Study for 'Painting with white border'
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.
(Study for 'Painting with white border') Variation III
Etude pour 'Peinture au bord blanc' Entwurf zu 'Bild mit weissem rand'
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.
Not on display
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Kertentoonstelling, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Netherlands, late 1931–early 1932
Maîtres Français XIXe et XXe Siècles, E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, Jun 1958–Aug 1958
Selection, Sidney Janis Gallery, United States, Dec 1958–Jan 1959
Works of art from the collection of Mr and Mrs Markus Mizne, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Summer 1966–Summer 1966
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
Kandinsky: Kleine Freuden Aquarelle und Zeichnungen:
- Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany 07 Mar 1992–10 May 1992
- Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany 23 May 1992–02 Aug 1992
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Jun 2010–19 Sep 2010
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
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 51.
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 148 (colour illus.).
Renee Free, Art and Australia, 'European Acquisitions: 1972-83', pg. 63-67, Sydney, Spring 1984, cover (colour illus.), 66.
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.).
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.).
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). cat.no. 137
Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, 200 (colour illus.).
Kandinsky, catalogue raisonné of the oil-paintings, London, 1982-1984, 462. Vol.1, 1900-1915; mentioned in association with cat.no. 465 'Painting with white border'
Kandinsky at the Guggenheim, New York, 1983, 105 (illus.). cat.no. 39. fig. C, mentioned in association with the Guggenheim's painting 'Painting with white border'
Gazette des beaux arts, Paris, Mar 1983.
Sotheby's London: Highly important twentieth century paintings, London, 30 Mar 1982, (colour illus.). cat.no. 7
Sotheby's London: Important Impressionist and Modern drawings and watercolours, London, 03 Dec 1980, (colour illus.). cat.no. 141a [illustration is upside down]
Kandinsky, Amsterdam, 1947. cat.no. 23, 'Compositie, omstreeks 1913'. Coll. J.J.M. Schijvens
Portrait of a Gallery, 'European 20th Century Art', pg. 91-95, Sydney, 1984, 95 (colour illus.).
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers
Kandinsky watercolours: catalogue raisonne, London, 1992, 302 (illus.) 303. Vol.1, 1900-1921; cat.no. 338
Kandinsky: watercolours and drawings, Munich, 1992, (colour illus.). cat.no. 23
Kandinsky: Kleine Freuden Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, Munich, 1992, (colour illus.). cat.no. 23
Kandinsky über Kandinsky, Bern, 1986, 191-192 (illus.). cat.no. 30c