Collection: Vassily Kandinsky

During the period 1910-1914, Kandinsky turned increasingly to abstract art, as his expressionism fused with Fauvism (fl.1905-7), Cubism (fl.1907-14) and Orphism (fl.1910-13), leading him to dispense with figurative elements. Coloured surfaces, distinct from subjective forms and edged in black, became 'signs' (Improvisation III, 1909, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Sketch Composition II, 1909, Guggenheim Museum, New York). Then, by abandoning the tradition of spatial illusion, he affirmed the two-dimensional character of the canvas and at the same time the arbitrary nature of his space. Little by little the black outlines became autonomous graphic elements, in ever-increasing numbers, while the colours started to overflow the edges of the 'subject' (Church, 1910, Stadtische Galerie, Munich; Composition IV, 1911, Kunstzammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen, Dusseldorf; With the Black Arch, 1912, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Improvisation, 1912, Guggenheim Museum, NY).