The Russian Painter and graphic artist was one of the great masters of modern art and one of the pioneers of abstract modern art. Kandinsky exploited the relation between form and color in order to create an experience that engages the public by stimulating their different senses and perspectives, which broke new ground in painting during the first decades of the twentieth century.
Seventy-five years after his death, Kandinsky is still relevant and his influence can be perceived in areas such as design, visual arts, and architecture. So relevant that several works of the artist are at display in several museums across America. The Guggenheim museum owns the largest collection of Kandinsky’s works in the world – that sums close to 100 paintings and 60 sketches. It spans Kandinsky’s lifetime, from his art school days in Munich to his Blue Rider period, his return to Moscow before the Russian Revolution and World War I, and up to the last pieces of art he produced in France before his death. Displayed in chronological order, the viewer can trace the evolution of Kandinsky’s style and simultaneously witness his work in changing the conventions of visual art.
Most of you know the work of Wassily Kandinsky, but we have selected five curious facts about his life you probably didn’t know.
#1 – Kandinsky was a lawyer
Despite his inclination towards arts, Wassily joined the University of Moscow in 1886 to study law and economics. He completed his studies in 1892 to become a lawyer and got a degree equivalent to a doctorate. The following year, Kandinsky became a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Moscow. At 30, he gave up his profession as a lawyer and educator to pursue his studies in arts to become a painter.
#2 – He had Three different citizenships
During his life, Kandinsky lived in Russia, Germany, and France. He also changed his citizenship two times. From being Russian, he became a German citizen and then, after being persecuted by the Nazis, he applied for French citizenship.
#3 – He wrote some of the most influential books on 20th-century art
Besides being a painter, Kandinsky was an art theorist and his influence on the history of painting is considerable because of his theoretical works than to the artworks he created. The ideas he presented in his book Concerning the Spiritual In Art (1910) had an international impact, defending and promoting abstract art. Another influential book written by Kandinsky is Point and Line To Plane (1926), in which he analyses geometrical elements from the point of view of their inner effect on the observer.
#4 – His work was considered ‘Degenerate’ by the Nazis
In 1921, Kandinsky taught at the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany. In 1933, the Nazis forced the Bauhaus to a close and the same year Kandinsky immigrated to Paris, where he remained for his last 11 years. They confiscated and destroyed the first three paintings of the Compositions series in the Nazi raid. Including the works put on display in the infamous “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich in 1937.
#5 Kandinsky was a founder and leading member of The Blue Rider group.
Kandinsky, together with other like-minded artists found a group called Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Involving some leading expressionist artists, the group organized exhibitions and also published an almanac. Der Blaue Reiter lasted from 1911 to 1914, ended prematurely as it got disrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Critics consider The Blue Rider the forerunner and pathfinder for modern art in twentieth-century.
One of the most iconic works by Kandinsky Germany.