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Wassily Kandinsky papers, 1911-1940 (bulk 1921-1937)

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Kandinsky (Wassily) Papers
Series IV. Correspondence, 1911-1940 ca. 60 items
The series contains letters written by and received by Kandinsky. Arranged in two subseries. The entire collection was digitized in 2014 and is available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/850910.
Series IV.A. Letters to J. B. Neumann, 1935-1940 ca. 20 letters
Letters to J. B. Neumann: 1935-1940

Letters written by Kandinsky to the art dealer and collector Israel Ber Neumann in New York. The letters are rich in information regarding sales, exhibitions and reception of Kandinsky's art work in the United States during the late 1930s.
box folder
4 11 Kandinsky, Wassily, 1935-1937, 1940,
19 letters, including 1 postcard, and two postmarked envelopes (total of 25 leaves). Kandinsky's letters to the art dealer Israel Ber Neumann in New York were sent from Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris, between May 25 1935 and Mar 8 1937. There is one letter dated Jan 14 1940. All letters are typescripts, in German, with occasional additions in ink.
Kandinsky's letters reveal details concerning exhibitions and sales of his art work in the United States and in Europe, especially the planning and organizing of the exhibition at J. B. Neumann's New Art Circle in New York in 1936. The letters shed light on Kandinsky's contacts with J. B. Neumann and Galka Scheyer, as well as with other art dealers, artists, collectors and curators, including Solomon Robert Guggenheim, Hilla von Rebay, Karl Nierendorf, Rudolf Probst, James Johnson Sweeney, Christian Zervos, E. Weyhe, Alfred Hamilton Barr, Josef Albers and the former Bauhaus student Werner Drewes. Kandinsky frequently mentions the artists Reuven Rubin and Lasar Segal.
Kandinsky frequently addresses his intent to interest Solomon Robert Guggenheim in Kandinsky retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kandinsky also writes critically about sales and exhibitions of modern art currently taking place in Paris, including his own show at the gallery Cahiers d'art in 1935. He comments on the exhibition of his art work organized in 1936 by Galka Scheyer at the Stendahl Gallery in Los Angeles, reports extensively on his retrospective exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1937, and mentions several other exhibitions of his art work held in the United States and in Europe.
Kandinsky also comments on Galka Scheyer's and Will Grohmann's articles about his art published in Cahiers d'art, mentions several of his own articles published in Cahiers d'art, and writes about the book Über Punkt und Linie zur Fläche.
Several letters include Kandinsky's remarks concerning the place of his art among other contemporary art trends, especially its relation to Cubism and Surrealism. In this context Kandinsky responds critically to Alfred Barrs' text evaluating current developments in modern art, published in 1936 in the Museum's of Modern Art catalog Cubism and abstract art.
In several letters Kandinsky addresses the concept of abstract art, evaluates the various stylistic "periods" within his own artistic career, comments on the significance of some of his art works, and explains his technique of painting with watercolors.
Series IV.B. Other correspondence, 1911-1933 ca. 40 letters
Other correspondence: 1911-1933

Subseries contains letters written to Kandinsky by artists, art collectors, art critics and editors, including Willy Baumeister, Antoine-Pierre Gallien, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, and Franz Marc. Seven letters are from Kandinsky, two letters from others contain Kandinsky's replies. Six letters by the pioneer American art collector Arthur Jerome Eddy contain many details concerning Eddy's interest in collecting work by Kandinsky and other modern artists. Letters by the artist Adolf Erbslöh concern preparations for the third exhibition of the group Neue Künstlervereinigung at the Moderne Galerie Tannhäuser in Munich, and relate details leading to the split within the group. Two letters by the composer Arnold Schoenberg regard Schoenberg's participation in Der Blaue Reiter exhibitions and his contributions to the Der Blaue Reiter almanach. Among art critics and art historians are Max Deri, Carl Einstein, Will Grohmann, and the editor of the Belgian magazine Sélection, chronique de la vie artistique, André de Ridder. Also present is professional correspondence from the Piper Verlag in Munich and from the association Sonderbund [West] Deutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler in Cologne. Five letters from the English novelist Michael Sadleir [Michael Thomas Harvey Sadler] relate to Sadleir's English translation of Über das Geistige in der Kunst. The entire collection was digitized in 2014 and is available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/850910.
box folder
4 12 Baumeister, Willi, 1932
1 letter by Kandinsky to Baumeister, sent from Dessau; concerning the inclusion of Kandinsky's art work in an exhibition. Kandinsky also refers to the positive reception of Baumeister's art work in Dresden, and mentions his student at the Bauhaus, the architect Hertel.
4 12 Deri, Max, 1913
1 letter to Kandinsky by the art historian, sent from Berlin; concerning the translation of an upcoming book by Deri. With a mention of [Ernst?] Stadler.
4 12 Eddy, Arthur Jerome, 1913
6 letters (on 8 leaves) to Kandinsky by the pioneer American art collector and lawyer. The letters were sent from Chicago and New York to Munich. The letter from August 18th was sent from London to Mocow. Four letters are written on the letterhead of the firm Law Offices Eddy, Wetten & Pegler, the Temple, in Chicago. The letters are written in English, except one which is in German. The letter from August 18th is annotated by Kandinsky and Eddy.
Eddy writes extensively about his interest in collecting avant-garde art, refers to his upcoming book Cubists and Post-Impresionism [1914], and comments on Kandinsky's artistic development and theoretical writings. He also mentions recent purchases of Kandinsky's art work and of other artists, including Robert Genin and Alexej von Jawlensky, lists names of artists represented in his collection of Cubist art, and expresses interest in purchasing art by Franz Marc, Albert Bloch, and Mme. Kandinsky [Gabriele Münter].
4 12 Erbslöh, Adolf, 1911
2 letters: 1 letter (4 leaves and 1 envelope) to Kandinsky by the artist and chairman of the group Neue Künstlervereinigung, and Kandinsky's reply letter. Erbslöh's letter relates details concerning preparations for the third exhibition [held in December 1911 at the Moderne Galerie Tannhäuser in Munich] of the group Neue Künstlervereinigung, especially the consignment of Kandinsky's paintings from Berlin and Leipzig, and the exhibition space. The correspondence also provides insight into the differences in aesthetic outlook between Kandinsky and the Neue Künstlervereinigung, which ultimately lead to a split within the group and to the movement Der Blaue Reiter. In context of the prospect of an exhibition at the Grossherzogliches Museum in Weimar, Erbslöh cites the director of the museum in Weimar who asked to send in only understandable art work ["und möglichst nicht so unverständliche Werke!"]. Kandinsky argues strongly in favor of the freedom of artistic expression. He also criticizes the exhibition space in Munich [at the Moderne Galerie Tannhäuser]. Erbslöh frequently mentions Franz Marc, also Gabriele Münter, Marianne von Werefkin, Wladimir von Bechtejeff, Karl Caspar, H. [Frowein?], Alexander Kanoldt, Karl Wittgenstein, Schnabel, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Th. Brodersen [business manager of Th. Brodersen & Co., in Weimar], and comments on an article by Kandinsky and Marc published in Süddeutsche Monatshefte.
4 13 Einstein, Carl, undated [1926?]
1 letter to Kandinsky by the art historian; regarding photographs of Kandinsky's recent art work used by Einstein in lectures on art history.
4 13 Gallien, Antoine-Pierre, 1925
1 letter to Kandinsky by the French artist; asking for permission to translate Über das Geistige in der Kunst into French. Signed: Antoine-Pierre Gallien "Peintre-à-la ligne-noire". Sent to Moscow and addressed to Kandinsky as "Secretaire principal Commissariat des beaux-arts." Annotated by Kandinsky [numbers on verso].
4 13 Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, 1913
1 letter to Kandinsky, signed by the director of the museum [signature illegible, possibly Ludwig Grote]; concerning the inclusion of Kandinsky's graphic work in an exhibition at the Nürnberger Kupferstichkabinett. Included is [a draft?] of Kandinsky's reply.
4 13 Grohmann, Will, 1925
1 postcard by Kandinsky to Grohmann in Dresden; extending an invitation to visit him in Weimar. With a mention of Alexej von Jawlensky.
4 13 Kandinsky, Wassily, undated
1 letter by Kandinsky addressed to the [Trizema?] Verlag in Berlin. Draft in pencil. Signed by Kandinsky as the Vice President of the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences.
4 13 Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, undated [1912?]
1 letter by the artist to Kandinsky; concerning the return of Kirchner's art work exhibited at "Blauer Reiter Collection Bild und Plastik". With a mention of Franz Marc und Herwarth Walden.
4 13 Klee, Paul, 1910?
1 item: empty envelope addressed to Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer in Stuttgart. Sent by Paul Klee from Munich.
4 13 Kluxen, Franz, 1912
2 letters to Kandinsky by an art collector from Wyk on the North Frisian island Föhr. Kluxen writes about his interest in collecting modern paintings, and lists the names of artists whose work he already owns, including Picasso, Jawlensky, Marc, and Macke. Kluxen mentions Kandinsky's painting "Weisse Kuh" [White cow], and writes about his interest in buying Kandinsky's painting "Improvisation 3 (Don Quichote)."
4 13 Kreis für Kunst Köln, 1913
1 letter (with envelope) to Kandinsky, signed by the director of the Deutsches Theater in Cologne, Alfred W. Kames, and the writer Livingstone Hahn. Kames and Hahn present the cultural program of the Sonderbund [West] Deutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler, and ask Kandinsky to participate in an exhibition planned to open in January 1914 at the Deutsches Theater in Cologne. [Also see correspondence with Sonderbund Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler, Box. 4, F.14.]
4 13 Die Kunstwelt, 1911
1 business letter to Kandinsky; asking for reproduction rights of Kandinsky's painting "Romantische Landschaft." Signed by Felix Lorenz.
4 13 Marc, Franz, 1912
2 items: a postcard from Marc to Kandinsky and a manuscript note by Kandinsky to Marc; concerning Der Blaue Reiter almanach [need further analysis].
4 14 Piper Verlag, 1912, 1914
3 items: business correspondence from the R. Piper & Co. Verlag in Munich to Kandinsky. Included are an expense report for the book Über das Geistige in der Kunst; a letter concerning printing and publishing of Kandinsky's book Klänge and the advertising policy at the Piper Verlag; and a letter signed by Reinhard Piper regarding reproduction rights of Kandinsky's painings for a book by Paul Fechter [ Der Expressionismus?], with a mention of Franz Marc.
4 14 Ridder, André de, 1933
1 letter by Kandinsky to the editor of the Belgian magazine Sélection, chronique de la vie artistique; declining an invitation to exhibit in Brussels. Kandinsky also offers a gouache to the art dealer Manteau [Galerie Manteau]. He further discusses Will Grohmann's articles for the magazine Sélection, as well as Grohmann's book Kandinsky [1931].
4 14 Sadleir, Michael [Sadler, Michael Thomas Harvey], 1912-1913, undated
5 letters (8 leaves, including 1 envelope) to Kandinsky from the English biographer, novelist, and bibliophile. Mainly business correspondence related to Sadleir's English translation of Über das Geistige in der Kunst, to be published by Constable in London under the title The art of spiritual harmony. Included is a letter sent by Sadleir from Boston, Massachusetts in which he mentions plans for an American edition of Kandinsky's book by Houghton Mifflin Company. Sadleir also confirms receiving from his father letters by Kandinsky and by Gabriele Münter, and drawings by Kandinsky. He also refers to the significance of Kandinsky as an artist by citing an article by Oscar Bluemner published in Alfred Stieglitz's Camera work. In the letter from Boston, Sadleir writes about his impressions of life in the United States, and comments on the art scene in Boston as hostile towards Symbolism and dominated by the art historian Ronald Alley and the artist John Singer Sargent. In French.
4 14 Sadler, M. E., 1913-1914
2 letters to Kandinsky by the father of Michael Sadleir; sent from Leeds, England; concerning the delay of his son's translation of Kandinsky's book, and a thank-you letter.
4 14 Schoenberg, Arnold, 1911-1912
2 letters to Kandinsky by the composer. Schoenberg asks Kandinsky to return all of his paintings shown at the Blauer Reiter exhibition in Munich to Budapest, except the painting "Dame in Rosa." He also mentions the almanach Der Blaue Reiter and the magazine Die Musik.
4 14 Seewald, Richard, 1913
1 letter by Kandinsky to the artist Richard Seewald. Annotated by Sewald.
4 14 Sérouya, Henri, 1928
1 letter to Kandinsky by the French writer; concerning illustrations of Kandinsky's art work in an upcoming publication [ Initiation à la peinture d'aujourd'hui, 1931].
4 14 Sonderbund Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler, 1912
1 letter to Kandinsky by Richart Reiche, on letterhead of the association Sonderbund Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler; concerning the plan to include Russian artists in the coming exhibition of the Sonderbund [May 25-Sep 30 1912]. Reiche inquires about Nataliia Goncharova, Ilia Ivanovich Mashkov, and M. Carionoff [i.e. Mikhail Larionov].
4 14 Zervos, Christian, 1933
1 letter by Kandinsky to the French art critic and editor of Cahiers d'art; regarding Zervos's text for the Kandinsky volume of the Belgian magazine Sélection, chronique de la vie artistique. Kandinsky comments on the Braque volume published by the magazine and mentions the editor André de Ridder. Kandinsky also writes about Richard Dudensing's review of his exhibition in New York, the diminishing interest of art collectors and museums in abstract painting in Germany under the new government, and the imminent visit of Galka Scheyer to Berlin.


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