Study to Composition II 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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Wassily Kandinsky produced several different series of work during his experimental phase, one of which was termed his compositions. The item found here was a detailed study for the second of those paintings.

We can first spot the reduced level of detail across most of the items in this scene, which underlines its status as a study painting. Kandinsky would have drawn out some rough sketches in pencil elsewhere prior to starting on this version. He is attempting to find a layout that he is broadly happy with, at which point he would then be able to start on the final piece. He also has the opportunity here to experiment with colour too, and so takes the chance to try out a few ideas, all of which can be amended at a later date. Kandinsky would vary his style across his career, slowly becoming more and more abstract as he pushed ever onwards. It was as if his confidence grew over time and that he was able to find himself as an artist in his latter years. This piece, therefore, is a part of that earlier process.

In terms of Composition II, some elements are certainly easier to distinguish than others. Firstly, we find several tall, slim figures making their way across from the left hand side. There then appear to be more people within the centre of the painting, appearing to lean over whilst kneeling. Their attention is focused on a long white rectangle that reaches up to the top of the painting. Could this be some sort of river or waterfall? That seems the most likely explanation, but it is truly hard to be sure. Aside from that are areas of thick paint which perhaps deliver a sort of forest environment, with different trees intermingling together. To the right hand side we see more figures again, perhaps laying down. This suggests bathing, with the yellow tones maybe indicating a beach or open area besides the river.

There has been a rise in interest for this artist's study paintings over the last few decades because of the incredible value attached to his more famous artworks. The media attention received by some high profile sales of his work has meant that anything baring his name is fair game to collectors, and the valuations have risen accordingly. He remains one of the most respected and influential artists of the 20th century and any self-respecting art gallery with an interest in this period would work hard to add something from his career into their own collection. He also produced a number of prints from lithographs, etchings and woodcuts that are potentially more affordable to collectors.