Composition VIII (1923)  by Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VIII


Geometric abstraction

Oil on canvas

55.1 × 79.1" (140.0 × 201.0 cm)

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum


The audience was quite shocked by the transition from the apocalyptic emotion of “Composition VII” to the geometric rhythm of “Composition VIII”. “Composition VIII” was painted ten years later in 1923. It is a logical development of the creative genius of the painter and to a certain extent it reflects the influence of Suprematism and Constructivism assimilated by Kandinsky in Russia and in the Bauhaus.

In 1926, the most important theoretical work of the painter “Point and Line to Plane” was published. Of course, most of the painter’s canvases of this period are the practical expression of his theoretical ideals. However, this is not a literal implementation, but rather intuitive and poetic interpretation. Kandinsky as a writer was consistent and methodical, but when working on the canvas with figures and colours he was becoming sensual and impulsive. And, of course, he hoped that the audience would perceive his work emotionally, too.

Kandinsky aimed to formulate an abstract language which would cause strong emotions in the audience to a large extent the same way as it does the music. “Form itself, even if completely abstract ... has its own inner sound,” he wrote. Kandinsky was looking for a universal law of harmony in the visual arts, which must be present in the center of each creation, and this mystical belief was being reinforced by a convincing inner strength of the painter.

“Composition VIII” was one of the first paintings which were bought by Solomon R. Guggenheim. In 1930 Guggenheim visited Bauhaus where he bought several paintings of Kandinsky. It was the beginning of a large collection which is now exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

More from 1923

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02 April 2018
The circles and triangles are the brass instruments, the lines are string instruments, the curves and strokes are the wind instruments and colours are the piano. Warmer tones are higher pitches and the cooler tones are lower pitches. His compositions allow you to imagine symphony of the piece.

Sedat Uyar Denver,CO USA,

03 March 2018
I like all the works.


05 November 2017
Why? I have to study this artist for my GCSE art class and I hate it. Abstract has to be one of the most annoying types of work there is. OK, I can hear the music when I look at it but that defies the point of art which is to stimulate you visually. Please can anyone suggest another of Kandinsky's work which has more..........visual impact. (btw, this is no hate just my opinion)


14 May 2017
This is a good website for kids to learn I have to say myself


14 April 2017
Of all his paintings this one is my favorite so far. I can see few different landscapes merged into on. Stars and planets, mountains, birds, industrial city. Positive and dynamic.

Christian, California, USA

14 October 2016
The only painting I have ever known in the abstract genre. Amazing work.

Stella, Uruguay

28 August 2016

jack parker, sta august

23 June 2016
im bumming over this art work its amazing

Pepe, UK

24 April 2015
Es, muy, muy fenomenal!


17 December 2014
What was so loved about his work??

Finn, Russia

12 December 2014
Very nice picture. It looks noisy

Hayley, New Windsor

21 October 2014
Wows! I like this painting and it's was a susscess

Jordan, Canada

12 July 2014
I've Never seen his art before but I'm drawn into it now. He has inspired my future work. I love his use of color and contrast

Sagar Bhatt, Mississauga, ON, Canada

09 May 2014
(*Inspired*) Love it; great artist from a great country.

bella, sydney

22 March 2014
what element of design did he use help me PLZZZ

Michael, Ukraine

17 March 2014
It's nice to see how beautiful this work is especially as Russia tries to invade our dear city.
I hope things such as this would soon bring us together and finally bring peace

faith howard, comfort

03 February 2014
I love this picture because its very different and I like things like that I don't like the same thing all the time I like to see different paintings and drawings . Thats why I liked I liked picture


28 January 2014

carla, australia

23 January 2014

Jarrod, Canberra

02 April 2013
I'm looking for more information on Mimic 2


23 March 2013
I love this painting. Its like the inside of my head when listening to music, for I have synesthesia too:)

A. Dimitrova, Russia

25 February 2013
This is amazing. It speaks to me

Alexis Maceda, La Paz, Bolivia

21 November 2012
Hi, I was wondering if there is an "oficial interpretation" for this painting.

Bern, United States

21 November 2012
Very unique piece of art. It supposed to represent music.
Before beginning his art career, kandinsky went to school to become a lawyer. Although,he discovered his love for music, then went to art school

teresa, texas usa

12 October 2011
appreciate the remarks. I had mentioned to several people that Kandinsky's work reminded me of music and so now i see why. i am not studying for school, i am pretty old. I love art.

maria, england

06 October 2011
i use this picture for my inglish art project and one more time i love this picture


06 October 2011
i love this picture

Leslie, MHS

11 August 2011
Prince, Jason Tran?

Prince, Bel air

06 August 2011
Sup, Melbourne High?

Ember, Canada

08 April 2011
I used this picture for my art project! I love this pic!

st, great britan

15 January 2011
thanx kathryn you have helped me a lot !

chow, scotland

09 October 2010
i really like this picture we did it for a univercity project it is so unique

Kathryn Kij, Cheyenne

14 September 2010
Yes, I have studied Kandinsky in school and he would go to the symphony and paint or sketch the music. He used universal shapes and colors that anyone in the world would understand or feel the meaning. For example the colorful grids are the sound of the piano, the circles and triangles are the different brass instruments and the slash marks are the srokes of the strings and the curvy lines are the wind instruments like the flute. The Warmer colors in the yellow to red range are louder nioses and the color tones of greans blues and purples are lower sounds. And he uses composition to draw your eye around the painting so that you can imagine how the whole piece would sound.

Ali, England

10 June 2010
Kandinsky supposedly had synesthesia so he wanted to create the painting equivalent of a symphony to stimulate the ears of the observer. Hence the name "composition".

molli, england

10 March 2010
does any1 knowe any history onthis picture?

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