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Sketch for "Deluge I", 1912

Vasily Kandinsky

Russian, 1866-1944
Oil and charcoal on cardboard mounted on wood
13-7/8 x 19-1/8 in. (35.2 x 48.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase with funds acquired from the Galka E. Scheyer Estate, for the Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

Kandinsky studied law in Moscow, then moved to Munich to study painting in 1896. He first worked in a Symbolist style, in which naturalism moved toward the edge of abstraction. In this small but highly animated painting, we can see a long white jagged line of lightning and a mountain that seems to be erupting. Less recognizable are several small figures attempting to escape the flood. Kandinsky's reference point was still the world of material reality. Later in 1912, when he began to make drawings for "Deluge II," all realistic symbols disappeared.

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