"Color is the keyboard,
the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings.
The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another,
to cause vibrations in the soul."
Kandinsky, Wassily (1866-1944), Russian painter,
whose exploration of the possibilities of abstraction make him
one of the most important innovators in modern art. Both as an
artist and as a theorist he played a pivotal role in the development
of abstract art.
Centre Pompidou-MNAM, Paris
Born in Moscow, December 4, 1866, Kandinsky studied
at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, from 1896 to 1900.
His early paintings were executed in a naturalistic style, but
in 1909, after a trip to Paris during which he was highly impressed
by the works of the fauves and postimpressionists, his paintings
became more highly colored and loosely organized. Around 1913
he began working on paintings that came to be considered the first
totally abstract works in modern art; they made no reference to
objects of the physical world and derived their inspiration and
titles from music.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
In 1911, along with Franz Marc and other German
expressionists, Kandinsky formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)
group (so called for Kandinsky's love of blue and Marc's love
of horses). He produced both abstract and figurative works during
this period, all of which were characterized by brilliant colors
and complex patterns.
|Black Lines, December 1913
Solomon R. Guggenheim Mus.
Kandinsky's influence on the course of 20th-century
art was further increased by his activities as a theorist and
teacher. In 1912 he published Concerning the Spiritual in Art,
the first theoretical treatise on abstraction, which spread his
ideas through Europe. He also taught at the Moscow Academy of
Fine Arts from 1918 to 1921 and at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany,
from 1922 to 1933.
|Composition VIII, 1923
Solomon R. Guggenheim Mus., New York
After World War I (1914-1918), Kandinsky's abstractions
became increasingly geometric in form, as he abandoned his earlier
fluid style in favor of sharply etched outlines and clear patterns.
Composition VIII No. 260 (1923, Guggenheim Museum, New York City),
for instance, is composed solely of lines, circles, arcs, and
other simple geometric forms. In very late works such as Circle
and Square (1943, private collection), he refines this style into
a more elegant, complex mode that resulted in beautifully balanced,
|Accord réciproque, 1942
Centre Pompidou-MNAM, Paris
He was one of the most influential artists of
his generation. As one of the first explorers of the principles
of nonrepresentational or pure abstraction, Kandinsky
can be considered an artist who paved the way for abstract expressionism,
the dominant school of painting since World War II (1939-1945).
Kandinsky died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, on December
"Kandinsky, Wassily," Microsoft®
Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2004
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