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Vasily Kandinsky

/Works and biography

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Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2
(Landschaft mit roten Flecken, Nr. 2), 1913
Oil on canvas, 117.5 x 140 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 33
© Vasily Kandinsky, by SIAE 2008


From 1908 Vasily Kandinsky often stayed in the town of Murnau in upper Bavaria, where his companion Gabriele Münter bought a house in 1909. The landscapes inspired by these Alpine surroundings developed from the flattened, densely colored views of 1908 to the luminous, antimaterial dream visions of 1913, such as this canvas. The motif of the church in a landscape recurs often in Kandinsky’s paintings of 1908–13. By 1911 there is little specifying detail. Here the tower is replaced by an elongated vertical form that seems to continue beyond the canvas. Kandinsky presents the landscape as an exalted, spiritualized vision. He achieves the sublimity of the image by freeing color from its descriptive function to reveal its latent expressive content. The chromatic emphasis is on the primary colors, applied thinly over a white ground. The focal point, the red spot that inspires the picture’s title, bears out Kandinsky’s appraisal of red as an expanding color that pulses forward toward the viewer, in contrast to cooler colors, particularly blue, that recede.

credits: Hangar Design Group