About us
Artists Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky Photo

Wassily Kandinsky

Russian Painter

Movements and Styles: Expressionism, Bauhaus, Der Blaue Reiter

Born: December 4, 1866 - Moscow, Russia

Died: December 13, 1944 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Wassily Kandinsky Timeline

Quotes

"Color is a means of exerting direct influence on the soul."
Wassily Kandinsky
"Objects damage pictures."
Wassily Kandinsky
"The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul."
Wassily Kandinsky
"Color is the key. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many chords. The artist is the hand that, by touching this or that key, sets the soul vibrating automatically."
Wassily Kandinsky
"There is no must in art because art is free."
Wassily Kandinsky
"The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being."
Wassily Kandinsky

"Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential."

Wassily Kandinsky Signature

Synopsis

One of the pioneers of abstract modern art, Wassily Kandinsky exploited the evocative interrelation between color and form to create an aesthetic experience that engaged the sight, sound, and emotions of the public. He believed that total abstraction offered the possibility for profound, transcendental expression and that copying from nature only interfered with this process. Highly inspired to create art that communicated a universal sense of spirituality, he innovated a pictorial language that only loosely related to the outside world, but expressed volumes about the artist's inner experience. His visual vocabulary developed through three phases, shifting from his early, representational canvases and their divine symbolism to his rapturous and operatic compositions, to his late, geometric and biomorphic flat planes of color. Kandinsky's art and ideas inspired many generations of artists, from his students at the Bauhaus to the Abstract Expressionists after World War II.

Key Ideas

Painting was, above all, deeply spiritual for Kandinsky. He sought to convey profound spirituality and the depth of human emotion through a universal visual language of abstract forms and colors that transcended cultural and physical boundaries.
Kandinsky viewed non-objective, abstract art as the ideal visual mode to express the "inner necessity" of the artist and to convey universal human emotions and ideas. He viewed himself as a prophet whose mission was to share this ideal with the world for the betterment of society.
Kandinsky viewed music as the most transcendent form of non-objective art - musicians could evoke images in listeners' minds merely with sounds. He strove to produce similarly object-free, spiritually rich paintings that alluded to sounds and emotions through a unity of sensation.

Biography

Wassily Kandinsky Photo

Childhood

Wassily (Vasily) Wassilyevich Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Moscow to well educated, upper-class parents of mixed ethnic origins. His father was born close to Mongolia, while his mother was a Muscovite, and his grandmother was from the German-speaking Baltic. The bulk of Kandinsky's childhood was spent in Odessa, a thriving, cosmopolitan city populated by Western Europeans, Mediterraneans, and a variety of other ethnic groups. At an early age, Kandinsky exhibited an extraordinary sensitivity toward the stimuli of sounds, words, and colors. His father encouraged his unique and precocious gift for the arts and enrolled him in private drawing classes, as well as piano and cello lessons. Despite early exposure to the arts, Kandinsky did not turn to painting until he reached the age of 30. Instead, he entered the University of Moscow in 1886 to study law, ethnography, and economics. In spite of the legal focus of his academic pursuits, Kandinsky's interest in color symbolism and its effect on the human psyche grew throughout his time in Moscow. In particular, an ethnographic research trip in 1889 to the region of Vologda, in northwest Russia, sparked an interest in folk art that Kandinsky carried with him throughout his career. After completing his degree in 1892, he started his career in law education by lecturing at the university.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Wassily Kandinsky Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Wassily Kandinsky
Interactive chart with Wassily Kandinsky's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Claude MonetClaude Monet

Personal Contacts

Paul KleePaul Klee
Franz MarcFranz Marc
Walter GropiusWalter Gropius
Arnold SchoenbergArnold Schoenberg

Movements

Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
FauvismFauvism
CubismCubism
ExpressionismExpressionism

Influences on Artist
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Years Worked: 1900 - 1944
Influenced by Artist

Artists

William BaziotesWilliam Baziotes
Arshile GorkyArshile Gorky
Hans HartungHans Hartung
Hans HofmannHans Hofmann

Personal Contacts

Solomon R. GuggenheimSolomon R. Guggenheim
Alexej von JawlenskyAlexej von Jawlensky

Movements

Action PaintingAction Painting
Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
SurrealismSurrealism

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Eve Griffin

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Eve Griffin
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]