The relationship between one of Russia’s most famous painters and his native country is being explored in an exhibition in St. Petersburg. “Wassily Kandinsky and Russia” is at the State Russian Museum until December 4.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the artist, the exhibition features paintings and works on paper by Kandinsky alongside works by a litany of his major contemporaries, including Ivan Bilibin, Elena Polenova, Sergei Malyutin, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Kazimir Malevich, David Burliuk, Alexei Jawlensky, and Marianna Verevkina. It also showcases pieces from the museum’s collection of Russian folk art that offer new insights into the world of Kandinsky and the images and objects that fed into his revolutionary artworks.
A celebration of one of Russia’s greatest sons, the exhibition is a collaboration between many of the country’s best museums, including pieces from the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and the Hermitage alongside the State Russian Museum’s own items.
The exhibition features an overview of works from across Kandinsky's lifetime. Early figurative, impressionistic works are represented by, among others, “A river in autumn,” circa 1901-03, an image of his homeland. The show follows the artist's career as his work becomes the vibrant explosion of shapes, colors, and sensations that Kandinsky is best known for, including works shown in the Izdebski Salon — which highlighted new Russian artists in the late 1900s and early 1910s. The works painted by the artist when he was part of “Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)” group are also present, marking his transition from Impressionism through Symbolism and into wild Expressionism.
“Wassily Kandinsky and Russia” runs through December 4 at the State Russian Museum.
BY SAMUEL SPENCER | SEPTEMBER 30, 2016