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Open Green

Open Green, 1923

Vassily Kandinsky
Russian, 1866–1944
Oil on canvas
38-1/4 x 38-1/4 in. (97.2 x 97.2 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Kandinsky was a trailblazer of modern art, a practitioner of radical abstraction and the author of key theoretical works concerned with the spiritual and formal aspects of art. In Open Green, painted in 1923, his interests in spirituality and form create a dreamscape of color and shape that is both abstract and figurative. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky was a devoted student of Russian folklore and icon painting. In this painting, the combination of shapes—such as the circle pierced by a slender diagonal line, the two curving black commas and the colorful checkerboard— has been read as a depiction of Saint George, the patron of the Russian Orthodox church. With his lance and shield held up high, the equestrian gallops into the heavens.

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