10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was a renowned Russian painter and art theorist who is often credited as the pioneer of abstract art. His groundbreaking work played a crucial role in the development of visual arts in the 20th century. While many art enthusiasts are familiar with Kandinsky’s most famous pieces, such as “Composition VII” and “Yellow-Red-Blue,” there are several fascinating facts about the artist that often go unnoticed. In this article, we will unveil ten intriguing things you didn’t know about Wassily Kandinsky and gain a deeper understanding of this influential figure in the art world.

1. He Started His Career as a Law Professor

Prior to delving into the world of art, Kandinsky pursued a successful career as a law professor and economist. He taught at the University of Moscow, where he wrote several papers and books on economics, philosophy, and spirituality. It was during this time that he felt a strong inclination towards art, and by the age of 30, Kandinsky decided to completely dedicate himself to painting. This transition from academia to art marked the beginning of a remarkable journey that would shape the course of modern art.

2. Synesthesia Influenced His Art

Kandinsky experienced a fascinating phenomenon known as synesthesia, where he perceived sounds and music as colors. This unique sensory experience greatly impacted his artistic vision and techniques, leading him to develop a form of abstract art that aimed to stimulate multiple senses simultaneously. Kandinsky believed that colors and shapes had inherent spiritual qualities and had the power to evoke emotions within the viewer. His synesthetic perception provided a strong foundation for his exploration of the relationship between music and visual art.

3. He Co-founded Several Groundbreaking Art Movements

Kandinsky was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), an influential group of avant-garde artists in Munich, Germany. The movement sought to break away from traditional art conventions and explore new forms of expression. Furthermore, Kandinsky, along with other like-minded artists, co-founded the Blue Four, a group focused on promoting modern art in the United States. Through these movements, Kandinsky played a pivotal role in advancing the interests of abstract art and challenging the status quo of the art world.

4. Kandinsky Created the First Abstract Watercolor

In addition to his oil paintings, Kandinsky is also known for his groundbreaking watercolors. In 1910, he created the first abstract watercolor painting, titled “Untitled (First Abstract Watercolor),” which marked a significant turning point in the history of art. This piece showcased Kandinsky’s innovative approach to color and form, laying the foundation for future abstract artists to explore new possibilities and challenge the boundaries of traditional representational art.

5. He Wrote Extensively on Art Theory

Kandinsky was not just a prolific painter but also a notable art theorist. He believed that art should reflect the inner experiences of the artist and communicate emotions and spirituality. Throughout his career, Kandinsky wrote several influential books, including “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” and “Point and Line to Plane,” wherein he explored the theoretical aspects of abstract art and its impact on the viewer’s perception. His writings were instrumental in shaping the discourse around abstract art and establishing its significance in the world of art criticism.

6. Kandinsky Was Forced to Flee from the Nazis

As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, Kandinsky was targeted as a degenerate artist. His work was labeled as “un-German” and was confiscated from museums. In 1933, Kandinsky fled to France with his wife, where he continued to create art and teach at the Bauhaus School in Dessau. The turmoil and displacement caused by World War II had a profound impact on his later works, which often reflected themes of war and conflict.

7. He Experimented with Improvisational Theatre

Besides his contributions to visual art, Kandinsky also had a keen interest in the performing arts. He collaborated with the innovative theater director Alexander Tairov and experimented with improvisational theater. Kandinsky believed that theater provided an opportunity for the synthesis of various art forms, including painting, music, and dance, enabling the creation of a total work of art that transcended individual mediums.

8. Kandinsky’s Influence Extended to Design and Architecture

Not only did Kandinsky revolutionize the world of fine art, but his ideas also had a lasting impact on design and architecture. His theories on the relationship between color, form, and emotion greatly influenced the Bauhaus movement, which sought to integrate art, craftsmanship, and technology. Kandinsky’s belief in the spiritual and emotional power of art resonated with the Bauhaus principles, resulting in the creation of innovative designs and functional objects.

9. Kandinsky Was Passionate About Teaching

Throughout his life, Kandinsky demonstrated a strong passion for teaching and believed in the transformative power of art education. He served as a professor at various institutions, including the Bauhaus School, where he taught abstract painting and ensured that his students fully understood the theory behind his approach. Kandinsky’s dedication to teaching helped shape the next generation of artists, who went on to carry forward his legacy and contribute to the development of abstract art.

10. His Legacy Lives On

Wassily Kandinsky’s contributions to the world of art continue to resonate even today. His bold and innovative approach to painting laid the groundwork for abstract expressionism and inspired countless artists to explore new artistic territories. Kandinsky’s artworks can be found in numerous prestigious museums and collections worldwide, ensuring that his legacy remains alive and accessible to art enthusiasts for generations to come.

Explore more about Wassily Kandinsky:

Official Kandinsky Foundation Website
Kandinsky Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum
Bauhaus Museum Website