“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.”
Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky’s 148th birthday is today celebrated in a Google Doodle illustration that reflects his own distinct abstract style. The artist, who is credited with being the first painter to produce purely abstract works, used colour as an expression of emotion, often likening the process of painting to composing music.
Born in Moscow in 1866, his career spanned five decades during which he was influenced by – among other artistic movements – Impressionism, Fauvism, Pointillism, Bauhaus architecture and abstract expressionism. Kandinsky only began his artistic career at the age of 30, having previously studied law and economics at university to satisfy his family’s wishes.He was a professor of law at the University of Dorpat, but gave up his promising career in 1896 to enrol in art school in Munich.
Landscape with Two Poplars
He returned to Moscow after the outbreak of World War I, but was not sympathetic to the official theories on art in communist Russia and went back to Germany in 1921, where he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933.
Fifty seven of his paintings were confiscated by the Nazis during a raid on the Bauhaus art school and were later put on show in the State-sponsored exhibit “Degenerate Art” in 1937 before being destroyed. He then moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, producing some of his most acclaimed work.
Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4
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. Painting was, above all, deeply spiritual for the artist. 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.
Munich-Schwabing with the Church of St. Ursula
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