Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons)


Oil on canvas
43 11/16 x 43 13/16 in. (111 x 111.3 cm)
signed, l.l.: “Kandsky i9i3”
Arthur Jerome Eddy Memorial Collection, 1931.511

Vassily Kandinsky advocated an abstract art that moves beyond imitation of the physical world. Believing that lines, shapes, and colors possess the power to provoke emotions, he imbued such works as Improvisation No. 30 with symbolic meanings to help orient the viewer to his new visual language.

Though abstract, the canvas contains recognizable elements: a crowd in the lower left, a towering castle in the upper right, and two cannons in the lower right. In a letter to Chicago collector Arthur Jerome Eddy, the artist explained such representational forms: “The presence of the cannons . . . could probably be explained by the constant war talk going on throughout the year. But I did not intend to give a representation of war; to do so would have required different pictorial means. . . . These contents are indeed what the spectator lives, or feels while under the effect of the form and color combinations of the picture.”


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