Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Schweres zwischen Leichtem

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Schweres zwischen Leichtem
signed with the monogram and dated '24' (lower left); titled, dated and numbered 'No. 145 1924 - Schweres zwischen Leicht [sic]' (on the backboard)
gouache, watercolour and India ink on paper laid down on the artist's mount
13 3/8 x 19 1/8 in. (33.8 x 48.7 cm.)
Executed in June 1924
J.B. Neumann, New York, by whom acquired from the artist on 23 September 1936.
Galerie Nierendorf, New York, by whom acquired in the 1940s.
Galka E. Scheyer, Los Angeles, until 1945.
Milton Wichner, Los Angeles, until 1953.
Private collection, Los Angeles.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 15 November 1990, lot 139.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 6 February 2007, lot 69.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
The artist's handlist, no. 145.
V. Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, 1922-1944, London, 1994, no. 703, p. 110 (illustrated pp. 79 & 110).
Dresden, Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, October 1924.
Wiesbaden, Neues Museum, Wassili Kandinsky, January - February 1925, no. 38.
Barmen, Ruhmeshalle, Bauhausmeister, March 1925; this exhibition later travelled to Bochum, Gemäldegalerie, April 1925; and Dusseldorf, Galerie Nierendorf, October - November 1925.
Milan, Galleria del Milione, Kandinsky, April - May 1934, no. 145. Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kandinsky. Kleine Freuden: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, March - May 1992, no. 97 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, May - August 1992.
Lugano, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Kandinsky nelle collezioni Svizzere, June - October 1995, no. 30, p. 185 (illustrated).
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

A complex mixture of pure abstraction and compositional elements drawn from the structure of a landscape, Schweres Zwischen Leichtem ('Heavy between Light') is an intricate, richly detailed work painted by Kandinsky at the Weimar Bauhaus in June 1924. As its title suggests, this painting, like much of Kandinsky's work from this period, is a formal exercise in counterpoint that directly explores the nature of tensions created by a carefully orchestrated composition of purely abstract geometric form and colour.

Schweres zwischen Leichtem was painted by Kandinsky at a time when, as a teacher of analytical drawing at the Bauhaus, he was putting into practice elements that he would later effectively preach in his painstakingly detailed 1925 treatise on abstract painting Pünkt und Linie zu Fläche ('Point and Line to Plane'). Playing with many of the conventions of landscape painting, Schweres zwischen Leichtem uses the simple formal elements of geometry to create an apparent vista in which three vertical conglomerations of abstract form appear to pictorially articulate a sense of 'heaviness' and 'lightness' operating in direct conjunction. Here, the apparent lightness that circles, lines and triangles attain, when set against the open and seemingly infinite white background of the paper ground, is openly contrasted with the apparent density that similar rectangles and downward-facing semi-circles gain when set in conjunction with a dark, solid background such as that of the angular, building-like, brown form at the picture's centre.

Aside from these central forms, Kandinsky has built around them using certain traditional pictorial conventions. A sense of depth and perspective is both suggested and yet also subverted by the angles of the brown form and the seemingly receding horizontal lines of different colour at the top of the page for instance. In addition the apparent progression of small coloured triangles to the left of this central form also encourages a sense of perspective, as if, like a line of musical notes, these triangles are advancing from the infinite expanse of white space in the painting's interior. The composition has also been anchored by larger geometric forms in the foreground such as the two cloud-like semi-circles on the lower left and the dark rectangular blocks of brown and blue, bottom right. These remnants of traditional composition, which can often be discerned in even the most abstract of Kandinsky's works, once again reinforce the central dynamism of the picture which remains the strange nonsymmetrical relationship between the small close-knit forms of the 'heavy' element and the more open and harmonious elements of its 'light' areas.

For Kandinsky the successful arrangement of such simple geometric forms into a stimulating composition was dependent on fixed, but as yet unknown laws of dynamics and colour. Painting, for him, was not an end in itself but a contributory organizing force that could reveal these unseen laws in action. An understanding of these laws would therefore not just result in the creation of successful and dynamic paintings but also become a path to understanding the hidden laws of nature and the spirit. To understand the affinity between the elements and laws of nature and those of the arts, Kandinsky believed, would pave the way for a synthesis of all arts of the spirit, and the ultimate transcendence of specialization in the wider name of culture. It was essentially for this reason that he taught at the Bauhaus and why he taught many disciplines other than painting at the school.

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