Wassily Kandinsky, ‘Etching 1916 No. II’, 1916, Harris Schrank Fine Prints

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Etching 1916 Number II, drypoint, signed in pencil lower right, titled, numbered (No. 9) and dated lower left [also with initials and date in the plate lower right]. Reference: Roethel 154, only state, edition of 10. In excellent condition (the barest handling fold at sheet edge), printed on a heavy ivory wove paper, the full sheet with full margins, 4 7/8 x 3 1/4, the sheet 17 1/2 x 13 inches, archival mount with window mat.

A fine fresh impression of this great rarity, printed in a dark brown ink.

Kandinsky created this drypoint (erroneously named Etching 1916) in early 1916 while staying with Gabriel Munter in Stockholm during the winter of 1915-16. This is from the second series of drypoints he made; the first was in the year 1913-14.

The tiny size of this edition (10) makes this print a great rarity within the Kandinsky’s printed oeuvre (for comparison, his Kleine Welten series, issued later, in 1922, was published in an edition of 230).

Kandinsky had already moved decisively toward an abstract idiom all his own, and had established his reputation internationally by the time he created this drypoint. Before this his involvement with printmaking was mostly in woodcuts; much of this work had clearly identifiable imagery. But by 1911 he had (with Franz Marc) founded the Blaue Reiter group, and had written (although not published) his famed On the Spiritual in Art, a treatise which helps explain the meaning and force of the shapes and lines found in this fascinating and complex drypoint.

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About Wassily Kandinsky

An early champion of abstract painting, Wassily Kandinsky is known for his lyrical style and innovative theories on nonfigurative art. In his 1910 treatise Concerning the Spiritual In Art, Kandinsky made famous his belief that abstract colors and forms can be used to express the “inner life” of the artist. Kandinsky taught this and other lessons at the Bauhaus, the historic Weimar institution that brought together artists including Joseph Albers, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy, and Piet Mondrian, amongst others. Kandinsky had a strong interest in the relationship between art and classical music, this theme apparent in his orchestral Composition VI (1913), where colliding forms and colors move across the canvas. In 1911 Kandinsky played a central role in organizing Der Blaue Reiter, a group of artists named in part after Kandinsky’s favorite color, blue.

Russian, 1866-1944, Moscow, Russia, based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Exhibition Highlights

2017
Fort Worth,
A Modern Vision: European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection