As the artist moved further into the realms of abstraction, the content of his paintings became harder and harder to decipher. We clearly see a number of figures within this work, but much else is a real mystery. We are already familiar with Kandinsky's method of producing figures at around this time and so we can quickly identify two people sat down, as well as two additional riders, one in beige and one in blue. Curved lines then create the undulating hills, as seen elsewhere in his oeuvre. We are fortunate in having been served a consistent abstract language from the artist which allows us to understand this much, but the rest appears as a flurry of colour and line in ways we may cannot identify with straight away. The artist was later quoted as explaining how he had left it for the viewer to decide the content, in their own minds.
"...The content is what the spectator feels under the effect of the colours and shapes.."
Impression V is a part of his impression series which he categorised as where reality was not relevant to the painting. This allowed him to work from the subconscious, just as the Surrealists would do. He would also have categories known as improvisations and compositions which differed from this approach. This helps to explain why so much of this piece is so hard to decipher, where as other pieces from his career and relatively clearer. Modern art generally requires more of an explanation and perhaps an understanding of the artist in order to place its elements within context.
This painting is owned by the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The institution remains one of the biggest attractions within the city and boasts as good a collection of art as almost any other venue in the city, behind the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. They have a good number of other Wassily Kandinsky paintings and drawings too, going way beyond just the item that you see here. For example, they also own Auf Weiss II (On White II) from 1923, Gelb-Rot-Blau (Yellow-Red-Blue) 1925, Regulated Heap 1938 and Model of Pannel for the Exhibit of Juryfreie: Wall A, 1922. You can also find Kahlo, Brancusi, Robert Delaunay and Matisse featured here alongside regular exhibitions which draw in all manner of artworks from elsewhere.