(Russian, December 16, 1866–December 13, 1944) was an early 20th-century Russian painter whose work is most closely associated with pure Abstraction. Kandinsky was born in Moscow, Russia, to Lida Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky. During Kandinsky's childhood, music was a strong influence. Both of his parents played instruments, which led to Kandinsky himself playing both the piano and the cello from a young age. Several of his paintings have musical titles, including the series Improvisations
, which highlight the influence this upbringing had on his art. While Kandinsky had a long, illustrious artistic career, his early studies did not focus on artistic creation. Kandinsky studied law and economics at the University of Moscow.
It wasn't until 1896, when the artist was 30, that he began his artistic endeavors. Kandinsky gave up a lucrative career of teaching to enroll in art school in Munich, Germany. It is said that while he was still in Russia, Kandinsky was able to see an exhibition featuring the paintings of Claude Monet
(French, 1840–1926), which was a large part of his artistic inspiration. It was the series Haystacks at Giverny
that inspired him to think of art in a nontraditional way. It is said that Kandinsky was bothered by Monet's impressionistic style. Kandinsky's own work would go beyond simple Impressionism into the realm of Abstraction.
Kandinsky was not only a painter, but was also an influential art theorist. His theoretical philosophies were first published in 1910 in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art
. In 1911, Kandinsky famously established Der Blaue Reiter, or the Blue Rider, an art group whose members included Gabriele Münter
(1877–1962), Franz Marc
(1880–1916), August Macke
(1887–1914), and Paul Klee
(1879–1940). After the start of World War I in 1914, he left Germany and returned to his hometown of Moscow. Kandinsky was also well-known for his later ties to the historical German Bauhaus School. While at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky taught a range of courses, ranging from basic design to advanced theory. In 1926, he published the book Point and Line to Plane
. After the closing of the Bauhaus by the oppressive Nazi regime, Kandinsky moved to France where he would live until his death. Kandinsky gained French citizenship in 1939. Five years later, he died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, leaving behind an Abstract Art legacy.