Saturday, February 03, 2007

Abstract Paintings

Overcast (1917)
By Wassily Kandinsky
Oil on canvas
State Tretyakov Gallery
My personal favorite =0)
"Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the strings.The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. "

Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow, on December 4th, 1866. His parents both played piano, so he was encouraged to learn how to read and play music at an early age. Young Kandinsky played cello and piano, and even though we know him best as a painter, music has always been the main inspiration behind his work. When he was only 5 years old, his parents divorced, so he moved in with his aunt in Odessa, continuing to play music, and learning to paint; but the gifted young man did not choose to study art or music when he later enrolled at Moscow University, choosing instead the "safer" fields of Economics, Politics, and Law. During his years at the university, Kandinsky explore spirituality through writing. He also taught at the Moscow Faculty of Law. For Kandinsky, the arts were no more than a hobby.

It wasn't until 1896 that Kandinsky decided to seriously study art. The sudden change in his life had been triggered by his interest in the work of Monet, an artist whose work has had a profound impact on many others. Kandinsky was fascinated by the impressionist artist's style, as he had never before seen paintings which weren't meant to perfectly imitate reality. Kandinsky studied in Munich, under Anton Azbé, sketching, anatomy and life drawing. He then studied under Franz von Stuck, then moved on to found and the avant-garde Phalanx exhibiting society, and write about art. His administrative skills served him well as director of the Phalanx exhibiting society, while his writings about spirituality had prepared him for his works about color theory.

Kandinsky was a synaesthete, meaning that he could see sound as color, and vice versa. His writings on color theory sometimes bordered on the mystical, as his own interpretations and visual impressions took on almost paranormal qualities. In 1906, Kandinsky settled in Paris with his mistress, and Gabriele Münter, who was also a talented art student. A year later, the two were separated, and Kandinsky suffered a nervous breakdown, and relocated to Bavaria, so he could lead a quiet life, and concentrate on his art. Kandinsky experimented with color and minimal composition, eschewing reality from his work. Like music, his paintings were renderings of emotional states, and while it is easy to feel sadness when looking at an image of a tragic scene, Kandinsky's work would communicate the same feelings without incorporating representational elements.

In 1896, he settled in Munich and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. He went back to Moscow in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. Being in conflict with official theories on art, he returned to Germany in 1921. There he was a teacher at the Bauhaus from 1922 until it was closed by the Nazis in 1933. At that time he moved to France where he lived the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.



Circles on Black(1921)
By Wassily Kandinsky
Oil on canvas

"But, as well as the body, the spirit fortifies itself and develops itself by the exercise. As a neglected body which becomes weak and finally impotent, the spirit becomes weaker. The innate feeling of the artist is like the talent of the Gospel which must not be buried. The artist which lets its gifts unemployed is the lazy servant. "

Improvisation No 30 (1913)
By Wassily Kandinsky
Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago

"Painting is an art, and the art in its whole is not a vain objects creation which get lost in the void, but a power which has a goal and must serve to the evolution and to the refinement of the human soul, to the moving of the Triangle. It is the language which speaks to the soul, in its proper form, of things which are the daily bread of the soul and which it can receive only under this form."

"Is beautiful what proceeds from an inner necessity of the soul. Is beautiful what is inwardly beautiful."


Blue Segment(1921)
By Wassily Kandinsky
Oil on canvas
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum

"The geometric line is an invisible thing. It is the track made by the moving point; that is, its product. It is created by movement – specifically through the destruction of the intense self-contained repose of the point. Here, the leap out of the static to the dynamic occurs. […] The forces coming from without which transform the point into a line, can be very diverse. The variation in lines depends upon the number of these forces and upon their combinations."

Two Girls(Zwei Madchen) (1918)
By Wassily Kandinsky
Painting on glass


"The world is full of resonances. It constitutes a cosmos of things exerting a spiritual action. The dead matter is a living spirit."

Want to know more? I highly recommend the following books for your reading pleasure.

Hajo Duechting. Wassily Kandinsky 1866-1944: A Revolution in Painting. Publ. Taschen. 2000. ISBN 3-8228-5982-6.


John E Bowlt, Rose-Carol Washton Long. The Life of Vasilii Kandinsky in Russian art : a study of "On the spiritual in art" by Wassily Kandinsky. Publ. Newtonville, Mass. USA. 1980. ISBN 0-89250-131-6 ISBN 0-89250-132-4

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Samantha, you are a doll! Thank you.

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N Posted by Rain at 2/03/2007 12:26:00 AM

3 Comments

  • Blogger JoeBlogs posted at 8:13 AM  
    A tad like Picasso.
  • Blogger Lyndon posted at 12:34 PM  
    Funny, if I never saw the movie 6 Degrees Of Seperation, I would have never known who Kandinsky was :-)

    Have a great weekend as well Rain!
  • Blogger baabaanne posted at 10:18 PM  
    odd, but I like them. thanks for sharing!
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