The Waterfall Artist: Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, active France, Germany, 1866–1944)


Modern and Contemporary Art

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

The Moscow-born artist Wassily Kandinsky, along with Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Paul Klee, is one of the most important contributors to the avant-garde movement of the early twentieth century. Kandinsky and Klee were, in fact, fellow students in the Munich Academy, and it was from Munich's Jugendstil art nouveau milieu at the turn of the century that Kandinsky's lyrical early style developed. Kandinsky painted The Waterfall at a turning point when he was transforming his naturalist landscapes into the abstract compositions for which he is best known. Inspired by the German countryside of Murnau, near Munich, Kandinsky playfully distorted the landscape's natural forms to the limits of figuration, creating a fantastical scene that foreshadows the artist's later lyrical abstractions. The bold color palette of The Waterfall pays tribute to the French Fauvist artists whom Kandinsky admired on his multiple stays in Paris from 1904 to 1906.


Oil on pasteboard


27 9/16 × 38 1/2 × 3/16 in. (70 × 97.8 × 0.5 cm)
sight in frame: 27 × 38 in. (68.6 × 96.5 cm)
framed: 33 1/4 × 44 1/4 × 1 5/8 in. (84.5 × 112.4 × 4.1 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Collection Société Anonyme

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.



Prov: Rolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 1924
  • Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 195, 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), 356, no. 373, ill
  • Collection of the Société Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art 1920 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1950), 2
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

abstract (general art genre), landscapes (representations)


Signed l.r.: Kandinsky 1909

Technical metadata and APIs


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