Wassily Kandinsky Biography | Oil Paintings
12-4-1866, Moscow, RUS – 12-13-1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Born in Moscow, Wassily Kandinsky trained as a lawyer, and at the age of thirty, completely unexpected, he abandoned law and moved to Munich to study painting after visiting an exhibition of Monet’s work. In Munich, where he studied under Franz von Stuck he met a fellow student, Paul Klee (thirteen years his junior) where he began to develop a lifelong friendship.
Wassily Kandinsky’s personal style went through many phases, ranging from Jugendstil (the German equal of Art Nouveau) to Fauvism and Expressionism. He is most celebrated, for his advances towards abstraction. He is credited with painting one of the first abstract works, Kandinsky is one of the most revolutionary artists of the twentieth century.
Kandinsky, The Power of Abstract Expressionism.
His early paintings can be described as poetic and magic illustrations of the traditional Russian folk tales. His art reached a crucial turning point, but, in 1908, when at the age of forty-two, he left Munich for the mountain village of Murnau and began painting the landscape. These naturalistic images soon began to dissolve into patches and streaks of violently contrasting colors and forms, which became increasingly abstract as time passed. In 1909 he painted The Railroad at Murnau, in his work, the train's dynamism, steam, and advanced technology create a field of energy that reverberates through the landscape. A few years later, with Landscape With Red Spots, here the Alpine peaks surrounding Murnau are still an identifiable, figurative presence. Kandinsky did not decompose his landscapes along geometric lines like Paul Cezanne and the Cubists, but rather on the basis of his own instinctive sense of color.
This came about after he returned to his studio one evening, and was enchanted by a picture he did not recognize. It turned out to be one of his own paintings lying on its side. Wassily Kandinsky immediately realized that subject matter lessened the impact of his pictures, and he strove to remove this from future compositions.
In 1911, he founded the influential Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), with fellow artists Franz Marc and August Macke. Who through their art journal of the same name made Abstract Expressionism one of the most exciting movements in Europe. At the outbreak of WW1 (in which Marc and Macke both lost their lives), Kandinsky returned to Russia, where he eagerly participated in the revolution and was appointed a professor of art in Moscow. Again his style changes dramatically, heavily influenced by the new Constructivist movement of Vladimir Tatlin and Aleksandr Rodchenko.
Kandinsky, Music and the Birth of Abstract Art.
In 1913, Kandinsky changed the title of his works from “improvisations” to “compositions”, this choice of terminology revealed his interest in contemporary musical composition and his attempt to bring those ideas into the visual form, but also, to mark the boundary between plain “randomness” of his paintings and their actual studied quality based on a superior compositional structure. Kandinsky's relationship with Arnold Schonberg, one of the great composers of the twentieth century and a talented painter in his own right, was both profitable and mutually stimulating. In fact, music played a pivotal role in the birth of abstract painting, especially for Kandinsky. Music was seen as the model for any artist seeking to focus on the raw materials, their properties, and possible combinations. The musician combines sounds as the painter combines colors and forms.
Kandinsky Form can Exist by Itself, Color can Not.
During the most exciting and intense phase of Abstract Expressionism, after detaching himself from the dynamics of Der Blaue Reiter, Kandinsky's paintings were accompanied by theoretical texts. Excerpts from an article he wrote in 1912 on the Question of Form could be used to describe his paintings. Here, Kandinsky states that form can exist in and of itself, while color demands fixed limits. Each element, thus, enhances and reinforces the value of the other.
The title of the painting Painting With Red Spot refers to a red spot, but this color is repeated throughout the canvas. He focused on three primary colors, red, yellow, blue as if to expose the chromatic foundation on which the entire universe of color and light is based. In the top section of the painting, to the right of the circular red patch, there is a double line. This visual sign was used by Kandinsky in other paintings from this period, it has become an abstract motif around which the artist arranges lavish and harmonious series of colors.
In 1922, invited by his friend Klee, Kandinsky returned to Germany and taught at the Bauhaus. Here, along with Paul Klee, Jawlensky, and Feininger, he co-founded the Blue Four, until the Bauhaus was closed down by the Nazis in 1933. In 1926, his relationship with the Bauhaus came to an end, following a theoretical and philosophical treatise he wrote. The 1926 painting Several Circles, marked the peak of his Bauhaus years and of his geometric research. He left moved near Paris, he spent his final years in France, becoming a French citizen in 1939.
In 2012, Wassily Kandinsky's Study for Improvisation 8, a 1909 oil painting of a man wielding a broadsword in a rainbow-hued village, was auctioned for US$23.0 million.
Wassily Kandinsky was one of the most influential abstract art pioneers and is considered to be the founder of abstract art. His works continue to impact art up to this day, with his organization of space and sense of movement within the composition, thus his inclusion as one of the world's artist.
Art Movement History: Expressionism, Abstract Art.
Artists Influencing Wassily Kandinsky: Claude Monet, Paul Klee, Franz Marc.
He Traveled To France, Germany, Holland.
Painters Wassily Kandinsky Influenced: Joan Miro, Jean Arp, Alberto Magnelli, Sophie Tauber.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.