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

After moving to Munich at the age of 30 to paint, Russian-born Vassily Kandinsky quickly assumed the role of leader among the city’s avant-garde artists. Coming of age as a painter in this vibrant milieu led Kandinsky to create the first non-objective paintings in the history of art. Originally he was inclined toward the expressionist qualities of color, but by the time he completed a decade of teaching at the Bauhaus and moved to Paris, he began to prize form over color. Nevertheless, his works created during this transitional moment in 1932–33 project a spiritual quality that always rested at the core of his abstract painting. The floating rectangles and glowing orb of Unequal give a sense of objects hovering in space, particularly as the thin brushstrokes of sky-blue give way to the infinite black background beneath. Interestingly, this picture had been purchased by Galka Scheyer but was missing from her collection when it was bequeathed to the Norton Simon Museum in 1953. Lost for nearly two decades, the painting was found and acquired in 1972 and returned to its place alongside the other works of her collection.


  • Artist Name: Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944)
  • Title: Unequal
  • Date: 1932
  • Medium: Oil and gouache on canvas
  • Dimensions: 23-5/8 x 27-5/8 in. (60.0 x 70.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase for The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Alexander P. Hixon
  • Accession Number: P.1972.01
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Museum

Object Information

The artist, July 1933 to;
Galka Scheyer, who purchased from the artist 1942-45 [missing at final settlement of Scheyer Estate, Superior Court of California,1956];
1948 Auction held for the benefit of "Institute of Modern Art" in Beverly Hills, sold to;
Mrs. Eleanor Seymon, 1948-1972, sold 24 March 1972 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, for the Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Alexander P. Hixon in 1972; transferred 1975 to;
Norton Simon Museum.

The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee

  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum, 1933-10-04 to 1933-10-30

Paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, the "Old Master" of Abstract Art

  • Oakland Art Gallery, 1935-01-02 to 1935-01-30
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935-05-05 to 1935-06-09

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

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1989-01-19 to 1990-01-14


  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-01-13 to 1994-09-11

Selections from the Permanent Collection

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1971-07-13 to 1971-09-19

Maven of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in California

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2017-04-07 to 2017-09-25

The Blue Four and Their Contemporaries

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1991-06-20 to 1992-05-24

The Blue Four

The Universe: Creation, Constellations and the Cosmos

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2001-02-04 to 2001-06-04

Bauhaus Painters; Spirit of Modernism: Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky, Oskar Schlemmer, Alexander Archipenko, Alexei Jawlensky and Others

  • Seoul, Ho-Am Art Museum, 1996-02-08 to 1996-04-28

My Four Kings: Galka Scheyer and the Blue Four

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2002-12-13 to 2003-04-14

The Blue Four-Galka Scheyer Collection From The Norton Simon Museum

  • Henry Art Gallery, 1997-07-17 to 1997-10-05

The Spirit of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in the New World

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-11-17 to 1996-01-14
  • Haas, Robert B., Du, p. 39
  • Grohmann, Will, Wassily Kandinsky: Life and Work, 1958, p. 339
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 1976, no. 241 pp. 83, 90
  • Roethel, Hans K. and Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings 1916-1944, 1984, no. 1022
  • Campbell Abdo, Sara, Wassily Kandinsky, 1994, p. 31
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum, 2002, no. 294 pp. 255-256
  • Ostuka, Michael, Libertarianism without inequality, 2003, cover

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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