Artist Wassily Kandinsky – 5 interesting facts from his life

Abstract artist Vasily Vasilyevich Kandinsky (1866-1944) painted his paintings in different styles, but he went down in history as the author of the most famous abstract works with geometric images, such as “Yellow-red-blue” (1925), series ” Improvisation “,” Composition “and” Small Worlds “.

Munich landscape in 1908, V. Kandinsky, illustration Wikipedia

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Fact no. 1

Kandinsky, Vasily Vasilievich
Wassily Kandinsky
Photo taken from Wikipedia

At first, Kandinsky was preparing for a career as a lawyer and received a diploma from Moscow University. However, in 1895 he visited an exhibition of the Impressionists and realized that his real vocation was painting.

At the age of 30, the aspiring artist went to Germany to study at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He lived there for two decades, but with the outbreak of the First World War he came to Russia.

In 1921, Kandinsky returned to Germany and received citizenship in 1928. Soon, the Nazis who came to power christened Kandinsky “degenerate artist“, And he had to flee to France. He settled there forever, became a French citizen in 1939 and lived the rest of his life near Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Fact number 2

Experts believe the artist had synesthesia, or confusion of sensory cues. Colors and music were closely intertwined for him, and while drawing, he clearly heard the chords.

As Kandinsky himself said: “I applied paint to the canvas with a palette knife and made all the colors sing very loudly“. He also argued that painting is like making music: “The colors are the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with strings, and the artist himself is the hands playing the instrument“.

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Kandinsky, Vasily Vasilievich 2
Photo taken from Wikipedia

Fact no. 3

Between 1910 and 1939, Kandinsky painted 10 paintings of the Composition series. Today, only seven have survived, the first three died during the First World War, although black and white photographs of them remained.

The entire series is about transforming landscapes and figures into simplified, biomorphic, abstract silhouettes. The artist himself considered “Composition VII” his most complex work. He thoroughly prepared for work for half a year, calling it “long maturation“. During this time, Kandinsky created more than 30 preliminary sketches for the painting, but the very writing of “Composition VII” took about 4 days.

Considered by many abstract art aficionados to be the most important work of the 20th century, this painting combines the themes of the Resurrection, Judgment Day, the Flood and the Garden of Eden. However, this is undoubtedly a tricky job, especially for those new to abstract art.

For the uninitiated, the surface of Composition VII is simply completely covered in countless strange shapes, some bright and some blurry. Nevertheless, experts are sure that the picture can easily seem like a “daub” for those who do not want to work on solving its secrets.

Composition VII
Composition VII
Photo taken from the portal of the State Tretyakov Gallery

Fact no. 4

No less surprising is the earlier Composition IV (1911). The artist said that this canvas depicts figures lying in the lower right corner, and two towers standing on top of a hill in the upper right corner. He describes this scene as both war and peace.

There is either a real story, or a bike that one day, tired of working on this picture, Kandinsky went for a walk. While he was walking, his common-law wife Gabriele Munter cleaned the studio and turned Composition IV on its side. Returning from a walk, Kandinsky allegedly did not recognize his own work, knelt down and shed tears, claiming that “this is just an amazing picture“.

Composition IV
Composition IV
Photo taken from the portal

Fact number 5

The artist’s first wife was his cousin Anna Chemyakina, with whom they had been married for 19 years. Then, for a long time, Kandinsky’s companion was his student Gabriele Munter. After parting with Munter, whom he never married, the artist married young Nina Andreevskaya, 34 years younger than him. The last wife and guardian of his heritage outlived her brilliant husband by 36 years.

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