Towards Biomorphic Abstraction

Zoom into Sky Blue and watch Kandinsky's painting come alive

Bleu de ciel (Sky Blue) (1940) by Kandinsky, VassilyCentre Pompidou

When Kandinsky moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine in France in 1933, controversy pitted Abstract artists against the Surrealists led by André Breton. 

Kandinsky was involved: his style evolved and introduced a stunning diversity of original motifs inspired by biological and zoological imagery.

He was inspired by the different shapes used by artists such as Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró, whilst also creating his own biomorphic abstraction. Kandinsky created Sky Blue in 1940. The painting, evoking freedom and optimism, was a reaction to the war that had just broken out: the third of Kandinsky's life.

In Sky Blue, as the title suggests, Kandinsky favors the milky blue background over the colored shapes suspended in space that bring it to life. It is an atmospheric blue; that of the sky outside his workshop window. 

These half-animal, half-fantastic (imaginary) creatures are reminiscent of the bright and refined patterns that Kandinsky designed 1942–1943 for the curtains produced by Jean Bauret and the Société industrielle de la Lys. 

Sky Blue is also reminiscent of Constellations, painted by Joan Miró around the same time, and which Kandinsky went to see with painter Alberto Magnelli.

Only Kandinsky's monogram retained some of the geometric rigidity from his past works.

 Due to its colors and composition, Sky Blue and others of Kandinsky's chromatic paintings were classified as "chinoiserie" (imitation Chinese) in reference to the oriental use of colors. 

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