Collection online

Der Spiegel

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Der Spiegel
  • Description

    The mirror; draped female figure holding up hand-mirror. 1907 Colour linocut, printed in mauve-red, green, blue, yellow and black, on oriental paper

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1907
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 322 millimetres
    • Width: 158 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Frances Carey and Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no. 120 [Listed incorrectly as 1983,0723.24]

    The date of 1907 was originally agreed with Kandinsky by W. Grohmann when preparing a preliminary list of the artist's graphic work in 1933. Roethel accepts it on stylistic grounds but, as he makes plain in the introduction to his catalogue, there are problems surrounding any attempt to establish the chronology of the early woodcuts in the absence of dates on the prints themselves or accurate records made by Kandinsky. Stylistically 'The Mirror' is closely related to other woodcuts dated by Roethel in 1903. Most of Kandinsky's early colour woodcuts, like this one, were printed from only two blocks, either of wood or of linoleum. The colour block was inked with watercolour pigments applied (probably) through a stencil in five colours; the line block was printed in black. The watercolour pigment often created particularly subtle, evanescent effects that prompted one reviewer of Kandinsky's woodcuts in the eleventh Phalanx exhibition of 1904, to comment that his "light-blooming colours in all gradations ... recall Whistler in fineness of tone" (Weiss, 1979, p. 71). 'The Mirror', however, has a mosaic, jewel-like quality in the application of the colour, which characterises several of Kandinsky's compositions of 1903-7. Wilhelm Michel, who reviewed Kandinsky's graphic work in 'Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration' in 1905, saw this aspect in the context of Kandinsky revealing his Russian heritage "in the stylisation and adventurous, almost stained glass quality of colour in his prints" (Weiss, 1979, p. 77). The subject of this print is reminiscent of the figure in 'The Night' (Roethel 6) and recalls Kandinsky's interest in popular fairy tales; its style, however, is not specifically Russian but shows more generalised Central European Jugendstil influences.


  • Bibliography

    • Roethel 1970 49 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German XXc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    1984/5 Sept.-Jan., BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', no. 120
    1999 April-July, London, Royal Academy, 'Kandinsky: Watercolours and other works on paper'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased from a private collector through Karl & Faber.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Vasily Kandinsky, The Mirror, a linocut


COMPASS Title: Vasily Kandinsky, The Mirror, a linocut

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA8281

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