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    Sale 7736

    Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

    24 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 126

    Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

    Harte Weisung

    Price Realised  


    Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
    Harte Weisung
    signed with the monogram and dated '30' (lower left); numbered, dated and inscribed 'no. 392 1930 "Harte Weisung"' (on the reverse of the artist's mount)
    watercolour, pen and ink with Spritztechnik on paper laid down on the artist's mount
    sheet: approx. 20 x 14 3/8 in. (51 x 36.5 cm.)
    mount: 24 x 18 3/8 in. (61 x 46.8 cm.)
    Executed in September 1930

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    Executed in 1930, Harte Weisung (Hard Instruction) embodies the form of sharply defined abstraction that Kandinsky practiced throughout his professorship at the Bauhaus. Central to Kandinsky's teaching was his theory of the relationship between colour and form, and his art led him to experiment with spatial tensions between geometric forms. This tension is most pronounced in Harte Weisung which, as the title suggests, is a study of the inner dynamics of hard-edged diagonal lines and oblong shapes. These rhythmic pictorial elements are held within the bounds of a rhombus-shaped framing device created with a stencil and spattered watercolour pigment. Watercolours assumed an important and independent role in Kandinsky's work during the Bauhaus period and this new Spritztechnik, learned from his friend and colleague Paul Klee in 1927, allowed him to further manipulate the expressive potential of the medium, introducing a freehand touch that runs counter to the geometry of the whole.

    The bold, sharp shapes of Harte Weisung deviate from the organic forms and narrative references evident in Kandinsky's earlier work and clearly show the constructivist principles he had absorbed during his however, fundamentally opposed to the Constructivist's suppression of all feeling, emotion and intuitive logic in their work. The abandonment of this, he asserted, reduced their 'calculated constructions' to mere 'mechanics'. This led him to define a new approach to the constructivist aesthetic rooted in the counterbalance of intuitive creation and the strict formal vocabulary he had painstakingly formulated over several years and finally published in his 1926 treatise, Punkt und Linie zur Fläche (Point and Line to Plane) (see lot 122). 'Art is never produced by the head alone' he insisted, 'We know of great paintings that came solely from the heart. In general, the ideal balance between the head (conscious moment) and the heart (unconscious moment - intuition) is a law of creation, law as old as humanity' (W. Kandinsky, 'Art Today', in Cahiers d'Art, Paris,1935, p. 83).

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    Private collection, Stockholm (according to the Artist's Handlist).
    Galerie Maeght, Paris.
    Acquired by the present owner in the 1950s or 1960s.

    Pre-Lot Text



    The Artist's Handlist, no.: 'ix 1930, 392, Harte Weisung'.
    V. Endicott-Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, 1922-1944, New York, 1994, no. 985 (illustrated p. 285).


    Milan, Galleria del Milione, Kandinsky, April - May 1934, no. 393. London, Gimpel Fils, Kandinsky, June 1950, no. 12.
    Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Carl Gemzells samling, 1996, p. 18 (illustrated p. 19).