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Study for 'Painting with white border'



Wassily Kandinsky


16 Dec 1866 - 13 Dec 1944


Vasily Kandinsky's artistic personality had been formed in part by the examples of peasant painting he collected as a prosperous solicitor. When he later made his leap to full-time creative practice, he sustained his interest in the decorative principles of Russian and other folk art traditions. This watercolour study for one of Kandinsky's breakthrough abstractions of the pre-war period contains residual representations of a horse and rider: the primitive St George familiar from his earlier work. The background is a landscape complete with rustic village. Yet to read the image literally robs it of its power of association. Kandinsky's intention is to loosen reality from recognisability, to set it adrift. The new vista he unveils is in the realm of the spiritual and the resulting work of art is authentically abstract. With his fascination for theosophical and mediumistic beliefs, and his idealistic faith in the improving potential of painting, Kandinsky was as much a priest of art as a painter.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.


Other Title

(Study for 'Painting with white border') Variation III

Alternative title

Etude pour 'Peinture au bord blanc' Entwurf zu 'Bild mit weissem rand'



Media category


Materials used

watercolour, gouache, ink


39.0 x 35.0 cm image; 57.0 x 52.0 x 3.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r., watercolour "K" [in a triangle monogram]. Not dated.


Purchased 1982


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Wassily Kandinsky

Works in the collection


Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history


H. van Assendelft, 1913, Gouda/Netherlands

J. van Assendelft-Hoos, circa 1931, Gouda/Netherlands, Information from 'Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonne, Vol. 1, 1900-1921' by Vivian Endicott Barnett, 1992 p.303.

J.J.M. Schijvens, circa 1947, Zeist/Netherlands, Information from 'Kandinsky Watercolours, Catalogue Raisonne, Vol. 1, 1900-1921' by Vivian Endicott Barnett, 1992 p.303.

E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., pre Aug 1958, Amsterdam/Netherlands

Sidney Janis Gallery, Aug 1958-02 Jan 1959, New York/New York/United States of America, Acquired by Sidney Janis Gallery from E.J. Wisselingh & Co. summer 1958. Information from Sidney Janis Gallery 30 Mar 1983.

Markus B. Mizne, 02 Jan 1959-30 Mar 1982, Paris/France, Purchased by Mr and Mrs Mizne from Sidney Janis Gallery, 2 Jan 1959. Information from Sidney Janis Gallery 30 Mar 1983. Painting included in Sotheby's, London 'Important Impressionist and Modern Drawings and Watercolours' 3/12/1980, Lot 141a [not sold]

Sotheby's London, 30 Mar 1982, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Sotheby's London, 30 March 1982 "Highly important 20th century paintings", lot no. 7.

Referenced in 20 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). 137

Vivian Endicott Barnett and Armin Zweite, Kandinsky: watercolours and drawings, Munich, 1992, (colour illus.). 23

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky at the Guggenheim, New York, 1983, 105 (illus.). 39. fig. C, mentioned in association with the Guggenheim's painting 'Painting with white border'

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky watercolours: catalogue raisonne, London, 1992, 302 (illus.) 303. Vol.1, 1900-1921; 338

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'European 20th Century Art', pg. 91-95, Sydney, 1984, 95 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales collection series 4, 'Vasily Kandinsky 1866-1944. Study for 'Painting with white border', 1913', pg. 9-12, Sydney, Winter 1983, 9 (illus.).

Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers

Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 148 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 51.

Renee Free, Art and Australia, 'European Acquisitions: 1972-83', pg. 63-67, Sydney, Spring 1984, cover (colour illus.), 66.

Public Galleries', Art and Australia (Vol. 20, No. 2), 'Recent Acquisitions, Sydney, Summer 1982, 204 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 88 (colour illus.).

Terence Maloon, Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, 200 (colour illus.).

Hans K. Roethel and Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, catalogue raisonné of the oil-paintings, London, 1982-1984, 462. Vol.1, 1900-1915; mentioned in association with 465 'Painting with white border'

Sotheby's London (Editor), Sotheby's London: Highly important twentieth century paintings, London, 30 Mar 1982, (colour illus.). 7

Sotheby's London (Editor), Sotheby's London: Important Impressionist and Modern drawings and watercolours, London, 03 Dec 1980, (colour illus.). 141a [illustration is upside down]

Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Kandinsky, Amsterdam, 1947. 23, 'Compositie, omstreeks 1913'. Coll. J.J.M. Schijvens

Felix Thürlemann, Kandinsky über Kandinsky, Bern, 1986, 191-192 (illus.). 30c

Armin Zweite and Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky: Kleine Freuden Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, Munich, 1992, (colour illus.). 23

Editor Unknown (Editor), Gazette des beaux arts, Paris, Mar 1983.