Russian-born modernist Wassily Kandinsky’s Murnau mit Kirche II (Murnau with Church II) sold for $44.9 million last night at Sotheby’s in London, after the controversial painting was restored to the heirs of its rightful owners.
After a 12-year legal wrangle, the canvas had recently been returned by the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, to the heirs of prominent Berlin collectors Johanna Margarete Stern-Lippmann and Siegbert Samuel Stern. Painted in 1910, it was one of the largest of an admired series of works edging toward abstraction that Kandinsky made while staying at an artists colony in Bavaria, Germany.
To learn more about the painting’s restitution, read a news article, here.
The sale (37.2 million pounds) established a new auction record for the artist. Early works by Kandinsky rarely come to the market, with the lion’s share residing in major museum collections across the world.
More about Kandinsky on previous Art Junkie posts, here and here and here.
Image credits: Both images, courtesy of Sotheby’s. Image #2 shows the painting in the dining room at Villa Stern.
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