Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Stufen (Steps)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Stufen (Steps)
signed with the monogram and dated '30' (lower left); signed, dated, numbered and inscribed 'No.373/1930 - "Stufen" = Marches à Madame M.Vauret comme souvenir au Mars 1930 à la "Galerie de France", sincerement, Kandinsky' (on the back of the artist's mount)
gouache and watercolour on blue paper attached to the artist's mount
7 5/8 x 11 1/8 in. (19.5 x 28.2 cm.)
Executed in March 1930
Mme Vauret, Paris, a gift from the artist in 1930.
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
Private collection, New York.
Private collection, Switzerland.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
V. Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky, Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 2, 1922-1944, London, 1994, no. 965, p. 275.
V. Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky, Drawings, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 2, Sketchbooks, London, 2007, p. 326 (illustrated p. 249).
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.

Brought to you by

Annie Wallington
Annie Wallington

Lot Essay

Executed in March 1930, Stufen or Steps exemplifies the predominant traits of Wassily Kandinsky’s work at the Bauhaus. Ordered and precise, with sharp, distinct lines and forms, Stufen embodies the geometrical form of abstraction that Kandinsky practiced throughout his time as a teacher or, ‘Master’, at the Bauhaus, which had moved in 1925, from its original location in Weimar to a new site in Dessau.

It was during his time at the Bauhaus that Kandinsky’s approach to his art became increasingly more technical and scientific, regulated and considered. In Stufen, rectangles, triangles, regular lines, and a circle are arranged in an abstract interplay of forms, and colour is confined by the edges of the various shapes. Central to Kandinsky’s artistic theory was the relationship between form and colour, and this led him to experiment with the spatial tensions between geometric shapes. Stufen is, as the title suggests, a study of the stacked rectangular forms that dominate the composition, placed on top of one another like steps. The interrelation of forms is further seen in the juxtaposition of the curved edge of the circle, a form that intrigued Kandinsky due to its embodiment of ‘the greatest oppositions’, with the pointed tip of the triangle below it. Kandinsky recorded his theories of this time in his famous treatise, Punkt und Linie zur Fläche (Point and Line to Plane). Published in 1926, four years before Stufen was executed, in this text Kandinsky outlined the function and purpose of art, explaining the emotive power of the individual elements of picture making. At the same time, Kandinsky asserted that the principles of artistic construction should always be counterbalanced by the impulses of the painter’s intuition, fusing the constructivist aesthetic with creative instinct. In this way, Kandinsky created a geometrical language that was imbued with a spiritual, mystic quality that he believed was the defining concept in the creation of art.

More from Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

View All
View All