The Archer

Accession Number

The Archer

Wassily Kandinsky

Artist Nationality
Russian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1908-1909, printed 1912

Medium & Support
woodblock on paper

6 1/2 in x 6 in (16.5 cm x 15.2 cm);12 3/16 in x 9 1/2 in (30.9 cm x 24.1 cm);19 5/16 in x 14 5/16 in (49 cm x 36.3 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase

Label copy
In 1911, inspired by the Munich New Artists’ Association rejection of his boldly abstract painting Composition 5, Kandinsky and fellow artists Gabriele Münter, Alfred Kubin, and Franz Marc founded the association Der Blaue Reiter. Kandinsky articulated the group’s view of art as a spiritual activity in their most important theoretical text, The Almanac of the Blue Rider (1912): “The art of today . . . does not only reflect the spiritual achievements already acquired, but also enshrines, as a materializing force, the spirituality that is ripe to the point of revelation.”
In their simple form and bright palette, Kandinsky’s works from this period evoke the Russian folk paintings of his childhood, as well as the glass paintings he admired from the Bavarian countryside in which he lived with Münter. In Rider Kandinsky has created an abstracted landscape in which his signature motif of a horse and rider boldly leap across the composition. The work is characteristic of how Kandinsky used color to great effect in his compositions. It was his theory of the profound psychological effects of form and color upon the viewer and the spiritual power of making art itself that he detailed in his seminal work of twentieth-century art theory, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (Über das Geistige in der Kunst) published in 1912.
Text written by Katharine A. Weiss, Exhibitions Assistant, on the occasion of the UMMA exhibition Graphic Visions: German Expressionist Prints and Drawings, January 25–April 6, 2003, West Gallery

Subject matter
This print is characteristic of Kandinsky's work in woodcuts in which he explored themes of idealized Russian landscapes, fantasy lands, and folklore. In this piece an archer holding his bow rides a yellow horse through an abstract landscape. The print was included in 1912 in the edition of 50 deluxe copies of The Blue Rider Almanac, which Kandinsky produced along with fellow artist Franz Marc.

Physical Description
This woodcut print of an abstracted landscape is done in green, red, yellow, blue, and black. An architectural form appears on the left and an archer on horseback appears in the lower right corner.  

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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color woodcuts
landscapes (representations)
modern and contemporary art

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& Author Notes

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