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Severe in Sweet, 1928

Vasily Kandinsky

Russian, 1866-1944
Watercolor and colored ink on laid paper
16-7/8 x 12-1/8 in. (42.9 x 30.8 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.201
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On view

In 1928 Kandinsky created 25 oil paintings and more than 100 watercolors, Severe in Sweet being one of them. Kandinsky sent Severe in Sweet along with others to Galka Scheyer in Los Angeles for her to sell on consignment in 1933. She expressed great fondness for Severe in Sweet, and through correspondence, they worked out an arrangement for her to buy it for her own collection. In a letter dated December 30, 1938, she wrote to Kandinsky:

“This watercolor, in case you don’t remember it, has a light brown circle in the upper right-hand corner with brighter circles which renew themselves in the yellow space. Joined to these are some lines that resound with every renewal. For the circle soars and breathes, just as life, I am sure, constantly renews itself and resounds whenever it touches the lines that exist in space. It is one of your works that really says ‘Yes.’”

In his response, Kandinsky proposed the following offer: “The watercolor 318 Severe in Sweet with which you are flirting costs $40 net. For you the price would be $20 net.”

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