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Wassily Kandinsky | the artist



The artist Wassily Kandinsky
Born Dec 4 1866, Moscow, Russia.
Died Dec 13 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
Style and technique of the artist: Painting, Blaue Reiter, Expressionism, Novembergruppe, Documenta Kassel, Bauhaus, Geometric abstraction,

Biography

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter, lawyer, economist, and art theorist. He was born on December 16, 1866 in Moscow. He finished law and economics at the University of Moscow and was offered a professorship. At 30 years old, he decided to study painting, sketching, life drawing, and anatomy at the University of Dorpat.

He went to a few more art schools in Germany after that, more particularly at the Anton Azbe and the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow after the World War I but was unsympathetic to the theories on art in Communist Moscow1. He decided to go back to Germany to teach art and architecture. Then he went to France to live there permanently.

Reiter by Wassily Kandinsky

Style

Kandinsky was revered as the father of the first modern abstract paintings. His works almost never feature any human figures and he mostly paints of towns and landscapes using deep swathes of color for depth and character.

He uses a highly subjective way of analyzing forms and colors. He predominantly creates rich abstract paintings that appeal to the senses. When he paints, he compares his paintings to the works of other artists, then notes their effects on his own sense of color.

The Blue Rider by Wassily Kandinsky

Major Artworks

Perhaps one of the most famous works of Wassily Kandinsky is the one that he called as ‘The Blue Rider’. Created in 1903, it was among his most influential pieces. The painting shows a cloaked figure on a horse, speeding through a luscious meadow. The cloak is blue and so is the rider’s shadow. The use of these colors effectively depicted the dark depth of Kandinsky’s character and the whole piece in general.

His other early works include the 1908 ‘Munich-Schwabing with the Church of Saint Urusla’; ‘Street in Murnau, A Village Street’ (1908); ‘Reiter’ (1911); ‘Landscape with Two Poplars’, which is finished in 1912 and is now displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago; ‘On White II’ (1923); and ‘Composition VII’ (1913), which according to him, is the most complex piece he ever created.

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky

Interviews and Statements

One of Kandinsky’s influences was the great French impressionist painter Claude Monet. When he saw his ‘Haystacks’ painting, he wrote:

“… It was a haystack, the catalogue informed me. I could not recognize it. This non-recognition was painful to me. I considered that the painter had no right to paint indistinctly. I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture didn't only grip me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. The painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendor.”2

And when talking about how he works, he was quoted, “I applied streaks and blobs of color onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...”3

Biography and art, auction, artworks, interview, statement, website:

Wassily Kandinsky artworks on eBay
Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.



Kandinsky is the abstract painter par excellence, even in popular consciousness. His geometric abstractions became as iconic as the melting watch of Surrealism, or the Campbell’s can of Pop. When Steve Ditko, creator of Marvel’s Spiderman, created the “master of the mystic arts” Dr. Strange, he represented the astral realm with abstract forms adapted from Kandinsky. They are naively, amusingly crude,  but not without that intuitive brilliance that has made Ditko’s creations justly, and internationally,  famous. As Ditko unconsciously realized, Kandinksy did indeed intend his designs to depict what Marvel comics called “the dazzling, description-defying dimension of eternity”...

15 Kandinsky Works in the MOMA collection

Virtual tour of the Kandinsky room in the Hermitage

National Gallery of Art