Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence: Painting with White Border

Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence: Painting with White Border

Item #: 11644
Editor: Elsa Smithgall

Wassily Kandinsky was perhaps the most significant and influential figure in 20th-century abstraction. Born in Russia in 1866, Kandinsky’s pioneering vision and philosophy on art would change the way art was both viewed and approached for generations to come.  His masterwork Painting with White Border (1913; Guggenheim Museum), inspired by his native Moscow, emerged during an intensely creative period in his artistic development. The catalogue Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence presents a rare, in-depth examination of the painting and more than fifteen preparatory studies in watercolor, oil, and pencil, along with closely related works made during this influential chapter in Kandinsky's career.

This handsome book includes essays illuminating how Painting with White Border also relates to Kandinsky's writings. Elsa Smithgall, curator of The Phillips Collection, illuminates the complex iconography in Painting with White Border and its relationship to Kandinsky's writings, including Concerning the Spiritual in Art and his autobiography Reminiscences. A jointly authored essay by The Phillips Collection’s head of conservation Elizabeth Steele and Jillian McMillan, senior conservator for the Guggenheim museum presents the results of a recent conservation analysis of the painting and its related oil sketch, revealing important new discoveries about the artist's creative process, materials, and methods. A third essay by Annegret Hoberg, curator, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, sheds light on the previously unknown painting beneath Kandinsky’s Sketch I for Painting with White Border, attributed to his partner, painter Gabriele Münter.

136 Pages, Yale University Press 2011

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