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Wassily Kandinsky - Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2

by Helen Bremm

Kandinsky's early work "Landscape with Red Spots" was created at the time when he lived with the artist Gabriele Münter in Murnau in Upper Bavaria. In the painting we see an alpine landscape with towering mountains against a dramatic sky and, centrally in the picture, a village church with a soaring tower. The motif of the church, inspired by the church in Murnau, appears in many of Kandinsky's works from this period.

Kandinsky is considered the "father of abstraction" because, as is clearly visible in this work, he frees color from its descriptive function. Blue no longer has to indicate the sky, gray the mountains, green the meadow, but the colors can express emotions. Inspired by painters of German Romanticism , color for the artist expresses the sublimity and beauty of nature. He theorized that warm colors, like the red spots here, approach the viewer, whereas cold colors retreat into the canvas. This effect, in conjunction with the overlapping of pictorial objects, gives an impression of three-dimensionality, although the mountain landscape seems to float against a flat white background.

With this work, Kandinsky makes a decisive contribution to the fact that art no longer has to faithfully imitate nature. In doing so, Kandinsky expresses his spiritual and emotional connection to the colorful, musical alpine landscape. Through this abstraction, he is still at the beginning with this painting. His works became increasingly geometric and synthetic.

Wassily Kandinsky - Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2

Oil on canvas, 1913, 117.5 x 140 cm, Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice


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