The Ludwigskirche in Munich

Wassily Kandinsky

La Ludwigskirche en Munich

Kandinsky, Wassily

Moscú, 1866 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1944

The Ludwigskirche in Munich, 1908

© Wassily Kandinsky, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

Signed & dated lower left: ''Kandinsky 1908''.
Inscribed on cardboard (back) : ''Ludwigskirche in München''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

Oil on cardboard

67,3 x 96 cm


Artwork history

  • Arthur Jerome Eddy, Chicago (IL)

  • Katharine Kuh, Chicago (IL)

  • John Pratt, Southern Rhodesia

  • Inez Stark Boulton, Washington (DC)

  • David L. Kreeger, Washington (DC)

  • Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1977

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection


Kandinsky Memorial Exhibition, New York (NY), Museum of Non-Objective Painting, n. 2


The Kreeger Collection, Washington (DC), Corcoran Gallery of Art; Baltimore (MD), Museum of Art, n. 8

1979 - 1980

America & Europe. A Century of Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia; Adelaida, Art Gallery of South Australia; Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Wellington, Nueva Zelanda, National Art Gallery; Auckland, Auckland City Art Gallery; Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery; Dunedin, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, n. 24, pp. 140-141, lám. p. 45


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokio, National Museum of Modern Art; Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, n. 34, p. 142, lám. p. 50.


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, London,, Royal Academy of Arts, n. 53


Maestri dell'arte moderna nella Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Florencia, Palazzo Pitti, n. 34, p. 158, lám. p. 52


Moderne Malerei aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, n. 34, p. 159, lám. p. 52

1985 - 1986

Maîtres Modernes de la Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, París, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, n. 34, p. 166, lám. p. 60


Maestros modernos de la Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Biblioteca Nacional, Ministerio de Cultura; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina, n. 34, p. 169, lám. p. 56


Pioniere der Abstrakten Kunst aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Colonia, Galerie Gmurzynska, p. 114, lám. p. 115

1988 - 1989

Wege zur Abstraktion. 80 Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Luxemburgo, Ville Vauban; Múnich, Haus der Kunst; Viena, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, n. 36, p. 94, lám. p. 95


Espressionismo. Capolavori della collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, Villa Favorita, n. 24, p. 68, lám. p. 69

1989 - 1990

Expressionism and Modern German Painting from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art; Fort Worth (TX), Kimbell Art Museum; San Francisco (CA), San Francisco Museum of Art, n. 12, p. 46, lám. p. 47 y cubierta


A Feast of Colour, Hertogenbosch, Noordbrabants Museum, n. 32

1990 - 1991

Espressionismo. Capolavori della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza da Van Gogh a Klee, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, n. 21, p. 76, lam. p. 77

1994 - 1995

Der frühe Kandinsky 1900-1910, Berlín, Brücke-Museum; Tubinga, Kunsthalle, n. 104, s.p., lám.


De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 91, p. 232


Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell'apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, n. 104, p. 264


Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n. 64, p. 200

1998 - 1999

Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokio, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Takaoka, Takaoka Art Museum; Nagoya, Matsuzaka Art Museum; Sendai, Miyagi Museum of Art, n. 91, p. 204

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, pp. 150-152


Del post-impresionismo a las vanguardias. Pintura de comienzos del siglo XX en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio González, n. 25, p. 86

2000 - 2001

La Révolte de la couleur. De l'impressionnisme aux Avant-gardes. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bruselas, Musée d'Ixelles, n. 43, pp. 136-138


Landschaften von Brueghel bis Kandinsky. Die Ausstellung zu Ehren des Sammlers Hans Heinrich Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, n. 76, p. 192


Le Néo-impressionnisme. De Seurat à Paul Klee, París, Musée d'Orsay, p. 374, lám. p. 375


Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction, London, Tate Modern, p. 218

2020 - 2021

German Expressionism from the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Cat. 71, p. 204-205 & p. 12 (photo).

  • -Bulliet, C. J.: “Around the Galleries”. Chicago Daily News. September 24, 1938.

  • -Grohmann, Will: Wassily Kandinsky. Leben und Werk. 2a ed. Cologne, 1961, p. 345.

  • -Dorra, Henri: The Kreeger Collection. Washington (DC), 1970, pp. 86-87.

  • -America & Europe, a century of modern masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. [Exhib. Cat. Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia – Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery,1979-80]. Sydney, Australian Gallery Directors Council, 1979 , n. 24, pp. 140-141, lám. p. 45.

  • -Roethel, Hans K. y Benjamin, Jean K.: Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1982-1984 , vol. 1, (1982), n. 254, p. 244, lám.

  • -Wege zur Abstraktion: 80 Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza. Budde, U. … [et. al.]. [Exhib. Cat. Luxembourg, Villa Vauban – Viena, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, 1988-1989]. Stuttgart, Edition Cantz, 1988 , n. 36, p. 94, lám. p. 95 [Sheet by Martina Bochow-Goltz]

  • -Vergo, Peter: Expressionism. Masterpieces from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. [Exhib. Cat.]. Lugano, Fondazione Thyssen-Bornemisza – Milán, Electa, 1989, n. 24, p. 68, lám. p. 69.

  • -Vergo, Peter: Twentieth-century German Painting: the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. London, Sotheby’s Publications, 1992, n. 36, pp. 158, 161, lám.

  • -Der frühe Kandinsky 1900-1910. [Exhib. Cat. Berlín, Brücke-Museum – Tubinga, Kunsthalle, 1994-1995]. Moeller, Magdalena M. (ed.). Múnich, Hirmer, 1994, n. 104, s.p. lám. [Sheet by Magdalena M. Moeller]

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 372, lám. p. 373 [Sheet by Peter Vergo]

  • -Le néo-impressionnisme. De Seurat à Paul Klee. Ferretti Bocquillon, Marina [et al.]. [Exhib. Cat. París, Musée d’Orsay]. París, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2005 , p. 374, lám. p. 375 [Sheet by Isabelle Gaëtan]

  • -Triadó Tur, J.R. (Coord.).: Kandinsky. Madrid, Tikal  Ed., 2009. p. 40.

  • -Borobia, Mar y Alarcó, Paloma (eds.): Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Obras escogidas. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2011, p. 222, lám. p. 223.

  • -Alarcó, P. y Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 312, lám. p. 313.

  • -Grimme, Karin H.; Wolf, N. (Ed.).: Impressionism. Köln, Taschen, 2017 (1ª Ed. 2007). p .52 y 53 (Ilust.).

  • – German Expressionism from the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza [Exhib. Cat. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Solana, G.; Alarcó, P.], Madrid, 2020, Cat.  71, p. 204-205 & p. 12 (photo).

Expert report

Ludwigskirche in Munich depicts the lower part of the street façade of the church of St Ludwig (built 1829-40), one of the most important works of the early 19th-century architect Friedrich von Gärtner (1792-1847). The church is located not far from Schwabing’s Ainmillerstrasse, in the “artists’ quarter” of Munich, where Kandinsky rented an apartment and studio in September 1908. The picture was probably painted during the autumn of that year. A preparatory pencil drawing, closely related to the final composition, occurs on page 61 of a small-format notebook in use during 1908-1909. It differs from the final painting only in the way the foreground figures are more clearly separated into groups, and in taking a more distant standpoint from the church, allowing us to see rather more of the right-hand part of the façade. The drawing also bears numerous colour indications: “red” and “rose pink” above the portico, “green” “violet” and “blue” beneath the arches, as well as several references to the treatment of the shadows. Evidently, the marked contrast of tonal values found in the painting was a matter of some importance to Kandinsky, and one he wished to establish clearly in his own mind before taking his brush in his hand.

In the picture as actually executed, the porch is thronged with a brightly-coloured multitude, presumably worshippers. The banners beneath the central archway and the group of priests in their yellow vestments suggest they are taking part in a procession to mark one of the great feasts of the church. The application of paint and jewel-like colours recall Kandinsky’s immediately preceding ‘fairy-tale’ paintings of the period 1906-1907, often depicting Russian scenes, which were done under the influence of French neo-Impressionism. In his early years as a painter, Kandinsky was greatly interested in neo-Impressionist theory and practice. In his treatise On the Spiritual on Art (1911), he refers to Paul Signac’s essay From Eugène Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism, the most important theoretical statement of the aims of neo-Impressionist painting; while as early as 1904 at the tenth exhibition of the “Phalanx” society in Munich, he had shown a group of modern French paintings which also included works by Signac and other neo-Impressionist artists.

In Ludwigskirche in Munich, however, the brilliant sunshine casts the porch into deep shadow, giving the painting an abstract-decorative quality which is new in his work at this time. The handling of pigment and high tonal values also betray the impact of Matisse and the Fauve painters whom Kandinsky had the opportunity of studying in Paris in the course of his extended stay there during 1906-1907.

The picture, like many of his early landscape studies and paintings in small format, is not entered in the artist’s handlists. It has, however, always been accepted as authentic, including by Will Grohmann in the supplement to his oeuvre-catalogue of Kandinsky’s paintings.

Peter Vergo