The quote which I'm seeking the original German for is:

"lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and . . . stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"

which Richard Cytowic apparently got from Kandinsky, V. (1910) Über das Geistige in der Kunst. Inbesondere in der Malerei. Munich: Piper.

I've attempted without success to identify the original German here as well as to find something similar in a few English translations like this one with a search of the word music and other relevant words. This appears to be a retranslation from English back into German, rather than the original, but my German isn't very good, so I can't swear to that.

  • Yes, it's definitely a retranslation. What's more, I tried the full-text search here with some translated words, but I was not successful. – Cacambo Jan 7 '20 at 5:21
  • While I don't consider this as on-topic for German Language, I'm neither sure, whether Arts and Crafts would be more appropriate. – guidot Jan 7 '20 at 10:32
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    This is a nice question. However, still I would prefer to not have to click a link (or even several) in order to understand the nature of sources and places refered to. It would help to add the name of the website or whatever. – Christian Geiselmann Jan 7 '20 at 12:29

This is the book you are looking for:

Kandinsky - Essays über Kunst und Künstler (herausgegeben und kommentiert von Max Bill)

Page 236 says:

«Halten Sie ihr Ohr hin zur Musik, öffnen Sie ihr Auge für die Malerei. Und denken Sie nicht!» Prüfen Sie, wenn Sie wollen, nachdem Sie gehört haben, nachdem Sie gesehen haben. Fragen Sie sich, wenn Sie wollen, ob Sie dieses Werk «entführt» hat in eine ihnen bisher unbekannte Welt. Wenn ja, was wollen Sie mehr?

But your quote and a lot of other sites omit the "Prüfen Sie, wenn Sie wollen" part.


To be exact it's from Der Wert eines Werkes der konkreten Kunst [XXe Siècle (Paris, 1939, No 5–6/I und 1–2/II)]. The book above is a collection of various texts including this one.

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