November 20, 2020 - Guggenheim Bilbao - Kandinsky
November 20, 2020

Guggenheim Bilbao

[1] Kandinsky, Black Lines (Schwarze Linien), December 1913. Oil on canvas. [2] Kandinsky, Composition 8 (Komposition 8), July 1923. Oil on canvas. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020.

November 20, 2020–May 31, 2021

Guggenheim Bilbao
Abandoibarra et.2
48001 Bilbao

Curator: Megan Fontanella, Curator, Modern Art and Provenance, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Kandinsky, a comprehensive exhibition of paintings and works on paper of artist Vasily Kandinsky (b. 1866, Moscow; d. 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) drawn primarily from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s rich holdings. Sponsored by the BBVA Foundation, the exhibition traces the aesthetic evolution of a pioneer of European abstraction, a renowned aesthetic theorist, and one of the foremost artistic innovators of the early 20th century. In his endeavor to free painting from its ties to the natural world, Kandinsky discovered a new subject matter based solely on the artist’s “inner necessity” that would remain his lifelong concern.

In Munich in the 1900s and early 1910s, Kandinsky began exploring the expressive possibilities of color and composition, but he was abruptly forced to leave Germany following the outbreak of World War I, in 1914. The artist eventually returned to his native Moscow, where his pictorial vocabulary began to reflect the utopian experiments of the Russian avant-garde, who emphasized geometric shapes in an effort to establish a universal aesthetic language. Kandinsky subsequently joined the faculty of the Bauhaus, a German school of art and applied design that shared his belief in art’s ability to transform self and society. Compelled to abandon Germany again when the Bauhaus closed under Nazi pressure in 1933, Kandinsky settled outside Paris, where Surrealism and the natural sciences influenced his biomorphic imagery.

More so than any other artist, Kandinsky is intertwined with the history of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, established in New York in 1937. Industrialist and museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting Kandinsky’s work in 1929 and met him at the Dessau Bauhaus the following year. This exhibition illustrates the full arc of Kandinsky’s seminal career. Divided into four geographical sections, the exhibition follows Kandinsky through critical periods of his artistic development.

Guggenheim Bilbao
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