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Best Places to See Wassily Kandinsky's Paintings

Picture of Elizabeth Lee
Elizabeth Lee
Updated: 26 January 2017
Wassily Kandinsky is one of the most influential and well-known Russian artists of the early 20th century. He was known for producing some of the earliest pieces of abstract art, and over his lifetime he painted in a wide range of styles, from impressionism to abstract. One of the main figures in The Blue Rider movement, Kandinsky challenged many traditional preconceptions about art and pushed the boundaries of visual representation.

Lenbachhaus Gallery

The Lenbachhaus Gallery in Munich holds the largest collection of Kandinsky’s paintings in Europe, and the largest collection of paintings from the Blue Rider period in the world. In his youth, Kandinsky attended art school in Munich and it was in this city that he started his iconic Blue Rider movement, which broke down the conventions of painting and made him a pioneer of the abstract movement. The Lenbachhaus Gallery mostly displays art from this period in Kandinsky’s life, when he sought to express human desire, emotions, and the metaphysical in visual art.

Opening hours: 10am – 9pm (Tue), 10am – 6pm (Wed – Sun), closed Mon

State Trekyakov Gallery

The State Trekyakov Gallery in Moscow owns the largest collection of Kandinsky paintings in Russia. This collection includes Composition VII (1913), which is considered Kandinsky’s masterpiece. Many pieces in the collection were painted during Kandinsky’s Blue Rider period in Germany, and after his return to Russia from Germany, which was just before the Russian Revolution. The social and political turmoil of that period is reflected in his paintings, which can be compared to the purely theoretical and experimental pieces of the Blue Rider period.

Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Tue, Wed, Sun), 10am – 9pm (Thur – Sat), closed Mon

Address: 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Moscow, Russia 119017, +7 499 230-77-88

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has several of Kandinsky’s paintings, though currently only one is on exhibition. Painted in 1912, Improvisation 27 (Garden of Love II) is a classic example of Kandinsky’s work from his Blue Rider period. In its vibrant and seemingly meaningless use of shape and color, Kandinsky and his peers at the time, including Franz Marc, aimed to break down conventions and to appeal to human spirituality rather than the physical world. This experimental style eventually led to abstract art.

Opening hours: 10am – 5:30pm (Sun – Thur), 10am – 9pm (Fri – Sat), check website for closed dates

The Guggenheim

With a collection of close to 100 paintings and 60 sketches and lithographs, the Guggenheim has the honor of owning the world’s largest collection of Kandinsky artwork. The artwork spans Kandinsky’s lifetime, from Kandinsky’s art school days in Munich to his Blue Rider period, his return to Moscow before the Russian Revolution and World War I, and up to the last pieces of art he produced in France before his death in 1944. Displayed in chronological order, the viewer can trace the evolution of Kandinsky’s style and simultaneously witness his work in changing the conventions of visual art.

Opening hours: 10am – 5:45pm (Sun – Wed, Fri), 10am – 7:45pm (Sat), closed Thur

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Museum of Modern Art would not be complete without a collection of paintings by Kandinsky, one of the pioneers of abstract art. Displayed in the gallery Painting and Sculpture I is White – Soft and Hard (1932), a striking piece of white and black seemingly meaningless shapes. The stark contrast between the colors and the and neat lines are more of Kandinsky’s cutting-edge work in developing abstract art. Kandinsky painted this just before he left Germany for France before the start of World War II.

Opening hours: 10:30am – 5:30pm (regular hours), check website for details

Address: 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, +1 212 708 9400