The Birds from Xylographies

Vasily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944), 1909
Heliogravure after an original woodcut
Art History Department Fund

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries artists began to experiment with past printmaking techniques that had fallen out of use. Vasily Kandinsky, working in Munich just after the turn of the century, became particularly interested in the woodcut. The prints in his Xylographies portfolio are executed in a style that combines elements of Jugendstil (the German version of Art Nouveau) and Russian folk art. The simplification of design required by the woodcut technique moved Kandinsky towards an ever greater abstraction over the next few years.