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11 of 18

Wassily Kandinsky

(French, born Russia, 1866–1944)

Kleine Welten III (Small Worlds III)

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Object Details

Artist

Wassily Kandinsky

Date

1922

Medium

Four-color lithograph

Dimensions

Image: 11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)
Sheet: 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Paul Ehrenfest, Class of 1932

Object
Number

79.026.006

Kandinsky’s first encounter with the graphic arts occurred at the printing firm of Kusverev in Mosco(…)

Kandinsky’s first encounter with the graphic arts occurred at the printing firm of Kusverev in Moscow, where he became art director in 1895. Although his work for the firm was totally commercial, Kandinsky quickly assimilated printing techniques into his oeuvre, and his interest in the graphic arts continued into his years in Munich. He did numerous color woodcuts for the Blaue Reiter almanac and for his book of poems, Klänge. In June 1922 Kandinsky moved to Weimar, where he accepted a professorship at Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus school. At this stage his work was in a transitional phase, moving from more identifiable subjects to purely abstract images, characterized by a free-ranging spirituality coupled with a more confining adherence to the laws of mathematics. In all his work, as the subject retreated, color took on a more prominent role, communicating strong emotional power. Kleine Welten was the result of years of exploring varied and complex issues in diverse media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, and writing. Produced as a series of twelve images in the graphic workshops of the Bauhaus and at an independent firm in Weimar under the artist’s supervision, this group of lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts captures the disciplined passion of the artist. In the floating shapes and swirling lines, ranging from soothing to totally frenetic, a “cosmic” ballet is performed, suggestive of other realities, unknown worlds. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,” 1998)

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