Composition IV

Composition IV
Artist Wassily Kandinsky
Year 1911
Medium Abstract Art
Location Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
Dimensions 62 7/8 x 98 5/8 in
159.5 x 250.5 cm
Wassily Kandinsky Famous Paintings
Der Blaue Reiter, 1903
Composition IV, 1911
Composition VII, 1913
On White II, 1923
Composition VI, 1913
Composition VIII, 1923
Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925
Black and Violet, 1923
Composition X, 1939
Complete Works

Composition IV is the fourth of a series of paintings by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. The paintings he entitled Compositions explore the artist’s attempts to represent the structure and form of music through the medium of painting.

The painting measures 62 7/8 x 98 5/8 inches, and it is in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was made using oil paints on canvas.

Style and Composition

Apart from his artistic work, Kandinsky was also a prolific writer, and he explained in great detail what he was trying to achieve in these compositions. He did not want his paintings to be representational. Instead, he used an abstract style to convey emotional and spiritual meanings.

Composition IV is a symphony of confused shapes and colors. Many of the shapes evoke ideas of musicians and musical instruments. The artist had become frustrated working on it. While he was out, fellow artist Gabriele Münter tidied his studio, and turned the painting sideways. When he saw it, Kandinsky then realized this was what he had been trying to achieve.