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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Wassily Kandinsky, Russian, active France, Germany, 1866–1944

Multicolored Circle


Oil on canvas

138.2 × 180 cm (54 7/16 × 70 7/8 in.)
framed: 140.3 × 182.9 × 5.1 cm (55 1/4 × 72 × 2 in.)
Gift of Collection Société Anonyme
This painting exemplifies Kandinsky’s late style in which purely geometric forms dominate the composition. The non-objective and non-representational colored shapes are arranged in an orderly, animated two-dimensional pattern. They are suspended in the pictorial space of the painting through an intense juxtaposition of form and color. One of eight major paintings made by Kandinsky in 1921, while living in Russia, this work represents a transition between the lyrical “improvisations” and the rich “compositions” he made while living in Munich (1896–1914) and the more architectonic works created while he teaching at the Bauhaus (1922–33). As in most of Kandinsky’s paintings, music provided an underlying metaphor for his composition, which he created as a free interplay of color, form, and line in space.
On view
20th century

Exhibition at the Societe Anonyme, 19 E. 47th St, NY, 1923; Société Anonyme (until 1941, donated to the gallery)


Collection of the Société Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art 1920 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1950), 1-2, ill.

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984), 360, no. 375, ill.

Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 196, ill.

Annegret Hoberg, Kandinsky: Absolut, Abstrakt, exh. cat. (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 2009).

Vivian Endicott Barnett et al., Kandinsky, exh. cat. (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2009), 222, 311, no. 57, ill.

Ketevan Kintsurashvili, David Kakabadzé: Georgian Modern Artist and Inventor (New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2013), 129.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.