Wassily Kandinsky



On loan

ACMI (Melbourne, Australia): Pudong

Wassily Kandinsky 1866–1944
Original title
Oil paint on board
Support: 705 × 502 mm
frame: 954 × 750 × 80 mm
Purchased 1979

Display caption

The title ‘Swinging’ captures this work’s sense of movement. Kandinsky believed painting should aim to be as abstract as music. He worked to create art that was free from all references to the material world. For him, colour in particular was essential for liberating art from representing the visible world.

Gallery label, August 2019

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Catalogue entry

T02344 SWINGING 1925

Inscribed ‘K/No 291/1925’, ‘“Schaukeln”’ and ‘50 × 70’ on back of millboard
Oil on millboard, 27 3/4 × 19 3/4 (70.6 × 50.1)
Purchased from Mme Andrée Stassart (Grant-in-Aid) 1979
Prov: Mme Nina Kandinsky, Paris; with Galerie Maeght, Paris; Mr and Mrs Victor Kiam, New York; with New Gallery, New York; Mr and Mrs Paul M. Hirschland, New York, 1960; Japanese buyer 1973; with Berggruen, Paris; Mme Andrée Stassart, Liège, 1974
Exh: Kandinsky, Kunstverein Jena, Prinzessinnenschlösschen, Jena, March–April 1925 (no catalogue traced); Kunstausstellung Dresden 1925, Dresden Kunstgenossenschaft exhibition, Brühlsche Terrasse, Dresden, July–October 1925 (350); Kandinsky, Braunschweig, May 1926 (no catalogue traced); Kandinsky, Stendhal Art Galleries, Los Angeles, February 1936 (15); Kandinsky, Galerie Chalette, New York, November–December 1957 (11, repr.) as ‘Rocking’; Wassily Kandinsky, New Gallery, New York, February 1961 (9, repr.); Wassily Kandinsky 1866–1944: A Retrospective Exhibition, Guggenheim Museum, New York, touring exhibition to the Pasadena Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Marion Koogler McNay Institute, San Antonio, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1962 (35, repr. in colour); Proposal for a Collection of Contemporary Art, Cultural Center of the Philippines Museum, Manila, October–November 1976 (23, repr. in colour): Fundamental Aspects of Modernism, Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Northridge, March–April 1977 (24, repr. in colour); Early Twentieth Century Masterpainters, Museum of Albuquerque, June–July 1977 (24, repr. in colour)
Lit: Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky: Life and Work, 1959, No.291, pp.195, 335, repr. p.364 (illus. 178) as ‘Shaking’
Repr: Tate Gallery 1978–80, p.53 in colour

This picture is No.291 in Kandinsky's hand-list, with a note that it was painted in February 1925. It was therefore executed at Weimar, before he moved with the Bauhaus to Dessau in June that year. Its emphasis on regular geometric forms such as circles and triangles is related to the ideas set out in his book Point and Line to Plane which he wrote in its final form in the latter part of 1925 and which was published in 1926.

The original German title ‘Schaukeln’ has sometimes been translated as ‘Shaking’ or ‘Rocking’, but the most accurate English equivalent would seem to be ‘Swinging’.

There appear to be no drawings or watercolours for this painting.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981

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