In the Artist’s Space: Helen Mirren on Vasily Kandinsky

While Dame Helen Mirren was in New York to film her movie Arthur—a remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore classic—she graciously agreed to do a video interview at The Museum of Modern Art. Truth be told, I’m a huge fan of the dame. In addition to being a fantastic actor, she’s beautiful, smart, and completely unpretentious. She’s an art lover, and she is especially enamored of the pioneering abstract paintings of Vasily Kandinsky, whose work is represented in MoMA’s collection and whose “Four Seasons” were very fortuitously on view on the day of her visit (and they still are).

Acquired in 1982, the Panels for Edwin R. Campbell No. 1-4, as they are officially known, were originally commissioned by the founder of the Chevrolet Motor Company for the entrance foyer of his Park Avenue apartment in 1913. This stunning suite of four canvases are thought to represent the Russian master’s take on the four seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall. And did you know that Helen Mirren is also Russian? Her grandfather, Pyotr Miranoff, settled in England during the Russian Revolution, and that’s where Helen spent her childhood.

Like these amazing works, Helen does not disappoint, and in this interview she talks passionately about her great love of painting—particularly her “lovely friends” the Kandinsky paintings—and about the connections between painting and her work.