- Museum number
- Object: Composition II
Abstract composition with figures in landscape; proof before publication in 'Klänge' (Munich, 1913). 1911
- Production date
Height: 148 millimetres
Width: 208 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Frances Carey and Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no. 121
This impression is a proof of one of the illustrations of 'Klänge'. The chronology of the twelve colour and forty-four black and white woodcuts contained in the book is difficult to determine, and for this reason Roethel dates them all in 1911 or 1912 with the exception of four made in 1907. Kandinsky intended them to show the development of his work from the figurative to the abstract, a development which was also to be found in the poems themselves (cf. Roethel, 1970, p. 448; his appendix 9 contains a full account of the publication). Some of the designs were exhibited between 1910 and 1912 in Paris, Munich, London and Berlin; in Berlin six woodcuts for the album were included in the fifth exhibition of the Neue Secession, where fifty Marks were asked for the one coloured image and twenty Marks for the black and white prints. 'Klänge' was of great importance to Kandinsky, who regarded its role in his work as decisive. Reinhard Piper, his publisher, was initially sceptical of the venture and demanded that Kandinsky guarantee half the costs of publication.
This impression of 'Composition II' was one of five proofs for 'Klänge', formerly in the collection of Sir Michael Sadler, which were auctioned at Sotheby's in 1980 (16/17 May, lots 525-9). They were purchased by him at the Salon of the Allied Artists' Association at the Royal Albert Hall in 1911, to which they had been submitted via the shippers Chenil and Co. Ltd of the King's Road (the original labels were on the back of the frame). The catalogue listed them as "Six Woodcuts and Album with text £1", although only five prints were in fact received. Michael Sadler (1861-1943) was a distinguished academic and educationalist whose varied interests in primitive art and post-Impressionism were reflected in his private collection, which impressed the young Henry Moore when Sadler was Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University from 1911 to 1923. Sadler had a particular interest in the Prussian educational system prior to the First World War; it was, no doubt, this involvement with German culture, combined with his general didactic and artistic inclinations which prompted the translation he undertook of Kandinsky's 'Über das Gelstige in der Kunst' (1913) which was published as 'The Art of Spiritual Harmony' in 1914.
(Additional information) see Adrian Glew on the relations and correspondence between Sadler and Kandinsky, 'Burlington Magazine', CXXXIX 1997, pp.600-15.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984/5 Sep-Jan, BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', no. 121
1997 Feb-May, London, Barbican Art Gallery, 'Modernism in Britain'
1999 Apr-Jul, London, Royal Academy, Kandinsky: Watercolours and other works on paper
1999 Aug-Oct, Bolton Museum & AG, Expressionism in Germany
1999/2000 Nov-Jan, Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, Expressionisn in Germany
2000 Feb-Mar, Preston, Harris Mus & AG, Expressionism in Germany
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased by Michael Sadler at the Salon of the Allied Artist's Association at the Royal Albert Hall in 1911 (original exhibition label and ownership inscriptions are attached to the mount of this print).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number