Garden of Love
Wassily Kandinsky
Improvisation No. 27 (Garden of Love)

Gallery G
English, Irish and German Paintings and Drawings

The German, English, and Irish sections of modern art were fairly lean, with only two painters who had exhibited widely with other modernists, Wassily Kandinsky and Ernst Kirchner. The inclusion of Kandinsky in Gallery G reflects the lucidity of the national boundaries constructed at the Armory Show, which, for European artists, were primarily based on exhibition records rather than official citizenship. With the exception of Mary Cassatt, however, painters from the United States, despite their exhibition and physical presence abroad, were shown in sections identified as American.

According to Milton Brown, Davies and Kuhn considered most German and English painters to be derivatives of the French; many Americans were similarily accused of being "faux Fauves." (Brown, Story 185) Kandinsky and Kirchner were each represented by only one painting in Gallery G. Kandinsky's, shown above, came from one of his most recent series of Improvisations and was promptly purchased by Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz wrote to the artist after his purchase, explaining that he "was so insenced [sic] at the stupidity of the people who visited the Exhibition, and also more than insen [sic] at the stupidity of most of those in charge of the Exhibition, in not realizing the importance of your picture that I decided to buy it." (Levin, Theme 12) Although Kandinsky's On the Spiritual in Art (1912) was not translated into English until 1914, Stieglitz had translated portions of the text and included them in the July 1912 issue of Camera Work. Kandinsky's writings as well as his paintings proved to be a significant influence on a number of American artists represented at the Armory Show (Marsden Hartley and Katherine Dreier are two primary examples).

Kirchner's painting, Wirtsgarten, served as one of the few other examples of German Expressionism, although earlier influences could be seen in the work of van Gogh (Gallery Q), Munch (Gallery K), and Ferdinand Hodler (Gallery R). Olga Oppenheimer, a little-known German Expressionist, exhibited at the Cologne Sonderbund in 1912 and 1913, where Kuhn most likely saw her work and secured it for the Armory Show. Six of her woodcuts were hung in Gallery K with Munch's woodcuts and lithographs. Her works were illustrations for Van Zanten's Happy Time, a popular novel by Laurids Bruun. The subject was similarly explored by other German Expressionists such as Max Pechstein (Gaze 1048).


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