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BIOGRAPHY

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Wassily Kandinsky was born in Russia in 1866. At school he learned to play the piano and cello and later claimed that colours were like the notes on a keyboard and that he could hear music when he saw colours. It may surprise some that he didn’t formally study art until he was 30.

His parents had ambitions for him to be a lawyer and he studied law at Moscow University. Graduating with honours, he became a professor at the same law department.
Above, Project for yellow, red, blue,
Wassily Kandinsky


Around the age of 30 he decided to give up this successful career and take up painting full time. In 1896 he went to Munich to study art at the private painting school of Yugoslavian artist Anton Azbe. In 1900 he changed teachers and studied under Franz Stuck at the Munich Academy of Arts.

 

He claims his decision to become an artist had been inspired and influenced by a visit to a French Impressionist exhibition in Moscow in 1895.

Transverse Line -Wassily Kandinsky 1927
Kandinsky had married his cousin Anna Chimyakina in 1892, but in Munich he met a fellow artist, Gabriela Munter, leading him to divorce Anna in 1903.

This relationship lasted 11 years when he and Gabriela parted. He later married Nina Andreevskaya, the daughter of a Russian General, in 1917.


During these turbulent years for his personal life he travelled Europe painting and experimenting with different styles from impressionism to romantic fantasies and abstracts. These Munich years were his formative years as a painter and he founded or co founded several art movements. In 1901 he started Phalanx an art group in Munich and in 1909, co founded the New Group of Artists, of which he became President. Along with his friend Frantsem Mark he founded an influential  group called Blue Rider in 1911.

Below, The Blue Rider - Wassily Kandinsky


Always a theorist, Kandinsky’s writing in The Blue Rider Almanac and his treatise On the Spiritual in Art, defend and promote the abstract in art. He claimed that using colour was a valid art form in itself and that it did not need to be used to define recognisable forms and objects.

 


Kandinsky’s early work featured landscapes and later on he moved more and more into abstraction, with figures not clearly defined but represented with a single colour.

 

He fled to Switzerland at the outbreak of the first world war where he and Gabriella parted, he quickly returned to Russia in late 1914.


Returning to Germany in 1922 Kandinsky started teaching at The Bauhaus in Weimar. He taught a basic design class as well as workshops exploring colour theory and the psychological aspects of colour and form. The Bauhaus saw a very productive period for Kandinsky, geometric shapes and strong colours were strong features of his teaching and his art. He was a contemporary of Paul Klee.


After the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933 he moved to and settled in Paris. He became a French citizen. He carried on painting and produced some of his best work in Paris in his apartment studio. He carried on experimenting and added sand to his paint to give a different texture. However he was isolated in Paris where abstract painting was out of favour. Cubism and impressionism were the artworld’s dominant
“-isms” of the time.

He died in 1944.

 

Each generation rediscovers this great artist and innovator and Wassily Kandinsky paintings are amongst the best selling prints, posters and canvases gracing living rooms, bedrooms and offices the world over. We hope you’ve enjoyed our facts about Wassily Kandinsky and we’ve inspired you to own some Wassily Kandinsky art for yourself.


Top picture, Squares with Concentric Circles, Wassily Kandinsky

WASSILY
KANDINSKY
WASSILY
KANDINSKY

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Russian Born in 1866 died in France in 1944

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Taught at the Bauhaus school of Art and Design in Germany

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Studied music and he compared musical notes to colours in his own art and the art of others

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Was concerned with spirituality and psychology in art

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Early work featured  landscapes but best known for his later abstract paintings featuring geometric shapes with bright colours

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Qualified lawyer who was a successful law professor until he gave it up to study art at the age of 30

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Married twice with one long relationship in between

 

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He claims his 1913 painting Composition VII, was his most complex work

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Some of his first three Composition series of paintings were first confiscated from the Bauhaus by the Nazis, then later destroyed. The only remaining record are some b/w photographs taken by Gabriele Munter.

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Abstract Expressionism and Abstract art

 

WASSILYKANDINSKY

10 fast and fab facts about
Wassily Kandinsky

Facts about Wassily Kandinsky
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