Wassily Kandinsky

Improvisation 7 (plate, folio 37) from Klänge (Sounds), 1911
B & W Woodcut Ref 124 Roethel, Ed. of 300
7.50 x 5 in
SKU: 7039g
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'Improvisation 7' second ed. woodcut from 'Klänge' is a woodcut print created by Wassily Kandinsky. The present woodcut print comes from the second edition of 'Klänge (Sounds),' a book of original graphics and poetry by Wassily Kandinsky. The title of the album and of this print, 'Improvisation,' demonstrated Kandinsky's interest in music and how abstract musical forms could be translated into images on a two-dimensional surface. This particular composition is difficult to read, but through the abstraction, one can make out various figures and a landscape beyond. Originally carved and printed in 1911, this second edition print was done ca. 1938. It is a woodcut in black ink on woven paper. Signed with encircled 'K' in the block, lower right (from the book, signed in ink, ed. 117/300)


Image Size: 7 1/2" x 5 inches
Frame Size: 22 1/4" x 18 3/4"


Ref. Roethel 124


Artist Bio:

The Museum of Modern Art described 'Klänge (Sounds)' as follows:
Vasily Kandinsky's self-described "musical album," Klänge (Sounds), consists of thirty-eight prose-poems he wrote between 1909 and 1911 and fifty-six woodcuts he began in 1907. In the woodcuts Kandinsky veiled his subject matter, creating increasingly indecipherable images (though the horse and rider, his symbol for overcoming objective representation, runs through as a leitmotif). This process proved crucial for the development of abstraction in his art. Kandinsky said his choice of media sprang from an "inner necessity" for expression: the woodcuts were not merely illustrative, nor were the poems purely verbal descriptions. Kandinsky sought a synthesis of the arts, in which meaning was created through the interaction of, and space between, text and image, sound and meaning, mark and blank space. The experimental typography shows his interest in the physical aspects of the book.

Klänge is one of three major publications by Kandinsky that appeared shortly before World War I, alongside Über die Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art) and the Blaue Reiter almanac, which he edited with one of the group's cofounders, Franz Marc. Fearing poor sales, Munich-based Reinhard Piper only reluctantly published Klänge, and Kandinsky had to guarantee the production costs. More than two years after its release, Klänge had sold fewer than 120 copies. The planned Russian version never materialized. The publication was nevertheless influential on other avant-garde artists, and Futurists in Russia and Dadaists in Zurich recited and published some of the poems. (Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.)