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Update:February 27, 2013

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Wassily KANDINSKY "Arrival of the Merchants"

"Arrival of the Merchants"

©ADAGP, Paris & JVACS, Tokyo, 2002.

Wassily KANDINSKY (1866-1944)
1905, 92.5 x 135.0cm, Tempera on canvas

In addition to his "small oil sketches", Kandinsky also painted what are called "color drawings" with tempera or gouache. These were illusionary or romantic treatments of themes drawn from medieval German or Russian life. From quite an early stage in his career, Kandinsky held the belief that painting should be more than just the reproduction of beautiful landscapes or portraits of people, and these motifs offered him an excuse to explore the free use of color, which was his inclination at the time.
This is one such work. Like so many of Kandinsky's paintings, it shows a beautiful harmony between a multi-colored palette and line against a black base. Regarding his use of a black base color, the artist once said, "Against black even the weakest of colors takes on a much stronger and clearer resonance". Indeed, in this work it is more the resonance of the colors themselves than the motif of the arrival of the merchants that seems to be its main point.