Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4. 1914
Vasily Kandinsky

Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4

1914
Not on view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
64 1/4 x 48 1/4" (163 x 122.5 cm)
Credit
Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange)
Object number
299.1983
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

This series of four canvases was commissioned by Edwin R. Campbell, founder of Chevrolet Motor Company, for the entrance foyer of his Park Avenue apartment. In 1913, Kandinsky coined the expression "nonobjective painting" to refer to painting that depicted no recognizable objects. Although preliminary studies for one of these paintings suggest that Kandinsky had a landscape in mind when he conceived it, he ultimately envisioned these works as free of descriptive devices. Kandinsky stressed the impact of color and its association with music, explaining that "color is a means of exerting direct influence upon the soul. Color is a keyboard. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano, with its many strings."

Gallery label from 2006

Additional text

This painting is one of a lush and vibrant suite of four canvases produced at a time when artists in several countries were beginning to explore what Kandinsky, a pioneer of abstract art, called "nonobjective" painting—painting that showed no immediately recognizable objects. Instead, Kandinsky wanted each of his works to be "a graphic representation of a mood." Studies for one of these paintings suggest that he had a landscape in mind when he conceived it, and we might still see in all four works a field, a mountain, or a cloud; but they are much transformed. Similarly, if these works do indeed describe the four seasons, as one scholar has guessed, then their colors and abstract shapes respond to some quality sensed in the year's phases, rather than to any specific scene.

Edwin R. Campbell, who commissioned the series, was an automobile executive, who had the works made to fit the walls in the entrance hall of the New York apartment he shared with his wife, Margery. Unfortunately, the couple separated in 1921, and the paintings separated too, being divided into pairs, and passing through several different collections; they were permanently reunited at The Museum of Modern Art in 1982.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art , MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 73

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
(same as that of Panel No. 2)
(Willem Beffie, Amsterdam. Left in care of Beffie by Kandinsky with instructions to ship them to New York, 1914 – 1916)
Mr. and Mrs. Edwin R. Campbell, 1914 – 1929. (Commissioned in 1914, together with Painting Number 199, Painting Number 200, and Painting Number 201, as a mural ensemble for their New York apartment at 635 Park Avenue. First exhibited in Stockholm in February 1916, then shipped to New York in summer 1916, and installed in Campbell’s foyer in fall 1916, until 1921 when Edwin Campbell (1874-1929) divorced and moved.)
[Whereabouts unknown. 1929 – 1940]
Murray Hoffman, Palm Beach, Florida. 1940
James St. L. O’Toole, New York (dealer). Acquired panels 2 and 4 from Hoffman, 1940 – 1941
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased from O’Toole, 1941 – 1983
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange), 1983

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource