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    Sale 1995

    Impressionist And Modern Art Day Sale

    7 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 376

    Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

    Beruhigt

    Price Realised  

    Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
    Beruhigt
    signed with monogram and dated '30' (lower left); signed again with monogram, numbered, dated and titled 'No 532 1930 "Beruhigt"' (on the reverse)
    oil on board
    19¼ x 19 1/8 in. (48.9 x 48.6 cm.)
    Painted in 1930


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    Executed in 1930, Beruhigt exemplifies the predominant traits of Kandinsky's work at the Bauhaus. Ordered and precise, with sharp, distinct forms at the center of the composition immersed in a soft field of color, it embodies the geometrical form of abstraction that Kandinsky practiced throughout his professorship at the Bauhaus. As an abstract work, Beruhigt evokes Kandinsky's renowned intention to 'express mystery in terms of mystery.' There is also, however, in the 'pulse' of the blurred elements in the present work, as well as in the attention-grabbing triangle at the heart of the picture, a hint of the visual trickery that Kandinsky's Bauhaus colleague--and next door neighbor--Paul Klee injects into his work of the late 1920s.

    It was during Kandinsky's early years at the Bauhaus that his approach to art became increasingly more technical and scientific. He referred to his pantings of this period as his 'cool' works and in 1926 he recorded his theories in Punkt und Linie zu Fläche which proclaimed his utopian ideals of the purpose and function of art: "Only by a process of microscopic analysis will the science of art lead to an all-embracing synthesis, which will ultimately extend beyond the boundaries of art into the realm of the union of the human and the divine." Aspects of his theories manifest themselves in the present work. Most noticeable is the prominence of the circle motifs. The circle intrigued Kandinsky. He believed that it could embody heaviness and lightness at once, the antithesis of itself. "The circle is the synthesis of the greatest opposition, it points most clearly to the fourth dimension," he declared.

    Provenance

    Nina Kandinsky, Neuilly-sur-Seine.
    Louis Clayeux, Paris.


    Literature

    The Artist's Handlist, vol. IV, no. 532.
    W. Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Cologne, 1958, p. 339 (illustrated, p. 381, no. 379).
    H.K. Roethel and J.K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Ithaca, New York, 1984, vol. II (1916-1944), no. 977 (illustrated, p. 886).


    Exhibited

    Kunsthalle Bern, Gesamtausstellung Wassily Kandinsky, 1955, no. 63.