We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Study for 'Painting with white border'



Vasily Kandinsky

Russia, Germany, France

16 Dec [in the Gregorian calendar] or 4 Dec [in the Julian calendar] 1866 – 13 Dec 1944

  • Details

    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
    Franco and Amina Belgiorno-Nettis and Family Contemporary Galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Vasily Kandinsky

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'Colour is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer.
    The soul is the piano, with its many strings. The artist
    is the hand that purposefully sets the soul vibrating.'
    – Wassily Kandinsky, 1911

    Between 1908 and 1914 the work of Wassily Kandinsky was
    transformed. His compositions became free in movement
    and colour and recognisable subjects were dissolved.
    For Kandinsky, this new art of abstraction unveiled greater
    realities than what can be seen, signalling the dawning of
    a ‘great spiritual age’.

    This watercolour samples this artistic revolution. There are
    vestiges of subject matter, with Saint George on horseback,
    pointing his lance to the outstretched dragon limbs in the
    lower left corner, but they are consumed by the movements
    of form and colour. Kandinsky’s spiritual creed of abstraction
    became widespread through his writings, and intensified in
    necessity urgency following the unimaginable apocalypse of
    the First World War.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 11 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 21 publications

  • Provenance

    H. van Assendelft, 1913, Gouda/The Netherlands

    J. van Assendelft-Hoos, circa 1931, Gouda/The 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/The 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/The 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.