Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Property from a Private California Collection
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Dünner druck

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Dünner druck
signed with monogram and dated '24' (lower left)
gouache, watercolor and brush and pen and India ink on paper laid down on card
13 ½ x 9 5/8 in. (34.4 x 24.4 cm.)
Executed in February 1924
Nina Kandinsky, Paris (wife of the artist).
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired from the above, 1972).
Galerie Skulima, Berlin.
Galerie La Boétie Inc. (Helen Serger), New York (1982-1984).
John Rothschild, New York (1984).
Galerie Michael, Beverly Hills.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, August 1999.
The Artist's Handlist of Watercolors, no. 117.
V.E. Barnett, Kandinsky: Watercolours, 1922-1944, New York, 1994, vol. 2, p. 96, no. 673 (illustrated).
Halle, Roter Turm, Kandinsky, October 1929.
Paris, Galerie Maeght, Kandinsky: Aquarelles et gouaches, Collection privée de Madame W. Kandinsky, November 1957, no. 18.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Fort Worth Art Center; Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Ithaca, Cornell University, White Museum of Art; Louisville, J.B. Speed Art Museum; Manchester, New Hampshire, Currier Gallery of Art; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Pasadena Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Center; Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Kunstmuseum Bern, Kandinsky Watercolors, April 1969-July 1971, no. 17 (Bern, no. 26).
Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, October 1971-January 1972, p. 39, no. 52.
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Kandinsky: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, June-July 1972, pp. 24 and 72, no. 27 (illustrated in color, p. 25; titled Zarter Druck).
Paris, Galerie Karl Flinker, Kandinsky: Peintures, dessins, gravures, éditions, oeuvres inédites, October-December 1972, no. 4 (titled Pression Légère).
New York, Pace Gallery, Kandinsky: Watercolors and Drawings, 1911-1943, March-April 1973, no. 7.
Vienna, Galerie Ulysses, Kandinsky, Klee, Kupka: Olbider, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, February-March 1977 (illustrated in color; titled Zarter Druck).
Zurich, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Wassily Kandinsky: Zeichnungen 1910-1944, November-December 1978.
New York, Galerie La Boétie Inc. (Helen Serger), Art of the Bauhaus, March-June 1982, p. 9 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

A complex mixture of pure abstraction and geometric compositional elements, Dünner druck (Subtle Pressure) is an intricate, richly detailed work executed by Kandinsky in February 1924 during his second year of teaching at the Weimar Bauhaus. As its title suggests, this work, like much of Kandinsky's oeuvre 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 color.
Influenced by his encounters with the Constructivist artists Kazimir Malevich and Alexander Rodchenko during his years in Russia, Kandinsky began to introduce carefully angled, hard-edged geometrical elements to his work. This new approach is particularly evident in the present composition, where a series of precise perpendicular and vertical lines are created with the assistance of a ruler. These lines surround the perimeter of the composition in an attempt to contain the more free-floating curves and squiggles within. In a nod to the title of the work, the sense of pressure appears to have jostled the remaining hard-edged lines to haphazard, diagonal positions. Generating tensions and counter-tensions, these shapes hang together in a series of complex relationships and associations that lends Dünner druck a vibrant internal energy and dynamism. In an interesting take on words and meaning, the catalogue raisonné provides an alternate translation of “Subtle pleasure.” In this way, the present work embodies Kandinsky’s aim “to create by pictorial means…pictures that as purely pictorial objects have their own, independent, intense life” (Kandinsky, quoted in K. Lindsay and P. Vergo, eds., Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, New York, 1994, p. 345).

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