Open Green
Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
On View

Kandinsky was a trailblazer of modern art, a practitioner of ever-more-radical abstraction and the author of key theoretical works concerned with the spiritual and formal content of art. In Open Green, painted in 1923, his interests in spirituality and form seem to converge in a dreamscape of color and shape at once abstract and gnomically figurative. Born in Russia, Kandinsky was a devoted student of Russian folklore and icon painting, and the conglomeration of swooping shapes—a circle pierced by a long, slender diagonal; two curving, whiskered commas; a receding checkerboard of translucent color—in the upper right-hand quadrant of this composition has sometimes been read as a depiction of the equestrian Saint George, patron of the Russian Orthodox church, holding his lance and shield and galloping into the heavens.


  • Artist Name: Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
  • Title: Open Green
  • Date: 1923
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 38-1/4 x 38-1/4 in. (97.2 x 97.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1971.4.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

[Galerie Arnold (Ludwig Gutbier), Dresden, acquired from artist by 1936, to];
[Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin, 1936-1939, to];
Rudolf Bauer, Berlin, by February, 1939;
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1939 - (Sotheby's, New York, 20 October 1971, p. 22-23, no. 17)

Kandinsky Paintings and Graphics: Retrospective of Kandinsky's Bauhaus Years

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1989-01-19 to 1990-01-14
  • Brommer, Gerald, Exploring Painting, pp. 201, 399
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 747 p. 334
  • Weiss, Peg, Kandinsky and Old Russia: The Artist as Ethnographer and Shaman,no. 134 pp. 146-147
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 191
  • Campbell Abdo, Sara, Wassily Kandinsky, p. 23
  • Roethel, Hans K. and Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings 1916-1944,no. 704
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum,no. 286 pp. 242-243
  • Grohmann, Will, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and Work,no. 263, pl. 361 pp. 186, 334, 361
  • Grohmann, Will, Der Cicerone, p. 895
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Blue Vassily Kandinsky 1922
Lithograph for the Fourth Bauhaus Portfolio Vassily Kandinsky 1922
Lithograph No. III Vassily Kandinsky 1925

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