The Golden Sail Wassily Kandinsky Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This early painting from Wassily Kandinsky is dated at around 1903. It is now in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, alongside a number of other artworks from this artist.

Das goldene Segel, to give it it's original German title, features a ship heading off from the shore in a very darkly contrasting artwork. The detail is essentially drawn from an overall black background, with each line creating form. The Golden Sail is the only element that is filled in with any great concentration, meaning it also immediately grabs our attention when seeing the painting for the first time. Below it a few simple lines help to create the rest of the boat as well as the sailor himself who appears to be angling the rudder as the boat sets out on its journey. The shoreline sweeps past in an attractive manner, and a single hut can be seen between a row of trees that reach up towards the top of the painting.

A study of the medium of this artwork reveals why the style is as it is here. It is actually a woodcut, where Kandinsky would have carved into the piece to create form. He is then known to have added additional paint over the top in order to create the colourful finish that we find here. He did make use of lithographs, woodcuts and etchings at different points of his career, but they were never his main focus, with that label being given to his large number of works in oil. It was that art form which best suited his approach, with colour being a fundamental consideration around most of what he did. That said, his work with alternative formats, such as The Golden Sail, gives us an insight into his versatility as an artist.

This piece is believed to be a part of the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York although it won't necessarily be on permanent display, such is the huge number of items that they count within their overall inventory. Head here to enjoy some related painters such as Matisse or Mondrian, other great names who have taken their own path within art history and consistently challenged the norms in a creative and expressive way. The institution has also created spin-off locations elsewhere which help them to continue to attract new fans as well as offering a greater display capacity to cope with such a large and impressive collections of paintings and sculptures that all deserve to be on permanent display.