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On View: Kandinsky Before Abstraction at the Guggenheim

Russian-born artist Vasily Kandinsky is deeply entwined with the history of the Guggenheim Museum. The museum’s first director suggested to founder Solomon R. Guggenheim that he start collecting the artist’s work — a fortunate suggestion for all. The result is more than 150 masterworks in a collection which includes the time frame before Kandinsky became entrenched in abstract art. This period is expertly presented at the Guggenheim in Kandinsky Before Abstraction, 1901-1911.

 

Landscape near Murnau with Locomotive (Landschaft bei Murnau mit Lokomotive), by Vasily Kandinsky, 1909. (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 50.1295 © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris)

‘Landscape near Murnau with Locomotive (Landschaft bei Murnau mit Lokomotive)’, by Vasily Kandinsky, 1909. (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 50.1295 © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris)

In 1895, Kandinsky gave up a career as a lawyer to pursue art. He quickly became associated with the avant-garde movement in Munich and experimented with various printmaking methods including etching, woodcut and lithography. After traveling extensively throughout Europe he then became enamored with landscape painting. Many of the examples in this period incorporate the flattened perspectives and clearly delineated forms that differ from those of his earlier Neo-Impressionism work.

Kandinsky Before Abstraction, 1901-1911 is on view at the Guggenheim Museum from through Spring 2015.

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