Underneath a Kandinsky: Discoveries Revealed

Infrared image of Kandinsky’s Sketch I for Painting with White Border (1913), revealing an underlying oil composition by Gabriele Münter. Courtesy of The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

When conservators began studying two of Wassily Kandinsky’s paintings, little did they know that, in addition to learning more about the artist’s underpainting and layering techniques, they would discover a previously unknown sketch by Kandinsky’s partner and fellow artist Gabriele Münter.

Sketch I for Painting with White Border (Moscow) (1913; oil on canvas, 39 1/2x30 7⁄8) by Wassily Kandinsky. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

A group of experts including conservators, curators, scholars and scientists used observation, chemical analyses, x-radiographs and stereomicroscopes to determine Kandinsky’s changes in the composition. The examination took place in preparation for the exhibition “Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence: Painting with White Border” at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in Fall 2011.

Garden Concert (ca 1911–12; gouache, 11 1/4x14 7⁄8) by Gabriele Münter. Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, Munich © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


Want to learn more about Kandinsky? Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence: Painting with White Border is available at North Light Shop.

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