Heavy Circles
Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
On View

Writing to the art historian Will Grohmann in 1930, Kandinsky explained the crucial role of the circle in his recent work: “It is a link with the cosmic and I use it above all formally... The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric with the ex-centric in a single form and in balance.” The cosmic resonance of circles is powerfully felt in this composition, where fifteen of them—each delineated with a slender halo of bright paint—seem to float in space, imaginary planets in orbit and eclipse.


  • Artist Name: Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
  • Title: Heavy Circles
  • Date: 1927
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 22-1/2 x 20-1/2 in. (57.2 x 52.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.216
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Museum

Object Information

The artist, consigned summer 1928 to;
[Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, Dresden];
later gifted by artist in May, 1933 to;
Galka Scheyer;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena,1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

Vasily Kandinsky 1966-1944: A Retrospective Exhibition [organized by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum]

  • Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, 1963-01-15 to 1963-02-15
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1963-03-01 to 1963-04-01
  • Portland, The Portland Art Museum, 1963-04-15 to 1963-05-15
  • Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute, 1963-06-01 to 1963-07-01
  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1963-07-15 to 1963-08-25
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, 1963-09-19 to 1963-10-20
  • Columbus Museum of Art, 1963-11-05 to 1963-12-05
  • St. Louis, Washington University Art Gallery, 1963-12-22 to 1964-01-06
  • Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1964-02-05 to 1964-03-05
  • Worcester, Worcester Art Museum, 1964-03-20 to 1964-04-20
  • Brougher, Kerry; Jeremy Strick, Ari Weisman, Judith Zilczer, and Olivia Mattis, Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900, p. 104
  • Roethel, Hans K. and Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings 1916-1944,no. 841
  • Peabody, Rebecca, et al., Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945-1980,2011, Fig. 1-4 p. 8
  • Roethel, Hans K. and Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, pp. 132-133
  • Katzenstein, Peter J., Sinicization and the Rise of China,2012, Cover Cover
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum,no. 289 pp. 246-248
  • Andréi Nakov, Kandinsky the Enigma of the First Abstract Painting,2014, fig. 15 p.181
  • The Blue Four. Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee in the New World,no. 76 pp. 176, 345-6
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena,no. 236 pp. 83, 87
  • co-edited by Naman P. Ahuja and Louise Belfrage, A Mediated Magic: The Indian Presence in Modernism,2019, fig. 1 p. [4], p. 8; p. [1] (ill.), p. [9] (ill.)
  • Varga, Richard S., Gerschgorin and His Circles, cover
  • Campbell Abdo, Sara, Wassily Kandinsky, p. 26
  • Wünsche, Isabel, Galka E. Scheyer and the Blue Four: Correspondence 1924 - 1945,Plate X p. 337
  • Grohmann, Will, Wassily Kandinsky: Life and Work,cc 262 pp. 206, 336, 371
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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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