Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
THE COLLECTION OF DRUE HEINZ
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Mohrencafe

Details
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Mohrencafe
gouache on board
13 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (34.5 x 50 cm.)
Painted in 1905
Provenance
Gabriele Münter Stiftüng, Munich.
Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London (by 1961).
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., New York (acquired from the above).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, December 1968.
Literature
V.E. Barnett, Kandinsky Watercolors: Catalogue Raisonné, 1900-1921, New York, 1992, vol. I, p. 159, no. 166 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Munich, Städtische Galerie, Kandinsky, Gabriele-Münter-Stiftung und Gabriele Münter: Werke aus fünf Jahrzehnten, February-April 1957, no. 32 (dated 1904).
Kunstverein in Hamburg, Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele-Münter-Stiftung, Gabriele Münter, November 1958-January 1959, no. 27 (dated 1904).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Kandinsky: The Road to Abstraction, April-May 1961, no. 13 (illustrated; dated 1904).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., 19th and 20th Century Drawings, Watercolours and Sculpture, December 1962-January 1963, no. 36 (dated 1904).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Drawings, Watercolours, Collages: Expressionism, Bauhaus, Dada, January 1966, no. 14 (illustrated; dated 1904).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Kandinsky and His Friends: Centenary Exhibition, November-December 1966, p. 11, no. 5 (illustrated, p. 12).

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Lot Essay

On 6 December 1904, during one of his many extensive travels through Europe between then and 1908, Kandinsky, accompanied by Gabriele Münter, departed on a steamer from Marseille to Tunis. They arrived at their destination on Christmas Day and remained until 5 April 1905. During this time, Kandinsky made numerous drawings in three sketchbooks and several “colored drawings” depicting the surrounding landscape, architecture and Tunisian genre scenes, such as the present work. Few of these colored drawings remain today.
Kandinsky’s abiding interest in the decorative components of color, rhythmical line and pattern are evident in the present work, particularly in his use of tinted cardboard as both painterly tool and medium. As Vivian Endicott Barnett notes, "The colored drawings...reflect Munich's Jugendstil environment as well as Art Nouveau tendencies in general, as can be seen in the stylization, the relative lack of perspectival depth, the tendency towards the decorative, an interest in applied and decorative arts and a heightened interest in folk art... Another characteristic of the colored drawings is the tendency to stylize the scenery. The figures are rendered as types and not as recognizable individuals. In the colored drawings Kandinsky did not attempt realistic portraiture of a naturalistic representation of landscape; it was the spiritual meaning of the representation which was important to him" (op. cit., p. 14).

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