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

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Kandinsky (Wassily) Papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The archive consists of ca. 280 items (on ca. 470 leaves) documenting various aspects of Kandinsky's professional life from 1911 to 1940. It is organized into four distinct groups. The most extensive part constitutes a large body of teaching materials from the time Kandinsky taught at the Bauhaus in Dessau, from 1925 until 1933, the year of the dissolution of theschool under the pressure from the National Socialist regime. Included are detailed teaching notes and graphic teaching aids, reading lists and class rosters. The entire collection was digitized in 2014 and is available online:

Another group consists of undated manuscript writings by Kandinsky, mainly an unpublished Russian translation of Über das Geistige in der Kunst; also outlines for essays, and miscellaneous notes.

The third group relates to Kandinsky's professional life after his return to Russia at the outbreak of World War I, where he was actively involved as co-founder and vice president of the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences in Moscow. Included are institutional records of the Academy, as well as outlines and transcripts of lectures and discussions by Kandinsky and several other Academy members. Most of the papers are dated 1921, the year in which Kandinsky and his wife left Moscow for Berlin.

The fourth group consists of professional correspondence. A significant portion comprise 19 letters by Kandinsky to the New York art dealer and collector, Israel Ber Neumann, written between 1934 and 1940, after Kandinsky's relocation from Germany to Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris. Also present are ca. 50 letters received by Kandinsky from artists, art dealers, private collectors, art critics, editors and publishers, dating from 1911 to 1933. The letters are rich in detail related to Kandinsky's exhibition activities and the reception of his artistic ideas, as well as provide information about the activities of other significant persons, including Alexander von Jawlenski, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, and Arnold Schoenberg, and the American art collector Arthur Jerome Eddy.


The papers are arranged in 4 series:
Series I. Bauhaus teaching materials, Berlin/Dessau, 1925-1933;
Series II. Kandinsky manuscripts;
Series III. Papers of the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences [RAKhN], 1921;
Series IV. Correspondence, 1911-1940.

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