I’m sooo abstracted

Kandinsky – not high on my art must see list.  Primarily because I really didn’t know anything about him or too much about “modern” art or the Bauhaus school,  which he taught at before the Nazi’s closed it in 1933. However the Guggenheim has a whole floor devoted to him that might just turn you into a fan.  You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but a tremendous amount of planning went into the painting below.  It’s the first time that an artist didn’t attempt to paint representationally.

“The sun melts all of Moscow down to a single spot that, like a mad tuba, starts all of the heart and all of the soul vibrating.”

There are perhaps 3-4 color studies he did before painting this as well as a dozen or so sketches which show him trying to figure out placement of the elements.  You can actually feel him struggling with what he wants to express and having a hell of a time working it out.   I love it.  He was trying to capture the soul of his native Moscow in an entirely new art language, abstraction.

I’m not the only one who does a napkin sketch of my life and know it isn’t quite how I wanted it to look.  Struggling to “figure it out.”  In the end he solved his problem by surrounding the core of the painting with a swath of white cloud.  White space.   I’ll take another serving of white space, please.

Vasily Kandinsky, Painting with White Border (Bild mit weissem Rand), May 1913. Oil on canvas, 140.3 x 200.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift  37.245. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Vasily Kandinsky, Painting with White Border (Bild mit weissem Rand), May 1913. Oil on canvas, 140.3 x 200.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.245. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris


One Comment on “I’m sooo abstracted”

  1. SigO says:

    After the the person who tells you to behave in the museum (called a docent you say) told me to take my “important” client call from the hallway, I left the room to return and say “I don’t get it” which is the most common phrase I utter in an art museum. Thankfully, you explained. What was most interesting about these pieces was the representational aspects in an otherwise abstract piece. Seems transitional, and important. After years of museums, it’s fun to see the progression of art through history in person. Not so sure about all the new stuff, but this one was enjoyable.


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