Improvisation 12 (Rider) 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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Here we find another of Kandinsky's Improvisations, one of a series of abstract depicts of landscapes with which he was familiar. This piece is listed as being in either the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus or the Neue Pinakothek, both of which are in Munich, Germany.

This painting was completed in 1910 and is around one metre tall and wide. A large amount of this artist's work remains in Germany, the country in which he built his reputation. That said, he is now famous right across the world and shows no sign of disappearing from the world's focus, even though his career finished many decades ago. It was his modern, abstract work which became so popular and he was one of a number of artists who desired to reject their traditional teachings and set European art on a completely new course. It was almost like a political drive, an attempt to flatten the playing field and dismiss the rigid view points of academics. He succeeded, but it took many years to achieve acceptance, just as other ground breaking artists had experienced. He was joined a long the way by a number of other notable painters who shared his approach to art, adding their own expressive work into the mix, including the likes of Marc and Kirchner.

Within the composition we can immediately spot the horse and rider as mentioned in the title. There is then a flurry of detail around them that is hard to decipher. Experts would refer to some of the artist's other improvisations from around this period in order to better understand just what we are looking at. There are also some bright stripes of colour that climb across the background which are likely a combination of the sky plus rolling hills, the like of which made it into many of his paintings. To the right hand side we then witness some less natural looking constructions, which are presumably the pointed roofs of several buildings, suggesting a small town or even a fortified structure such as a castle. The artist studied theories around colour for many years, writing his own take on the matter in a series of publications and in Improvisation 12 (Rider) he would carefully construct the scene from a small palette of bright, complementary colours, including red, blue, purple and a sort of mustard tone.

Head to Munich to see this painting in person, alongside a good selection of other work from his extensive and varied career. German art was perhaps at its most dominant within the early 20th century, and Kandinsky was a major part of that, even though he was Russian himself. It was here that he felt comfortable in expanding his own creative mind and could work without restriction for many years. Sadly, this would change for Germans in the 1940s, but soon after the nation would return to this same atmosphere of innovation and experimentation.