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Autumn II

Collection item 0956
  • Period Twentieth-Century
  • Materials Oil on canvas
  • Object Number 0956
  • Dimensions 23 7/8 x 32 1/2 in.; 60.6425 x 82.55 cm.; Framed: 27 in x 35 7/8 in x 2 7/8 in; 68.58 cm x 91.12 cm x 7.3 cm
  • Credit Line Acquired 1945; © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Wassily Kandinsky was a pioneer of abstract art and cofounder with Franz Marc of the avant-garde Munich artists group the Blue Rider. While Kandinsky was writing Concerning the Spiritual in Art, his treatise on abstract painting, he conceived of Autumn II. Using vibrant, abstract forms, it presents an autumn day by a lake in the Bavarian Alps near the village of Murnau, south of Munich. The landscape has been schematized to lay bare nature’s essential elements, which are also reflected in the painted waters of the lake seen in the foreground. Kandinsky believed that art had inherent spiritual qualities in its very matter. This work expresses Kandinsky’s ideas on the psychological and symbolic power of expressive color. He connected the yellow to “the last forces of summer in the brilliant foliage of autumn…the blue to infinity…and the green to calm.”