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Artist: Wassily Kandinsky
Title: Diagonale
Item No: 98089
Subject: Abstract
Style: Expressionism
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Wassily Kandinsky

Russian-born painter and writer Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was one of the most influential abstract art pioneers and his work continues to significantly impact art of the late 20th century in his organization of space and sense of movement within composition.

Born in Moscow, Kandinsky studied law, economics and politics at the Moscow University and was appointed to their faculty in 1893. After attending a French Impressionism exhibition in Moscow in 1895, Kandinsky abandoned his promising law career to study painting under Anton Azbe in Munich and forming close associations with Alexei Jawlensky, Paul Klee and Gabriele Munter.

Studying the Art Nouveau style in Munich, Kandinsky's paintings at the turn of the century combined the qualities of Art Nouveau with Russian folk art. By 1910 he began to develop the private pictorial language in his Compositions, Improvisations and Impressions which gradually removed any representational elements from his work. Developing theory as well as painting, Kandinsky published concerning the Spiritual in Art" the following year and also formed the artist's association "Der Blaue Reiter." The rich glowing colors of the Fauves also influenced his work at the time.

Spending the years between 1914 and 1921 in Russia, Kandinsky continued painting, teaching and organizing exhibitions for collective groups. By the 1920s his own work moved away from an expressionistic style and turned towards the simple and geometric, reflecting principles of the Bauhaus where he was a significant influence from 1922 until it closed in 1933. Upon the design institute's closure by the National Socialist Government, Kandinsky left for Paris, where he lived and worked until his death in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Paintings from this latter Paris period are characterized by a lyrical and serene exuberance, inherent energy and a perfectly balanced palette.