Wassily Kandinsky


Born: 16 December 1866
Died: 13 December 1944
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Best known as: Russian-born founder of Abstract art
Wasilly Kandinsky (or Vassilii Kandinskii) was a Russian painter whose works from 1910 are considered the first abstract paintings. Kandinsky had a law career in Moscow until he opted for art school in Munich in 1896 -- when he was almost 30. Within a decade he'd made a name for himself in Russia and in Europe, an Expressionist whose dazzling watercolors were influenced by Russian folk art and French Impressionists such as Claude Monet. Between 1910 and 1912 he wrote about non-objective "abstract" paintings and published On the Spiritual in Art, a work that solidified his position as the father of abstract art. Known for his ingenuity with geometric shapes and use of brilliant color, Kandinsky was successful in Europe and the United States. He spent his career in Russia (1914-21), Germany (1922-33, at the Bauhaus, alongside Paul Klee) and France (until his death).

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