Wassily Kandinsky - La forme tournée

Wassily Kandinsky

La forme tournée

Watercolour and gouache on black paper, on cream-coloured support card 49 x 30 cm Framed under glass. Monogrammed and dated 'K/38' in white lower left and numbered, titled, dated and inscribed '11819 - 21 - No 591 - "La forme tournée" - 1938 - 30 x 49,5 4' by hand verso. - In fine condition.

“Individually, every form is invented, and nonetheless the whole is a reality; it no longer has anything to do with the familiar and, nonetheless, it almost inexplicably recaptures it on another level. The starry sky is not a starry sky, the animal not an animal, the theatre not a theatre, there is no connection to the final forms of nature; however, there certainly are analogies to its laws of growth and formation.” (Will Grohmann, Kandinsky, Cologne 1961, p. 234) - this is how Will Grohmann summarises Wassily Kandinsky's works of the late 1930s in Paris.
With his decision to relocate to France, there was a shift in the artist's work: Kandinsky joined the association "Abstraction-création" and in many respects his work became characterised by a hybrid character, linking construction with intuition, a biomorphic-organic formal vocabulary with a seemingly scientific-technical one.
While many of Kandinsky's gouaches from the Parisian period exhibit a musically light tenderness, the composition of the “forme tournée” produces an unmistakably cool impression. The white forms seem to rain down like schematic images of combs or rakes; their (achromatic) colour becomes inverted underneath the semi-transparent coloured lenses superimposed on top of them. In this juxtaposition, it seems possible to very concretely grasp the interactions between colour and form, whose dynamic interplay may be understood as one of the central themes in Kandinsky's work. Not without dissonances, the multicoloured composition of the circles over the white forms produces a complex interplay of extremely diverse chromatic combinations - a remarkable and challenging composition created during a tumultuous period.
Around fifteen years had passed since Kandinsky had been called to become a teacher at the Bauhaus, and around five since it had been closed by the Nazis and he had departed from Germany. At that time, in 1938, the world saw the catastrophe of World War II looming before it. While the utopian project of the avant-garde had been denounced and declared permanently terminated with the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich in 1937, Solomon R. Guggenheim and Hilla von Rebay presented numerous works by Kandinsky in their epochal exhibition “Art of Tomorrow”, held in New York in the summer of 1939.

List of works

Endicott Barnett 1225


We would like to thank Vivian Endicott Barnett, New York, for confirmatory information and scientific consultation.


Nina Kandinsky, Paris (until 1974); Galerie Maeght, Paris (1974); Guy Loudmer, Paris, Auction 27 October 1982, lot 28; Sotheby's, London, auction 30 Nov. 1988, lot 510; Private collection (until 2006); Sotheby's, New York, Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale 8 Nov. 2006, lot 430; Private collection, Switzerland


Paris 1947 (Galerie René Drouin), Kandinsky: gouaches, aquarelles, dessins, cat. no. 42; Liège 1947 (Association pour le progrès intellectuel et artistique de la Wallonie), Kandinsky: gouaches & dessins, cat. no. 41; London 1950 (Gimpel fils), Kandinsky, cat. no. 21; Saint-Paul-de-Vence 1966 (Fondation Maeght), Kandinsky Centenaire 1866-1944, cat. no. 99; Humlebaek 1971 (Louisiana Museum), Klee-Kandinsky, cat. no. 67 (Louisiana-Revy no. 2, October 1971); Zurich 1972 (Galerie Maeght), Kandinsky: Ölbilder, Gouachen, Zeichnungen, cat. no. 57; Charleroi 1972 (Palais des Beaux-Arts), Wassily Kandinsky: rétrospective, cat. no. 72; Madrid 1978 (Fondación Juan March), Kandinsky 1923-1944, cat. no. 58; Tokyo 1989 (Fuji Television Gallery), Wassily Kandinsky, with colour illus., without cat. no.

Lot 223 Nα

200.000 € - 250.000 €

210.800 €