beyond simple Impressionism into the realm of Abstraction.

Not only was Kandinsky a painter, but he was also an influential art theorist. His theoretical philosophies were first published in 1910 in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art. In 1911, Kandinsky famously established the Blaue Reiter, or Blue Rider, art group whose Gabriele Münter (1877-1962), Franz Marc (1880-1916), August Macke (1887-1914), Paul Klee (1879-1940) are part of. After the start of World War I in 1914, he left Germany and returned to his hometown of Moscow. Kandinsky was also well-known for his later ties to the historical German Bauhaus School. While at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky taught basic design to advanced theory. In 1926, he published the book Point and Line to Plane. After the closing of the Bauhaus by the oppressive Nazi regime, Kandinsky moved to France where he would live until his death. Kandinsky gained French citizenship in 1939. Five years later, he died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, leaving behind an Abstract art legacy.
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Untitled (Ohne Titel) by Wassily Kandinsky
  • Untitled (Ohne Titel) by Wassily Kandinsky
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