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Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
signed with the monogram and dated 'K28' (lower left), dedicated 'Fr Frau Dr. Gertrud Grote als Zeichen meiner Verehrung und grosser Sympathie Kandinsky Dessau Juli 1929' (on the artist's mount), further inscribed 'N0331 1928 Gedmpft' (on the reverse mount)
watercolour in Spritztechnik and indian ink on paper
20.1/8 x 8in. (51 x 20.2cm.)
Executed in November 1928
Gift of the artist to Gertrud Grote, Dessau and Munich, July 1929.
Thence by descent to the current owner.
The Artist's Handlist, ix 1928, 331, Gedrngt
V. Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonn, Volume Two, 1922-1944, London, 1994, no. 921, p. 244 (illustrated)
Munich, Moderne Galerie Otto Stangl, Kandinsky, September-October 1948, no. 20

Lot Essay

Gedrngt was given by Kandinsky to Gertrud Grote, the wife of Dr. Ludwig Grote (1893-1974), the curator who was influential in the relocation of the Bauhaus from Weimar to Dessau in 1925.

From 1 July 1925 Vasily and Nina Kandinsky lived in Dessau, where Kandinsky was teaching at the Bauhaus. In addition to his writing and teaching, Kandinsky also took an active role in planning the special exhibitions which took place in 1926 to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. From July 1926 until December 1932 the Kandinskys lived in the master's house at Burgkhner Allee 6, Dessau, with Klee and his family. The close contact between the two artists inspired mutual influences. Not only the use of sprayed watercolour technique but also the playfulness of balancing triangular forms in Gedrngt relate to Klees work.
A prove of the close friendship of the two artists is the sister piece to the present work: the watercolour "Sans Titre" from 18 December 1928 which Kandinsky dedicated to his friend Paul Klee for his 49th birthday (V.Endicott Barnett no.924). Will Grohmann writes about Kandinsky's years in Dessau:"During the last years in Dessau, from 1929 to 1932, Kandinsky constantly gained in assurance and lightness of touch. A joy of living is particularly felt in his work. In certain paintings there is even a kind of philosophical humor. It is not that he works less strenously, but now he has mastered his craft so completely that he can paint any time, without waiting for outside stimulation.
To what extent did Kandinsky enlarge his expressive means and develop new conceptions during the Bauhaus years? Not only are his means very flexible, he transforms them endlessly. This is also true of his use of color in ever more unexpected and unfamiliar combinations.....The numerous studies, drawings and watercolours are invariably exact, and in structure and expression equivalent to the paintings, although not everything in the former proves usable in the latter. The splatter technique (Spritztechnik), for example, which from 1927 on often turns up in Kandinsky as in Klee, is not adapted to oils.(W. Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and Work, London, 1959, p. 210).

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