«The Jack of Diamonds»

Since the beginning of the 1900s and before the World War I, Kandinsky, living in Germany, regularly traveled to Russia: in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Odessa. He was keenly interested in the cultural process, took an active part in artistic life and has exhibited his works at various exhibitions. But first of all it attracted artists and associations, which, as he engaged in the search for new means and forms of expression.

At the end of 1910 the public peace of Moscow was literally detonated the exhibition of “Jack of Diamonds”. The scandalous name of the event was offered by one of its organizers, Mikhail Larionov. “The Jack of Diamonds” was associated with something jargon-theft, and this is already the name of the caused irritation among the older generation of masters and conservative is public. They met the exhibition in bayonets. The contemporaries called it the “exhibition of madness”, the first “a slap in the face of public taste”. In contrast to prevailing at that time in the art of academism, as well as the later symbolism, “The Jack of Diamonds” sought to demonstrate a simple “art for the people”: deliberately vulgar, savagely energetic. This exhibition was the sign of the change of cultural codes. The fact that the senior masters seemed marginal, hooliganism, unacceptable - it was put up on the display and the general discussion. Kandinsky was among reproached and criticized participants. He put on court of the public the four of his “Improvisation”. Although his works weren’t entered in the general style of the exhibition - woodcut, deliberately simple, but they were consistent with the spirit of venture - the search for new means of artistic expression in contrast to the existing laws.

M. Voloshin, visited the exhibition, wrote: "The sad fruits of the bitter theorizing of Kandinsky, who makes a heroic attempt to eliminate from his paintings all "objectivity" and the establishment of a line of "carpet", without ornaments, " the curious to the fact that they, indeed, from any point of view nothing can be understood, with the sincere desire to resolve these charades. But on the "carpets" these dry line, reminiscent of break band of iron, shot in the time of the crash of the train, not like." Another indignant reviewed Kandinsky received from the critic of P. Ivanovsky in the newspaper “The Early Morning". - "Here - W. Kandinsky , - And the audience, and fellow artists remember, of course, his bold, bright-color paintings, his graceful posters. This painter was in them. Then... then there was the "it"... and I, standing for ten minutes about these "Improvisations", nothing, absolutely nothing, understood. Someone from behind me said: “In the left corner of the painting, it seems, seeing a human face! …. And are as if feet to the right?” Once again, I looked closely at the "Improvisation". No. No face, any feet. There is nothing. Tell me, is it not terrible?"

In January 1912, a few of the organizers of the exhibition have established artistic association “The Jack of Diamonds” and Kandinsky became its full member with David Burliuk, Konchalovsky, Lentulov, Mashkov, Rozdestvensky and others. In addition, Mashkov asked Kandinsky to attract of German artists in the association, where they, as he thought, would be interesting for the “The Jack of Diamonds”. At the exhibition “The Jack of Diamonds” in the same year, Kandinsky presented six his works, including – “George I”, ”Concert” and sketch for "Composition V”. On December 18, 1912 there was one more significant event in the cultural life: there was published a collection of poetry and the cubism-futuristic Manifesto “Slap in the face of public taste”. The text of the Manifesto was written by David Burliuk, V. Hlebnikov, V. Mayakovsky and A. Kruchenykh. Among the authors of that collection was a name of Wassily Kandinsky. However, his four poems were included in a book without his knowledge or consent. Kandinsky hastened to announce openly about it in the press. He also distanced himself from the Manifesto.

In May, 1913 the Kandinsky left the association, he put it in a letter G. Walden, "disliked the situation and atmosphere of exhibitions, lectures". In general, participation of Kandinsky in this association was the phenomenon rather formal. "The first abstract watercolor" was written back in the 1910-th year and he was on the straight road to the opening of abstract painting. He chose moving forward and not to engage in an explanation of the critics of all kinds as "solve charade", where they weren't. In 1916 from the association came out Mashkov and Konchalovsky, and administrating was undertaken by representatives of more radical, approach to the art headed by Kazimir Malevich. The last exhibition of “The Jack of Diamonds” was held in 1917, and this year is considered to be the last year of the existence of association.

A. Lentulov
Woman with a Guitar. 1913

W. Kandinsky
"Impression lll (Concert)". 1911

I. Mashkov
"Self-portrait and a portrait of Pyotr Konchalovsky", 1910

K. Malevich
"Portrait of Matiushin", 1913

P. Konchalovsky
"Bread on the green", 1913