After his training in Prague and in Vienna, Kupka moved in 1894 to Paris, looking for the different Occult tendencies then in full swing, both those he experienced in Vienna and those in vogue in Paris. Until he became in 1906 a founding member of the Section d’Or – moving then to Abstract Art, – he vigorously explored different veins of symbolism and expressionism in Paris. Works of that period are rather rare, and among them the landscape works, trees or ruins with no human figure, are extensively rare. They were all realised between 1904 and 1906, most of the time with a large spectrum of grey gouaches, with white highlights. However, following an intellectual path similar to that of Piet Mondrian, another pioneer of non-figuration, Kupka started from nature to end up in abstraction. Water and tree were the favourite subjects.
The present Castle is one of this works, inspired by the fin-de-siècle atmosphere he experienced in Vienna, though his interest in Symbolism’s ideas had already begun when he was still living in Bohemia. His attraction for parallel worlds and mysteries was evident and full of romantic atmospheres, most likely inspired from Friedrich. In this gouache, the treatment of the clouds, in contrast with the naturalism of the plants, prefigures the gouaches of the 30’s, while fine hatchings, more evident at a close view, announce his steps towards the Orphism, and anticipate a research that reached its apogee with vertical abstractions. The techniques are melted as if Kupka wanted to suggest the freshness of the watercolour and the experimental character of the gouache.
Throughout his career, Kupka kept preserving these two directions, both present in The Castle: one devoted to a more rigid abstraction, with controlled lines, and the other fluid and Dionysian, mostly experimented in works on paper.
Mr. Pierre Brullé has confirmed the authenticity of the work.