Centre Pompidou, Paris

F-75004 Paris

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press release

This major retrospective of the work of one of the 20th century's key figures, Vassili Kandinsky, was assembled jointly by Centre Pompidou, the Städtische Galerie in Lenbachhaus in Munich and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York, which hold the largest collections of the artist's works.

It brings together some hundred of Kandinsky's finished paintings, particularly the Impressions and the Improvisations. It offers a unique chance to look through the eyes of this painter born in 1866 in Moscow under the Czar, who died in 1944 in Neuilly-sur Seine, a French citizen.

In the interval, he experienced two of the high spots of creation in the 20th century: the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) in Munich before the First World War and the Bauhaus at Weimar and Dessau in the inter-war period. The completion of the catalogue raisonné of his work, and recent discoveries in Russia give us an overview of his painting which goes beyond the narrow posthumous conception of him as "inventor of abstraction". The Paris exhibit also provides an update on the constant additions to the Kandinsky collection – exceptional watercolours and manuscripts for the "Russian" period 1914-1917, a portfolio from the Bauhaus for his 60th birthday in 1926… – crucial items brought together and presented to the Pompidou Centre by private collectors and by the Société Kandinsky whose chairman until her death was Mrs. Georges Pompidou, now succeeded by Edouard Balladur.

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Wassily Kandinsky