Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922, by Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) is a pristine print portfolio composed of four lithographs, four woodcuts (two of which merge lithography and woodcut techniques), and four etchings. It also includes a colophon by the artist describing his intent: “Each technique was chosen for its appropriate character. The character of each technique played an external role in helping to create 4 different ‘small worlds.’”

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. II)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 165)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. II)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 165)

Inquire

Kandinsky made Small Worlds upon his return to Germany, shortly after he began teaching at the Bauhaus. What makes this particular set unique is that it is an unnumbered artist proof, which was not intended for sale. It was a gift that Kandinsky gave to Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius (1883–1969) and his wife, Ise (1897–1983), for their wedding in October 1923, and includes a handwritten dedication from the artist.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. V)

Lithograph (transferred from woodcut) on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed lower left in stone: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 168)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. V)

Lithograph (transferred from woodcut) on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed lower left in stone: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 168)

Inquire

Small Worlds offers unique insight into Kandinsky’s work during a critical professional and personal juncture in his life. His return to Germany was a homecoming. He had lived in Munich from 1896 to 1914, where he formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) and had come closer than almost any of his contemporaries towards pure abstraction. With the outbreak of World War I, he left Germany, returning to his native Russia. In Moscow, he became part of the avant-garde. But he soon grew disillusioned with the feverish radicalism surrounding him. Worse still, local critics viewed his work as romantic and irrational, and life in Moscow was harsh. When Gropius invited Kandinsky to join the Bauhaus, he enthusiastically accepted. His Small Worlds portfolio was perhaps not only a wedding gift, but also a sign of his gratitude towards Gropius for offering him a way out of Moscow.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. III)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Initialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 166)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. III)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Initialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 166)

Inquire

The imagery in each of the 12 prints reflects a synthesis of Kandinsky’s stylistic evolution. The sense of atmospheric space and abstracted landscape recall his Blue Rider days. His use of dynamic, geometric planes and structured compositions evince the influence of Constructivism from his Moscow years. The geometric patterning and interplay of line, form, and color anticipate his focus during his Bauhaus period.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. VI)

Woodcut on paper

Sheet: 14 x 12 1/3 in. (35.56 x 31.3 cm)

Image: 10 3/4 x 9 1/3 in. (27 x 23.7 cm)

Initialed lower left on stock: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 169)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. VI)

Woodcut on paper

Sheet: 14 x 12 1/3 in. (35.56 x 31.3 cm)

Image: 10 3/4 x 9 1/3 in. (27 x 23.7 cm)

Initialed lower left on stock: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 169)

Inquire

Small Worlds is also a testament to Kandinsky’s technical brilliance and deep commitment to process and play. In these poetic images he capitalizes on the strengths of each printmaking method, in which he saw symbolic properties. Etching, he wrote in 1926, is “aristocratic,” since “it can produce only a small number of first-rate pulls.” He saw woodcut as “more generous and more egalitarian” and lithography as the most “democratic” method in that it can produce an “almost unlimited number of prints at top speed.”

This superb portfolio foreshadows the creative flowering Kandinsky would experience at the Bauhaus, perhaps his most productive time as an artist. An institution with utopian, socially-minded ideals, the Bauhaus allowed Kandinsky’s inquiry-driven, spiritually-inspired art to flourish.

Images

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (cover)

Cover

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.5 cm)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (inside cover)

Lithograph on paper

17 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. (45 x 34.3 cm)

Inscribed lower left: Walter und Ilse [sic] Gropius zum Andenken an d. 16. X 23 herzlichst Kandinsky Weimar

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (colophon)

Lithograph on paper

17 9/10 x 13 1/2 in. (45.5 x 34.3 cm)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. I)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Initialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 164)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. II)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 165)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. III)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Initialed and dated lower left in stone: VK 22

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 166)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. IV)

Lithograph on paper

Sheet: 13 1/2 x 11 1/3 in. (34.3 x 28.8 cm)

Image: 11 x 10 in. (27.9 x 25.4 cm)

Initialed lower left in stone: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 167)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. V)

Lithograph (transferred from woodcut) on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Intialed lower left in stone: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 168)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. VI)

Woodcut on paper

Sheet: 14 x 12 1/3 in. (35.56 x 31.3 cm)

Image: 10 3/4 x 9 1/3 in. (27 x 23.7 cm)

Initialed lower left on stock: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 169)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. VII)

Lithograph (transferred from woodcut) on paper

Sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.5 x 27.9 cm)

Image: 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm)

Initialed lower left in stone: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 170)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. VIII)

Woodcut on paper

Sheet: 14 x 12 in. (35.6 x 30.5 cm)

Image: 10 3/4 x 9 1/3 in. (27.3 x 23.7 cm)

Intialed lower left on stock: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 171)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. IX)

Drypoint on paper

Sheet: 11 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (29.8 x 26.7 cm)

Image: 8 x 9 1/2 in. (20.3 x 24.1 cm)

Initialed lower left in plate: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 172)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. X)

Drypoint on paper

Sheet: Sheet: 11 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (29.8 x 26.7 cm)

Image: 9 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (24.1 x 19.6 cm)

Intialed lower left in plate: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 173)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. XI)

Drypoint on paper

Sheet: 11 15/16 x 10 9/16 in. (30.3 x 26.8 cm)

Iamge: 9 5/16 x 7 3/4 in. (23.7 x 19.7 cm)

Intialed lower left in plate: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 174)

Inquire

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Portfolio of Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), 1922 (no. XII)

Drypoint on paper

Sheet: Sheet: 11 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (29.8 x 26.7 cm)

Iamge: 9 5/16 x 7 3/4 in. (23.7 x 19.7 cm)

Intialed lower left in plate: VK

Signed lower right: Kandinsky

(Roethel 175)

Inquire
Back To Top