Kandinsky at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, November 20, 2020 – May 23, 2021

“The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Kandinsky , a comprehensive exhibition of paintings and works on paper of artist Vasily Kandinsky (b. 1866, Moscow; d. 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) drawn primarily from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s rich holdings. The exhibition traces the aesthetic evolution of a pioneer of abstraction, a renowned aesthetic theorist, and one of the foremost artistic innovators of the early twentieth century. In his endeavor to free painting from its ties to the natural world, Kandinsky discovered a new subject matter based solely on the artist’s ‘inner necessity’ that would remain his lifelong concern.

In Munich in the 1900s and early 1910s, Kandinsky began exploring the expressive possibilities of color and composition, but he was abruptly forced to leave Germany following the outbreak of World War I, in 1914. The artist eventually returned to his native Moscow, where his pictorial vocabulary began to reflect the utopian experiments of the Russian avant-garde, who emphasized geometric shapes in an effort to establish a universal aesthetic language. Kandinsky subsequently joined the faculty of the Bauhaus, a German school of art and applied design that shared his belief in art’s ability to transform self and society. Compelled to abandon Germany again when the Bauhaus closed under Nazi pressure in 1933, Kandinsky settled outside Paris, where Surrealism and the natural sciences influenced his biomorphic imagery.

More so than any other artist, Kandinsky is intertwined with the history of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, established in New York in 1937. Industrialist and museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting Kandinsky’s work in 1929 and met him at the Dessau Bauhaus the following year. This exhibition illustrates the full arc of Kandinsky’s seminal career. Divided into four geographical sections, the exhibition follows Kandinsky through critical periods of his artistic development.” — Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Kandinsky. Black Lines (Schwarze Linien), December 1913. Oil on canvas, 130.5 × 131.1 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.241 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. In the Black Square (Im schwarzen Viereck), June 1923. Oil on canvas, 97.5 × 93.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.254 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Painting with White Border (Bild mit weißem Rand), May 1913. Oil on canvas, 140.3 × 200.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.245 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Composition 8 (Komposition 8), July 1923. Oil on canvas, 140.3 × 200.7 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.262 © Vassily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Improvisation 28 (Second Version) (Improvisation 28 [zweite Faßung]), 1912. Oil on canvas, 112.6 × 162.5 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.239 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Several Circles (Einige Kreise), January–February 1926. Oil on canvas, 140.7 × 140.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 41.283 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Blue Mountain (Der blaue Berg), 1908–09. Oil on canvas. 107.3 × 97.6 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 41.505 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Small Pleasures (Kleine Freuden), June 1913. Oil on canvas, 110.5 × 120 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 43.921 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Dominant Curve (Courbe dominante), April 1936. Oil on canvas, 129.2 × 194.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 45.989 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Striped (Rayé), November 1934. Oil with sand on canvas, 81 × 100 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 46.1022 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Around the Circle (Autour du cercle), May–August 1940. Oil and enamel on canvas, 97.2 × 146.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 49.1222 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Fragments, May 1943. Oil and gouache on board, 41.9 × 57.9 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 49.1224 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Kandinsky. Unshaken (Unerschüttert), February 1929. Watercolor and ink on paper, 35.4 × 49.1 cm. The Hilla von Rebay Foundation, On extended loan to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1970.94 © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020
Erfurth Hugo (1874-1948). Portrait of Kandinsky Paris, Centre Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne – Centre de création industrielle Photo (C) Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Guy Carrard © Vasily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

Exhibition is curated by Megan Fontanella, Curator, Modern Art and Provenance, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Images courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.