Sotheby’s set a new auction record for a work by Wassily Kandinsky in its June 21 Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in London.
In fact, two artist records were set in quick succession.
Kandinsky's Murnau - Landschaft mit grunem Haus set the first record...
Murnau – Landschaft mit grunem Haus (1909) realised £21m ($26.4m), becoming Kandinsky's most valuable work for just a few minutes before it was edged out by Bild mit weissen Linien (1913) - which made £33m ($41.6m).
Both of the paintings are important mile markers on the road Kandinsky took into pure abstraction.
The former is still recognisably figurative and was painted in the German alpine town of Murnau am Staffelsee.
Helena Newman, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, describes it as: “a blazing celebration of colour that captures the moment of transition in the artist’s career when he is on the cusp of moving from figuration to abstraction.”
.Moments later Bild mit weissen Linien had clinched the top spot
By contrast, Bild mit weissen Linien (painted just four years later) shows how dramatically Kandinsky’s practise developed.
Interestingly, you can still see the influence of his fauvist period.
Newman said: “Bild mit weissen Linien exemplifies Kandinsky at the height of his creative powers and a painting of this calibre only comes to the market every few decades.
There was also a new record for Joan Miro, whose Femme et oiseaux (1940) achieved £24.5m ($31m).
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