Composition (Horses) c. 1927

Kathleen Munn, Composition (Horses), c. 1927

Kathleen Munn, Composition (Horses), c. 1927

Oil on canvas, 51 x 60.7 cm

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton

This painting’s subject matter is familiar territory for Munn: horses, bulls, and cows in the landscape; however, its title reveals an important aspect of her matured attitude toward painting. The word “composition”—referring to how the formal elements of the painting work together—attests to her affinity with the ideas of art and spirituality of Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), discussed in his key text Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Bertram Brooker (1888–1955), also influenced by this writing, called the painting Munn’s most “musical—at the time, Brooker was exploring the links between music and painting. He owned Composition (Horses) and reproduced it in his Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1928–1929. It was included in the 1928 Group of Seven exhibition, along with Composition (Reclining Nude), c. 1926–28, also owned by Brooker.

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