Severe in Sweet
Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
Not on View

In 1928 Kandinsky created 25 oil paintings and more than 100 watercolors, Severe in Sweet being one of them. Kandinsky sent Severe in Sweet along with others to Galka Scheyer in Los Angeles for her to sell on consignment in 1933. She expressed great fondness for Severe in Sweet, and through correspondence, they worked out an arrangement for her to buy it for her own collection. In a letter dated December 30, 1938, she wrote to Kandinsky:

“This watercolor, in case you don’t remember it, has a light brown circle in the upper right-hand corner with brighter circles which renew themselves in the yellow space. Joined to these are some lines that resound with every renewal. For the circle soars and breathes, just as life, I am sure, constantly renews itself and resounds whenever it touches the lines that exist in space. It is one of your works that really says ‘Yes.’”

In his response, Kandinsky proposed the following offer: “The watercolor 318 Severe in Sweet with which you are flirting costs $40 net. For you the price would be $20 net.”


  • Artist Name: Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
  • Title: Severe in Sweet
  • Date: 1928
  • Medium: Watercolor and colored ink on laid paper
  • Dimensions: 16-7/8 x 12-1/8 in. (42.9 x 30.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.201
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Museum

Object Information

The artist, July 1933 to;
Galka Scheyer, who purchased from the artist 1938-1940;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena,1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

Exposition d'aquarelles de Wassily Kandinsky

  • Paris, Galerie Zak, 1929-01-15 to 1929-01-31
  • The Hague, Kunstzaal de Bron, 1929-03-16 to 1929-04-12
  • Galerie Le Centaure (Brussels, Belgium), 1929-05-25 to 1929-06-05
  • Haas, Robert B., Du, p. 29
  • Campbell Abdo, Sara, Wassily Kandinsky, p. 30
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, Kandinsky Watercolours: Catalogue Raisonné, 1922-1944,no. 908
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum,no. 293 pp. 253-255
  • Ana Salvador, Dessiner avec...Vassily Kandinsky,2016, p. #7
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena,no. 240 pp. 83, 91

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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