|Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1944
Country : Russian Federation
Wassily Kandinsky, the first artist to abandon the representation of
objects in painting and thus the first abstract painter, was born in Moscow.
A lawyer and political economist, he became interested in art during an
ethnographical trip to northern Russia and gave up his law career to study
in Munich in 1896. By 1904, he was a contributor to the Paris Autumn Salon
and had opened his own art school. With Jawlensky, he founded the New Artists'
Federation in 1909, and in 1910 he painted his first abstract work and
wrote "Concerning the Spiritual in Art", one of the most important and
influential works on art of this century. With Klee,
Macke, and Marc,
he helped found the Blaue Reiter, where he exhibited and collaborated with
his friends on the: publication of their almanac.
During this period, Kandinsky's abstracts were characterized by brilliant
color, swirling movement, and the forcefulness of the Expressionism from
which they sprang. Following a stay in Switzerland and Sweden during World
War I, Kandinsky returned to Russia after the 1917 Revolution, held several
posts under the People's Commissariat for Popular Culture, and reorganized
or set up 227 museums. Influenced by the Russian Constructivists Lissitsky
and Malewitsch, his style became more precise and more geometric using
quieter color. Kandinsky returned to Germany in 1921 and became a professor
at the Bauhaus in Weimar, joining Klee, Feininger
and Schlemmer. He followed the Bauhaus
to Dessau and finally to Berlin. When the Nazis closed the school, Kandinsky's
paintings were considered so "degenerate" that they were confiscated. The
artist fled to Paris, where he remained until his death in 1944.
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