Lithographie fur die Fierte Bauhausmappe, from Bauhaus Drucke - Neue Europäische Graphik, 4te Mappe: Italienische und Russische Künstler [Bauhaus Prints - New European Graphics, 4th Portfolio: Italian and Russian Artists]
35.5 cm x 31.5 cm (14 in. x 12 3/8 in.)
(Moscow, Russia, 1866 - 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
Medium and Support:
Four-color lithograph from four stones
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Mr and Mrs. Richard Gonzalez, 1989
Wassily Kandinsky’s art and theoretical treatises, such as Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911), were instrumental to the development of abstraction in the early twentieth century. Made during the artist’s first year as a professor at the Bauhaus, this lithograph stands out as one of the few nonfigurative works in a portfolio that includes Surrealist, Cubist, and Futurist works. The print can also be read as a prefiguration of Point and Line to Plane, the textbook that he published for one of his classes in 1926. The book redefined the elements of composition and their relationships to each other in a work of art.
Using shards of primary color, overlapping geometric shapes, and competing gestural strokes, Kandinsky exploded the idea that expression and content in art depend on the figure. Distributed throughout Europe and the United States, the portfolio of which this lithograph is a part spread revolutionary ideas about the definition and function of art in an increasingly democratic and global society.