Composition X

Composition X
Artist Wassily Kandinsky
Year 1939
Location Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
Dimensions 51.2 x 76.8 in
130 x 195 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

In the late 1930s, Wassily Kandinsky was painting modernist abstract art when most of his contemporaries were still exploring the worlds of impressionism and cubism. As a result, he was somewhat isolated from the greater art community.

Cry for Help?

In Composition X, some say they can see Kandinsky’s loneliness, or perhaps a yearning for a more vibrant circle of artistic cohorts. On the other hand, he may have been just diligently following his personal artistic vision.

Abstract Art in the Eye of the Beholder

But like all abstract art, what one takes away from it, or brings to it, is highly personal and always open to broad interpretation.

Composition X at first glance looks like a collection of festive party favors, ribbons, greeting cards, confetti and more exploding across and black background. Looking closer, however, one discovers more intriguing forms. For example, in the upper left corner is a large bulbous mass of brown-red inside of which appear to be futuristic cityscapes and arcane hieroglyphics. It hints at something larger, greater, and mysterious.

Color Scheme

The colors are mostly pastel but some primary reds and yellows create an important balance. Some art observers claim an intense contemplation of Composition X will bring the viewer into a kind of synchronization or resonance of soul.

Ahead of its Time

It’s clear, however, that with works such as Composition X, Wassily Kandinsky was heralding a style that would soon have its day and come into much greater favor throughout the art world. This work, completed in 1939, would seem more at home in the late 1940s and 1950s. It’s possible that Kandinsky was simply seeing further ahead in time than others.

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