Wassily Kandinsky

1866, Moscow (Russia) – 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine (France)

Wassily Kandinsky is, without doubt, one of the greatest names in the history of modern art. His studies into aesthetics led to him being one of the first exponents of abstraction.

– 1895: Wassily Kandinsky enters the Munich Academy of Fine Arts where he embarks on a career as a painter and art theorist. He soon forms the Phalanx group with other Munich artists. He then travels across Africa and Europe and discovers Cézanne and also Matisse whom he admires « for his colour », and Picasso « for his form ».

– 1908: he moves to Germany and starts his true artistic career, continuing to explore his favourite themes – landscapes and popular culture – to which he applies an increasingly abstract approach. The spectacular colours of Fauvism can now be seen in his work.

– 1909: what Kandinsky called the « choir of colours » becomes increasingly striking; it carries an emotional power and intense cosmic significance.

– 1910: he paints his first abstract watercolour.

– 1911: with Franz Marc, Kandinsky founds the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) movement, which develops the predominant use of colour in expressionist forms. This same year, he publishes On the spiritual in art, a landmark treatise on Abstraction.

– 1912: he creates a mysterious work, Avec l’arc noir, the same year that the Blaue Reiter almanac is published. This is one of the first abstract works – the aim is to induce a « vibration » in the soul of the viewer. Wassily Kandinsky sees symbols in geometric forms. His influence spreads through his work as a teacher at Vkhutemas in Moscow, to which he returns after the revolution.

– 1921: criticised for his action, he moves to Germany to teach at the Bauhaus until it is closed down by the Nazis in 1933. By this time his painting is geometric and colourful.

He subsequently emigrated to France where he died leaving a large body of work, which is now represented in leading art collections around the world.