Wassily Kandinsky


Artist Biography:

Born in Moscow in 4 December 1866, Wassily Kandinsky was one of the most important pioneers of abstract art. He was educated at the University of Moscow, where he studied economics and law. In 1896 he declined the offer of Professorship of Law at the University of Dorpat and instead embarked on a completely different career path by moving to Munich to study art. It took Kandinsky 10 years to find his bearings. His first works are representational, utilising impressions from his travels. It was after 1908 that he broke free of traditional constraints and, increasingly eliminating the representational elements from his work he produced, in 1910, Europe’s first abstract painting, which was a completely non-representational watercolour. The first peak in Kandinsky’s career is marked by the 7 large Compositions and about 40 Improvisations painted between 1910 and 1914. It was during this time that he founded the ‘Blaue Reiter’ group with Franz Marc, which was joined by, amongst others, Paul Klee, August Macke and Alfred Kubin. The group held many exhibitions during this period of feverish activity but dispersed in 1914 at the outbreak of war. The second peak was attained with the series of circle pictures which Kandinsky executed while teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau between 1923-26. This was the so called ‘cool’ period, which many of Kandinsky’s earlier admirers found hard to assimilate. The advent of Nazism in 1933 drove Kandinsky out of Germany to Paris, where he spent his remaining years and where he eventually became a French citizen. It was here that he attained his third and last peak, where his Russian and Mongolian side found expression. Wassily Kandinsky died on 13th December 1944.

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