Artwork of the month February

Wassily Kandinsky, Entre Deux, 1934, Hilti Art Foundation

Wassily Kandinsky

*1866 in Moscow, Russia, †1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Entre Deux, 1934

Oil, tempera on canvas

Hilti Art Foundation

The painting Entre Deux belongs to Wassily Kandinsky's late work. The painter had the privilege of looking back on many years of fruitful and successful endeavour. He was a professor at the University of Moscow, at the Bauhaus in Weimar and later in Dessau, had published acclaimed theoretical writings on art (Über das Geistige in der Kunst [Concerning the Spiritual in Art], 1910; Punkt und Linie zu Fläche [Point and Line to Plane], 1926) and had shown many of his paintings in international exhibitions. Then, in 1933, the National Socialists shut down the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin, whereupon Kandinsky, who had acquired German citizenship in 1928, decided to emigrate to Paris. Despite financial straits in his new environs, where his art initially met with somewhat cool detachment, Kandinsky soon began producing work that featured a positively oriental voluptuousness of colour and form. The geometric tectonics of the Bauhaus years gave way to canvases displaying largely biomorphic, free-floating configurations. He gave a new materiality to his pictorial elements, for the first time mixing sand into his paints. Seven of fifteen works that he painted in 1934 show this additive. One of them, Entre Deux, seems to give us an insight into both micro- and macrocosmic universes.

The division of the motif into two parts is notable. Also found in other works made at the same time, these "twin forms" unite and divide, complement each other dialectically and may perhaps be interpreted as feminine and masculine, spirit and matter, or becoming and passing.

Kandinsky speaks of "inner necessity" as the driving force that gives form to his abstract art. That inner necessity did not yield work that required an objectified something beyond the painting for its justification. But in the 1930s, he felt the abstract relied too much on the object, from which it still appeared to be 'abstracted'. Like Theo van Doesburg just a few years earlier, Wassily Kandinsky pondered and wrote about the concrete in art which refers to nothing but itself. Given these premises, one must be wary of reading symbolic interpretations into his later work.

Uwe Wieczorek

<b>Wassily Kandinsky, Entre Deux, 1934, Hilti Art Foundation</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.