What are the similarities between music and painting

Wassily Kandinsky - His Life

Photography, Wassily Kandinsky

The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is known and famous as one of the pioneers of abstract painting and abstract expressionism. Through his pictures and theoretical works he exerted a great influence on the development of modern art.

Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866. In his early years he learned to play the piano and cello. Music will play a major role in his art throughout his life. He studies economic policy in Moscow, where he works as a lecturer at the university.

After attending a French Impressionist art exhibition in 1895, Wassily Kandinsky decided to become a painter. He moves to Munich and learns the basic painting techniques. He studies the Impressionist style as well as the Art Nouveau. In particular, he deals with the works of Franz von Stuck.

A poster designed by Wassily Kandinsky for the Munich artist group Phalanx from 1901. Phalanx tried to use artistic means to counter conservative incrustations in society and art. The name of the group was program as a quote from Phalanx, the battle formation in ancient Greece.

"Expressionless and boring ..."

He mainly paints his first pictures in the impressionistic style, but soon his painting style changes to the "abstract". His interest in "fantastic motifs" is clearly expressed in his pictures during this time. He is increasingly dissatisfied with the painting styles that Kandinsky got to know in Munich. They seem expressionless and boring to him.

Kandinsky traveled extensively between 1900 and 1910. Among other things, he visits Paris, where he makes contact with Paul Gauguin. Through him he became acquainted with Neo-Expressionism, Fauvism. He travels to Germany and founds the artist group "Phalanx". He met the expressionist artist Gabriele Münter and lived with her a short time later in partnership. This relationship lasted until around 1916.

In 1909 he traveled to Munich and founded the "Neue Künstlervereinigung München". In 1910 he painted his first abstract picture with watercolors. A year later he paints the picture "Composition V". In the same year this picture was rejected by the jury of the "Neue Künstlervereinigung" for an exhibition. According to the jury's judgment, it is too abstract. As a result, Kandinsky left the artist group he founded together with Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter and Alfred Kubin (an Austrian graphic artist, illustrator and writer).

Together with Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky founded the artists' association Der Blaue Reiter in 1911 and organized international avant-garde exhibitions in Munich. They develop into the most important exhibitions of the German Expressionists.

Photography: Moscow, Burdenko 8. Kandinsky lived here from 1915 to 1921

The Bauhaus period

In 1911 Wassily Kandinsky published his theoretical study "On the Spiritual in Art" in Germany. In this diverse work, which is fundamental to abstract painting, he describes the psychological effects of color and the similarities between painting and music. In the most important chapter "Form and Color Language" he develops his theory that form, in contrast to color, can exist independently. This means that the shape has a major impact on the color.

During the First World War he lived in Russia, where he teaches and organizes other art exhibitions. In 1921 he returned to Germany and began teaching at the Bauhaus School in Weimar. His time there ended in 1933 when the school was closed by the National Socialists. In 1926 he published his book "Point and Line for Surface". In it he advocates an abstract, "absolute" art of painting. This work becomes another important basis for the creative process within abstract art.

After the Bauhaus period, Wassily Kandinsky moved to France. There he lived and painted in a Paris suburb until his death in 1944. Kandinsky becomes a member of the Parisian artist group Abstraction-Création. Kandinsky's pictures, like those of many other artists of the time, were devalued by the National Socialists as "degenerate art". Many of his pictures were banned from German museums in 1937.

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published by the team of authors, on January 27th, 2007, updated on April 18th, 2021