Der kleine Punkt is one of a number of gouaches on black paper that Wassily Kandinsky created during his last years in Paris. Executed in February 1939, a time of immense uncertainty and tension, as Europe moved closer towards war, Der kleine Punkt reveals nothing of the angst and hardships that Kandinsky and his wife, Nina, experienced while living in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris at this time. Instead, this work presents the artist revelling in his unique, abstract language of forms that he had created throughout his career. With thin lines, the variety of forms in Der kleine Punkt appears weightless, floating against the black background. A sense of lightness pervades as forms are delicately balanced on top of one another. The finely applied, bright colours appear all the more luminous against the black background; the little, white dot, to which the title Der kleine Punkt alludes, resonates in the very centre of the image, acting as a point of stasis around which the floating forms are arrayed.
In contrast to the rigid, geometric structure and straight lines of Kandinsky’s Bauhaus abstract works, Der kleine Punkt exemplifies the increasingly lyrical, and often organic-based nature of the artist’s Parisian works. The crescent shapes suggest semi-eclipsed moons, while the planes of individual, coloured dots also appear to have an organic, natural quality. Throughout the 1930s, Kandinsky had become interested in the similarities between the structures in art and in nature, becoming fascinated by the biomorphic and stylised forms of molecular biology for example, which were themselves simultaneously abstract and figurative. His interest in the microscopic analysis of these forms is illustrated in an essay he wrote in 1935, entitled ‘Two Directions’, in which he describes an ‘internal eye’, that ‘penetrates the hard shell, the external ‘form’, goes deep into the object and lets us feel with all out senses its internal ‘pulse’.’ (W. Kandinsky, ‘Two Directions’, in K. C. Lindsay and P. Vergo (eds.), Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, Paris, 1982, p. 777). The minute detail of the lines and coloured dots in Der kleine Punkt is illustrative of the new organic, pictorial vocabulary that Kandinsky had introduced into his work of the time, demonstrating, with exquisite detail, the internal ‘pulse’ and rhythm of his carefully chosen pictorial forms.