Open Green

Open Green
Artist:
Vasily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944)
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 
On View
Description

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.

Provenance:

[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)

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