Modern and Contemporary Art

Untitled Improvisation V

 Untitled Improvisation V
  • Wassily Kandinsky 1866, Russia -1944, France
  • Untitled Improvisation V
  • 1914
  • Oil on canvas
  • 111x111cm
  • Mizne-Blumental Collection

This painting exemplifies Kandinsky's interest in abstraction, that crystallized during 1909–1914. Considered the father of abstract painting, Kandinsky formulated his ideas over a long period of time; he had written his essay "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" in 1901 and his famous book of the same title was published in 1910.

Kandinsky painted this work during the last year of his sojourn in Munich, before returning to Russia on the eve of World War I. 

Kandinsky gradually rejected the representational function of painting, began treating his canvases as objects in their own right, and defined line, form and color as autonomous elements. He compared the arrangement of colors in his paintings with the structure of pieces of music, and thus numbered his paintings in the manner used for musical compositions. 

This painting belongs to a group of works Kandinsky called "Improvisations," works that reflect an inner experience. Despite its abstract quality, the painting contains identifiable forms: mountains, hills, trees and a horse. The galloping horse, with its origins in the Book of Revelations and folk art, is a recurring motif in Kandinsky’s paintings.

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