(Moscow, 1866 – 1944, Neuilly- sur-Seine)
Oil on cardboard, 42 см х 58 cm
Signed with monogram "K" and dated lower left "43"
Kunstberatung Zürich AG is proud to present a masterwork by Wassily Kandinsky “Red zig-zag” painted in 1943.
The linear composition of the painting illustrates that in the 1930 – 40s Kandinsky’s vision was closely associated with mysticism and spirituality. “Red zig-zag” (“Zig-zag” or “Le zig-zag rouge”) is based on the artist’s concept of “inner sight”. In an article in the Danish journal Konkretion (1935) Kandinsky expands on the concept as follows: “This sight penetrates the hard shell, the “external” form, into the interior of things and lets us perceive the inner “pulsation” of things with all our senses.” The analogies between nature, art and technology were embodied in a series of abstract paintings depicting biomorphic shapes similar to invertebrate sea creatures or embryological forms. His sources of inspiration included encyclopaedias and biological works such as Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature) and Karl Blossfeld’s famous photo collection Unformen der Natur (Prototypes in Nature) as well as the works of his fellow artists and sculptors in Paris such as Jean Arp, Joan Miro, Alberto Magnelli and others.
This work depicts a few unknown shapes, supposedly sea creatures and biological organisms. They are presented in a very nice way, though the reminder of what it might be is still there, there is no negative perception. Aesthetic is always very important, it’s the first impression.
The present painting “Red zig-zag” is a unique painting in the heritage of Wassily Kandinsky with an established and proven provenance from a private collection in Switzerland (see below). Kandinsky had never painted a copy of this artwork. Kunstberatung Zürich AG is a unique legal holder with exclusive right to sale of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Red zig-zag” (known also as “Zig-zag” or “Le zig-zag rouge)”. The title of the present artwork in Russian is “Василий Кандинский “Красный зиг-заг” или “Зиг-заг””.
The painting “Red zig-zag” by Wassily Kandinsky came from Zurich’s collection of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löffler (around 1949) and his granddaughter Anna Seelig. Kunstberatung Zürich AG provided Anna Seelig’s letter to confirm the provenance:
„Le zigzag rouge“ has been in my grandparent’s house since about 1946. My grandfather, Prof. Wilhelm Löffler, bought the painting from Nina Kandinsky in Paris shortly after the death of her husband. My grandfather who was a dedicated scientist and medical doctor was very fascinated by the fact that Kandinsky was inspired by microscopic organic motives and tried to represent the origin of life in a lyrical manner in his paintings. “Le zigzag rouge” is especially interesting in this respect since it combines the space and shape of biomorphism which is typical for Kandinsky’s Paris oeuvre, with the more geometrical “zigzag” which reminds his Bauhaus style. My uncle, Dr. Peter Löffler, who later became the director of the Schauspielhaus in Zürich, was about twenty years old at that time and accompanied his father on the journey to Paris. He was allowed to choose between two pictures and chose “Le zigzag” for its wonderfully warm red color. After the death of my grandfather in 1972 until today the picture was in my parent’s house. It was a great pleasure for me to be around this painting for so long. I love it for its interesting shapes and especially its warm colors. I wish you a lot of pleasure with this wonderful painting and remain with best regards”.
In overall very good condition.
Painting of Wassily Kandinsky ‘Red zig-zag” (1943) came from:
From estate of Wassily Kandinsky to Nina Kandinskaya (the (second) wife of Wassily Kandinsky);
Wilhelm Löffler (Professor of Medicine, the Kandinskys’ family doctor), Switzerland;
Anna Seelig-Löffler (Doctor of Biology);
Important private collection, Zürich, Switzerland
The artist’s handlist IV, No. 712 According to the handlist the picture was painted in March 1943
Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life and work, New York, 1958, no 342
Hans K. Roethel and Jean Benjamin Kandinsky, Catalogue raisonne of the oil paintings 1916-1944 illustrated vol. IV, New York, 1984, no. 1149
Paris, galerie l’Esquisse, 1944
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Braque – Kandinsky – Picasso, 1946, cat. no. 100
Bern, Kunsthalle, 1955, cat. no. 107
New York, Guggenheim museum, Kandinsky in Paris, 1985, cat.no. 153
Lugano, Museo Cantonale d’arte, Kandinsky in private swiss collections 4 June – 8 October 1995
Moscow World Fine Art Fair – 2012
PAM – Salon Point Art Monaco – 2014
BRAFA – the Brussels Art Fair – 2015
BRAFA – the Brussels Art Fair – 2016
Masterpiece London – 2017