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Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky "Leise Deutung"
500,000 - 700,000 U.S. dollars

Sale Date:
Nov 08, 2006
Sale Number: 1722
Lot Number: 4

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Leise Deutung
signed with monogram and dated '29' (lower left); signed with monogram and dated again, titled and numbered 'Leise Deutung 484 1929' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
26½ x 13¼ in. (67.3 x 33.7 cm.)
Painted in December, 1929

Kandinsky painted this vibrant, dramatic composition in 1929 while teaching at the new Bauhaus, which had relocated to Dessau in 1925. The roster of teachers included Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, László Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer, under the directorship of Walter Gropius. The Bauhaus emphasis on architecture and technological design encouraged him to experiment more broadly with geometric imagery and the linear structuring of space.

The symbiotic relationship between art and music is also central to Kandinsky's work and is clearly reflected in Leise Deutung. In his seminal treatise Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky declared that "The power of profound meaning is found in blue.... In music a light blue is like a flute, a darker blue a cello; a still darker a thunderous double bass; and the darkest blue of all--an organ". In the present picture, the dark blue indeed compares to the deeply resonant notes of a double bass--a concrete example of Kandinsky's color theory.

Kandinsky also investigates in Leise Deutung the pictorial relationships between points, various lines and angles, repeated forms and the placement of horizontal and vertical elements. The creation of lines from points, and planes from lines suggested energy, rhythm and movement to the artist, seen here in the juxtaposition of two dimensional form against the slanting planes of color. It is through this revolutionary exploration of geometry and color that the artist succeeded in creating his own language of painting.

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