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Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION 
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Der kleine Punkt

Details
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Der kleine Punkt
signed with the monogram and dated '39' (lower left)
gouache on black paper
15 x 19 1/4 in. (38 x 48.5 cm.)
Executed in February 1939
Provenance
Nina Kandinsky, Paris.
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Private Collection, Geneva.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 December 1980, lot 157a.
Galerie Thomas, Munich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in July 2009.
Literature
J. Cassou, Wassily Kandinsky, Interférences, Aquarelles et dessins, Paris, 1960, pp. 21 & 50 (illustrated).
H.K. Röthel, Kandinsky, Das graphische Werk, Cologne, 1970, no. 50 (illustrated n.p.).
V. Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky, Watercolours, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, 1922-1944, London, 1994, no. 1251 (illustrated p. 457).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Maeght, Kandinsky, Aquarelles et gouaches, Collection privée de Madame W. Kandinsky, September - November 1957, no. 42.
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Kandinsky, September - November 1958, no. 91.
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Aquarelles et gouaches de W. Kandinsky, April - May 1959, no. 26.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Sale Room Notice
This lot was marked with the Artist Resale Right (ARR) symbol in error.  ARR does not apply to this lot.

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Annie Wallington
Annie Wallington

Lot Essay

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.

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