Swinging (Schaukeln) Wassily Kandinsky Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Swinging dates from 1925 and is one of the few artworks from Kandinsky to be found within the collection of the Tate Modern in London, UK. This piece captures the essence of this artist, with bright colours and complex arrangement of geometric shapes.

At this stage in his career, the artist was starting to move towards a very precise use of form, where items held a greater independence from each other. Here we find the background starting to become somewhat neutral and the outlines of each shape are precise to a level that you would normally only find in etching or drawing. While there are still some tones that vary in lightness and darkness, everything feels much crisper than some of his earlier pieces where abstract shapes would merge closely with each other and, indeed, also with the more vibrant background. The layout in front of us features an assortment of shapes such as triangles, circles and a brightly coloured grid. The circle to the top feel somewhat like a scene of cosmology but it is hard to link much of the rest to anything that you might encounter in reality.

In actual fact, the artist was attempting to throw away any connection to real life, and produce art that held a similarlity with music, where no reality can be found. He even worked for a number of years to find ways of bringing music and art together and was one of a number to do this, along with Klee for example. This rejection of traditional form meant that colour choices were even more important than previously thought, and so he would spend much time considering the different combinations of primary and secondary tones. Klee himself did similar with the likes of Three Houses and a Bridge, Senecio and Cat and Bird. Besides those two, you will find similarly abstract approaches in the careers of related artists such as Mondrian, Miro and Chagall, all of whom are also featured alongside Swinging within the collection of the Tate Modern. This institution purchased the piece in 1979 through a combination of private and public funding.

The Tate Modern is known to own Cossacks and also a lesser known piece called Siebdruck fur den Verlag Sintesi from 1935. This institution remains one of the best places to see art in the world, with a focus on 20th century Europeans. A Bigger Splash by David Hockney, Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso and Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali are some of the highlights and the Tate itself holds more traditional art within its other venues, such as the Tate Britain, also in London. The selection is extraordinary and has been built up over a long period of time, sometimes taking advantage of some state aid in order to help the nation improve its cultural offering, as well as protecting its ownership of items already in the country.