Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Property from the collection of Charles and Nonie de Limur, San Francisco
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Binz auf Rügen

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Binz auf Rügen
signed 'Kandinsky' (lower left)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
13 x 9 3/8 in. (32.9 x 23.9 cm.)
Painted in 1901
Marlborough Fine Art Limited, London (by 1959).
Peter Nathan, Zurich.
The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre Ltd.), London.
Barnet Shine, London; sale, Sotheby & Co., London, 1 July 1970, lot 91. Peter Matthews, London.
Comte and Comtesse Charles de Limur, San Francisco (circa 1970).
By descent from the above to the present owners.
H.K. Roethel and J.K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London, 1982, vol. I, p. 165, no. 154 (illustrated; titled Rapallo--Gabriele Münter Am Strand and dated 1906).
London, Marlborough Fine Art Limited, Art in Revolt, Germany 1905-25, October-November 1959, p. 84, no. 51 (illustrated, p. 121; dated 1905).
Sale room notice
Please note the amended medium for this work:
oil on canvas laid down on panel

Brought to you by

David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

We are grateful to Vivian Endicott Barnett for her assistance in cataloguing this work.

Binz auf Rügen is a rare, early work by Kandinsky that epitomizes his innovations in the Neo-Impressionist style and anticipates his exploration with luminous color as a future member of the Blaue Reiter. In 1901, Kandinsky produced a small number of oil paintings on Rügen, a picturesque island on the Baltic sea. Working primarily in oil and in small format, Kandinsky worked to capture the atmosphere and ambience of the beach and surrounding landscape. The paintings Kandinsky created on Rügen show the artist in early maturity. Heavily influenced by the Neo-Impressionist techniques with which he had been experimenting, the thick impasto of his paintings has grown so intense that they become almost over-laden with color.

Kandinsky joined the Munich Academy in 1900 to take classes taught by Franz von Stuck. He soon, however, left his academic studies to become a founding member of the Phalanx group in Schwabing at the end of May 1901. Phalanx operated as both a school and a gallery aiming to move away from the traditional conservatism of the academy by teaching and exhibiting a more avant-garde approach to art. Kandinsky became president of the society later that year and planned most of the exhibitions, including one of the first exhibitions of Monet's work in Munich.

Kandinsky's works of 1901 mainly consist of small oil studies completed en plein air. The artist wrote in his Rückblicke: "If the weather was at all decent, I would paint every day for an hour or two" (quoted in V. E. Barnett, Vasily Kandinsky, A Colorful Life, New York, 1996, p. 45). These plein-air studies, executed with paint taken directly from the tube, show the growing influence of Monet's sense of light and Signac's stylistic technique on the artist. In the present work, his use of the palette knife to apply the paint in thickly worked and textured strokes infuses it with an expressive weight of color that, in its immediacy and simplicity, seems to be on the point of breaking down his rigorously constructed composition, anticipating the artist's move towards abstraction.

Of the present painting, Vivian Endicott Barnett notes: "Kandinsky went to Binz only during the summer of 1901: three other pictures from that visit are known and share similarities with the painting from the de Limur Collection. For example, 'Binz auf Rügen (Dämmerung),' which was in the artist's estate and now belongs to the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, reveals similar colors and application of paint (with the palette knife as well as the brush) and also bears the artist's inscription 'Binz auf Rügen.' Likewise, the fact that all four paintings done on Rügen are signed in red in an early form of the artist's signature confirms the date of 1901."

According to Ms. Barnett, a label attached to the reverse of this work bears the title ('Binz a/Rügen') in the artist's hand and confirms the revised date for this painting.

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