Die Grüne Frauen [The Green Women]
14.2 cm x 27.85 cm (5 9/16 in. x 10 15/16 in.)
(Moscow, Russia, 1866 - 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
Medium and Support:
Linoleum cut printed in color with additional hand coloring
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1981
In 1911, Wassily Kandinsky published "On the Spiritual in Art," a manifesto inspired by the teachings of Theosophy, musical theory, and Symbolist art and literature. Kandinsky proposes that art can guide viewers to greater spiritual sensitivity, communicating with them directly by producing “vibrations” in their souls. These vibrations would be generated by an expressive, Symbolist-inspired color theory and concealed imagery Kandinsky compares to the dematerialized language of Symbolist author Maurice Maeterlinck.
"The Green Women" represents an early stage in the pursuit of a spiritual form of art that would lead Kandinsky to abstraction. Like the Symbolists, Kandinsky believed that color could evoke moods, or even sounds, and vice versa—a phenomenon known as synesthesia. For him, the color green represented a balance between earthly, aggressive yellow and calm, spiritual blue. While "The Green Women" presents recognizable forms, Kandinsky downplayed the visible. He treated such images as vehicles for ideas, writing, “The contents, the inner meaning, must be felt.”