On 16 December, the day of the 150th anniversary of Wassily Kandinsky’s birth, an exhibition of early paintings by the famous abstract artist and works by his contemporaries will open at Tsentr Iskusstv. Moskva (the Fine Arts Centre. Moscow).
This will be the first time that the artist’s works from 1903–1907, from private collections, will be displayed in Russia. This was the period when Kandinsky started to switch from impressionism to abstract painting, and it is commonly referred to as “motley life.”
One major event will be the reunion of the artist’s little-known diptych, the first part of which is “A Bear” painted in 1907. Kept in different collections for more than 50 years – one in the United States and the other in Sweden – the two works will be brought together in Moscow for the first time since they were separated.
In all, five unique paintings by Kandinsky will be displayed. In addition, the exhibition will feature works by his contemporaries, including Nikolai Rerikh, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Mikhail Larionov and Aristarkh Lentulov. Some of these works will also be brought to Moscow for the first time.
“We’ve decided to introduce the public to some little-known aspects of Kandinsky’s creative work in the year when we are marking his 150th birthday: unique early works by the artist when he was still in the process of transition from Impressionism to abstract painting,” said Andrian Melnikov, founder of Tsentr Iskusstv. Moskva. “Also, the exhibition will feature works by Kandinsky’s famous contemporaries, who in the early 20th century were creating new painting systems and gave birth to such styles as symbolism, art nouveau and expressionism.”
The exhibition will run until 14 February. At the opening ceremony, the Moscow Contemporary Music Group will perform music by Achille-Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and other composers. On 21 December, art historian Olga Chuvorkina will give a lecture, entitled “Kandinsky: The Metaphysics of the Universe,” dedicated to the artist’s innovative creative technique.
The exhibition site opened in November 2015 on the territory of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral to display works by great artists that have never before been shown to the public.
The centre’s regular exhibition features paintings by Ivan Shishkin, Alexei Savrasov, Mikhail Nesterov and other artists from famous private collections of Feodor Chaliapin, Lavrenty Beria and Pavel Tretyakov. Currently, the centre is hosting the Unknown Aivazovsky exhibition and an exhibition of Russian battle-scene painting.