The Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, in collaboration with the Municipality of Rovigo, the Accademia dei Concordi and Silvana Editoriale, presents Kandinskij - L'opera 1900/1940. An unprecedented exhibition in Italy for the number and quality of the works presented, with the aim of capturing the unitary work period of the artistic and creative path of one of the greatest world artists of the twentieth century.

He was not simply a great artist. Vasily Vasil'evič Kandinsky (Moscow, December 16, 1866 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, December 13, 1944) was a creator of worlds, he conceived and shaped a visual universe, new and free, which did not exist before: Abstract Art is perhaps the most decisive revolution in 20th century art and yet, despite its subversive charge, it does not arise from incendiary proclamations or avant-garde manifestos, but is in fact the result of a slow, progressive maturation born in the regions and reasons of the spirit.

Here: flying over the new world created by Kandinskji, to grasp the unitary work period of that slow and extraordinary artistic and creative path, is the ambitious goal of this exhibition (Palazzo Roverella, Rovigo, from 26 February 2022 to 26 June 2022) which Paolo Bolpagni and Evgenija Petrova have curated by selecting 80 exceptional artworks, dating from around 1900 up to 1940, which cover the different moments of Kandinskji's career. Alongside them, the paintings of the companions who accompanied him along the way, such as Gabriele Münter, Paul Klee, Arnold Schönberg, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, as well as books in original edition, documents, photographs, rare period films, memorabilia and folk art objects. The viewer will then be able to follow the footsteps of a genius along a creative path whose constant lines have been the relationship with music and the roots of his Russian soul, the search for inner authenticity, and spiritualistic irrationalism. For this reason, before taking off, it is good to know that, to get closer to Kandinsky, every rational means is valid but not sufficient: his painting should not be looked at only with eyes and brain, but penetrated with the help of all the mental and sensitive faculties at our disposal.

After abandoning his legal career, in 1896, at the age of thirty, Kandinsky moved to Munich to study painting, first with Anton Ažbe, then with Franz von Stuck. In 1901 he founded the "Phalanx" group. His relevant artworks are woodcuts and paintings with a fairytale atmosphere, which often refer to Russian folklore. Among them “Sonntag” (1904), from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. After a period of wandering between central-western Europe and Russia, in 1908 Kandinsky settled in Murnau, Bavaria. His paintings are here characterized by large juxtaposed bright areas of colour. On display, alongside his masterpieces, one can admire works by Gabriele Münter, Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej von Jawlensky. The musical model (with the famous "improvisations" and "compositions") is fundamental in the transition from Figurative to Abstract Art, and can also be seen in the relationship with the composer and painter Arnold Schönberg, of whom two important paintings are on display.

After this period, for Kandinskij a magmatic creative phase begins, until his definitive landing on Abstract Art. Colour frees itself from drawing, from line, and loses any representative function: it is an autonomous media, used to arouse sensations, to express the artist's soul and his visual but also sound, tactile and psychological perceptions. "Improvisation 34" (1913), is an emblematic artwork, coming from the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan. One section is dedicated to the group of "Der Blaue Reiter" (The Blue Rider), and of this moment is the painting "Der Reiter" (Sankt Georg), loaned by the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, also compared with works by Paul Klee.

At the end of 1914, after a few months spent in Switzerland, Kandinsky returned to his homeland, settling in Moscow. After the revolution he received teaching and organizing positions. He continued to theorize the correlation between form, colour and music, opposed by the proponents of more constructivist and materialist positions (Rodčenko, Popova, Punin, who criticize his "spiritualistic deformations"). Finding himself isolated, Kandinsky returned to Germany in December 1921. In the meantime, his painting has experienced a progressive trend towards geometrization, as documented by the works granted by the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg and Pushkin in Moscow.
An in-depth study is reserved for Kandinskij's paintings on glass executed in 1918. These are figurative compositions, which take up themes and ways of the Russian fairy-tale world. A recurring subject is the iconography of the "woman knight".

In 1922 Kandinsky moved to Weimar to teach at the Bauhaus. Here he rediscovered the ideal of commonality and synthesis between the arts, which he has supported since the time of "Der Blaue Reiter". The paintings of the Weimar period highlight individual elements such as the circle, the angle and curved and straight lines, a taste for a certain disharmony and for a cold colour scheme. The geometricism of these works continues to be accompanied by an irrational basis, in which the expressive choices are determined by a spiritual intuition. On display, among others, “Weisses Kreuz”, oil on canvas from 1922 from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, “Rot in Spitzform”, from 1925, from the MART of Rovereto, and “Grün über Rosa”, from 1928, from a private collection.

Finally, the landing in France. Already in the last phase of the Bauhaus in Dessau a more playful Kandinsky emerges, characterized by a certain lightness. In some artworks, the influence of his friend and colleague Klee appears. This imaginative escape reveals itself as herald of the subsequent Parisian period, characterized by a playful spirit and a biomorphic language close in some ways to the surrealist one. Until the last moment, despite his illness, Kandinsky was not abandoned by a happy creative streak. Among the prestigious international loans, for this final section of the exhibition, "Le nœud rouge", oil on canvas from 1936, from the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and "Sans titre" from 1940, from the Albertina in Vienna.

"Gathering around 80 works by Kandinskij (as well as original edition books, documents, photographs, rare period films, memorabilia and folk art objects) - comments the co-curator Paolo Bolpagni - was a daring and extraordinary undertaking, which will allow the Italian public to admire unique masterpieces that mark all the main junctions in the career of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century". The catalogue created by Silvana Editoriale is also of great importance, in which, in addition to essays by the curators Paolo Bolpagni and Evgenia Petrova, there are those by Silvia Burini, Andrea Gottdang, Jolanda Nigro Covre and Philippe Sers, a biography of the artist by Brigitte Hermann, and the re-edition of the rare Italian translation of Kandinskij's writing "Looks on the past" from the Russian version of 1918.