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Sale: 400 / Modern Art, Dec. 08. 2012  
Lot: 3  
Kandinsky, Wassily 
Die Nacht - Große Fassung, 1903. 
Result (incl. 22% surcharge): 53,680 EUR / 70,320 $
Estimate: 40,000 EUR / 52,400 $  
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Wassily Kandinsky


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Wassily Kandinsky - Die Nacht - Große Fassung  
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Lot: 3
Wassily Kandinsky
1866 Moskau - 1944 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Die Nacht - Große Fassung. 1903.
Woodcut in colors.
Roethel 6/ presumably II (of VI); Kandinsky catalog no. 6, there also inscribed with title "Spazierende Dame" and "Die Dame", also as no. 6c with "Die Nacht". Signied and inscribed "Holzschnitt (Handdruck)". Rare. One of the very few copies on the international auction market. On Japon. 29,9 x 12,8 cm (11,7 x 5 in).
Differentiating the individual printing states of this woodcut was not a simple task even for the author of the catalog raisonné of prints, Hans Konrad Roethel. Out of the six states that Roethel mentions, the third is questionable. For our sheet the comparison with the indications in Roethel is also difficult as some criteria - rich drawing within the contours of the lady's skirt, as well as in the facade of the second house - speak for the second state, whereas other criteria - less drawing within the contours of the hat, less coloring, may be due to the impact of light, however, they could also speak for a later state. As the monogram is lacking in lower left, the two latest states can be excluded. The different color states are the result of the second printing block's dying. Roethel mentions only two printing blocks.

PROVENANCE: Galerie Alfred Gunzenhauser, Munich
Private collection Southern Germany.

Kandinsky was born in Moscow on 4 December 1866. After studying law and economics in Moscow he decided to become a painter and moved to Munich in 1896. Here he began studying at Anton Azbè's art school, then went to Franz von Stuck who trained him from 1900 to 1901 and finally, completed his studies at the Munich Kunstakademie. As early as 1902 he was already teaching at the 'Phalanx-Malschule' and soon became the president of the artist group. Here he met Gabriele Münter who was one of his pupils in his painting class. They went on extensive trips abroad together and then moved into a shared apartment in Munich in 1908.

The early color woodcut, one of the most beautiful Kandinsky had ever made, was made to express his feelings for Gabriele Münter. "In Paris I sold the woodcut >Die Dame< (showing my love for you)", wrote Kandinsky on 25 October, 1904 to Gabriele Münter. The theme calls reminiscence of figures in Russian fairy tales. In its elongation the large hrer länglichen Strecfemale figure shows elements of Art Nouveau. The monumental figure with the over-sized hat embodies something unreal-diffuse, but also the magic of a night. Later Kandinsky abandoned all narrative aspects in his fairy tale illustrations in favor of pure abstraction. In this color woodcut, however, Kandinsky is an ingenious processor of old Russian sources of inspiration, which he cuts into lino with great technical poise. Their secret magic is both in the coherent composition as well as in the unusual color effect.

An educational journey to Murnau in Upper Bavaria impressed Münter so much that she bought a house here where she and Kandinsky would spend many summers working intensely. Kandinsky was one of the founding members of the 'Neue Künstlervereinigung' in 1909, and one year later, in 1910, he made his first purely abstract watercolor. This revolutionary step towards abstraction was justified in his book 'Über das Geistige in der Kunst' which Kandinsky published in 1912. Together with his artist friends Paul Klee, August Macke and Franz Marc Kandinsky founded the 'Blauer Reiter' in 1912 and published the almanac with the same name together with Marc. Walter Gropius invited him to teach at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1922, where he founded the artist group 'Die Blauen Vier' together with Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky in 1924. Kandinsky emigrated to France in 1934 and settled in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris. He continued working until his death in his adopted home-country France on 13 December 1944. [KD].

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