Launischer Strich ("Capricious Line") was executed in 1924, one year before the Bauhaus moved from Weimar to Dessau. It was a time when Kandinsky's fascination with the spatial relationship between different forms reached a crescendo, in particular the circular form. The first circle composition had been executed in 1923, and here in Launischer Strich one year later the artist is combining the form with triangular and square shapes set against a shimmering dark blue and black background in a quasi-celestial setting. The geometric forms are set-off in sharp contrast to the white serpentine line.
Concerning the circle, Kandinsky wrote to Will Grohmann, "[The circle] is a link with the cosmic. But I use it all formally. Why does the circle fascinate me? It is (1) the most modest form but asserts itself unconditionally, (2) a precise but inexhaustible variable, (3) simultaneously stable and unstable, (4) simultaneously loud and soft (5) a single tension that carries countless tensions within it. The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric and the ex-centric in a single form, and in balance. Of the three primary forms (triangle, square, circle), it points most clearly to the fourth dimension" (quoted in W. Grohmann, op. cit., pp. 187-188).
In 1929 the artist again considered his view of the circle, "If I make such frequent, violent use of the circle in recent years, the reason (or cause) for this is not the geometric form of the circle, or its geometric properties, but my strong feeling for the inner force of the circle and its countless variations; I love the circle today as I formerly loved the horse, for instance--perhaps even more, since I find more inner potentialities in the circle, which is why it has taken the horse's place. In my pictures, I have said a great many 'new' things about the circle, but theoretically, although I have often tried, I cannot say very much".
The present work was formerly in the collection of Diego Rivera, one of Kandinsky's greatest admirers. In his diaries, Rivera wrote of Kandinsky that he was "probably the greatest pioneer of modern abstractionism" (D. Rivera, My Art, My Life, New York, 1991, p. 138), and as Grohmann has noted, "In a tribute to Kandinsky written on the occasion in San Francisco (1931), the painter Diego Rivera observed that Kandinsky's art is not a reflection of life, but life itself; that he is the most realistic of painters because his works foreshadow the advent of a new universal order". Reacting to this description, Kandinsky, flattered to have Rivera as a devotee, wrote a letter to the Mexican artist on 21 May 1931 in which he enthused, "Believe me, you have caused me very great pleasure with your opinions on my art. You can well imagine that I have periods of great loneliness, but I know at the same time that it will not always be so. It pleased me greatly to know that you own some of my pictures" (B.D. Wolfe, Diego Rivera: His Life and Times, New York, 1939, p. 389).