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A painting of geometric forms.

The painting shows geometric forms on an off-white background. On the right a long triangle with colored bars is intersected by an upwardly curving line. Slightly above is a blue disc and inverted triangle intersected by a horizontal line. To the left are two inverted chevrons one above the other. A large blue disc is in the upper right corner. Three inverted u-shapes with sharp corners are in the center. A small red square is in the upper left corner, a blue and red rectangle is down to the right with another smaller red square down to the right.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Wassily Kandinsky, Russian (Moscow, Russia 1866 - 1944 Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France)
Jocular Sounds
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Scherzklänge
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on composition board
34.9 x 48.9 cm (13 3/4 x 19 1/4 in.)
frame: 36.3 x 50.5 cm (14 5/16 x 19 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: in red ink at l.l.: K 29


Recorded Ownership History
Ida Bienert and son, Dresden, December 1933. [Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin]. Heinz Berggruen, Paris. [Saidenberg Gallery, New York]. Sold to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1956.

NOTE: VE Barnett suggests the purchaser in 1933 was Ida Bienert, rather than her daughter Ise, as Kandinsky wrote in his ledger.This provenance also incorporates information from H. K. Rothel, Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings (1982-1984).

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Röthel 929

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Association Fund and Purchase in memory of Eda K. Loeb
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre : [15. Europäische Kunstausstellung unter den Auspizien des Europarates : in der Neuen Nationalgalerie, der Akademie der Künste und der Grossen Orangerie des Schlosses Charlottenburg zu Berlin, vom 14. August bis zum 16. Okto, exh. cat., Dietrich Reimer Verlag (Berlin, 1977), pp. 1/251, 1/210, cat. no. 1/461, ill. (b/w)
  • Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 25, repr.
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 379, p. 317, repr.
  • Anna Rowland, The Bauhaus Sourcebook: Bauhaus Style and Its Worldwide Influence, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. (New York, 1990), p. 156, ill. (color)
  • Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 68, ill.
  • Doreen Ehrlich, The Bauhaus, Magna Books (London, 1991), p. 170, ill. (color)
  • Olivia Mattis, Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900, exh. cat., Thames & Hudson (New York, 2005), p. 13, color image
  • Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 128

Exhibition History

  • From Werkbund to Bauhaus: Art and Design in Germany 1900-1934, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 05/12/1980 - 04/26/1980
  • Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
  • Klee and Kandinsky: Works from the Harvard Collection and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/17/1981
  • 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/07/1981 - 11/11/1981
  • 19th- and 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 02/08/1982
  • Art of the Weimar Era, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 04/05/1982 - 05/22/1982
  • Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
  • Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000
  • Visual Music, 1905-2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 02/13/2005 - 05/22/2005
  • 32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/26/2017 - 12/10/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/05/2019 - 07/20/2021
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 02/13/2015; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/11/2015 - 05/10/2015
  • The Bauhaus and Harvard, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/08/2019 - 07/28/2019

Subjects and Contexts

  • The Bauhaus

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at