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Kandinsky: A Spiritual Experience…

Wassily Kandinsky - Flood Improvisation - 1913, oil on canvas, Lenbachhaus, Munich (click photo for larger image)Russian born painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) “sought to convey profound spirituality and the depth of human emotion through a universal visual language of abstract forms and colors that transcended cultural and physical boundaries.”

One of the pioneers of abstraction—Kandinsky wanted to translate music—which he believed to be the purest form of art—into a visual language. He is most closely associated with German Expressionism. The second phase of that movement—Der Blau Reiter (the Blue Rider) was, in fact, named after a painting of the same name by Kandinsky. Other artists associated with the group included Auguste Macke, Gabriele Münter, and Alexei Jawlensky.

Kandinsky most certainly had very high self-esteem. Indeed, he truly saw himself as a “prophet” whose mission was to share the ideal of abstraction with the world, for the betterment of society. He dubbed himself the first abstract artist. However, we now know that his earliest abstract work—after being tested through various methods—was actually created several years later than Kandinsky claimed it had been. In fact, there were a number of other artists creating abstract works at the same time the Kandinsky was working. Nevertheless, he was a brilliant artist and his work did lay the foundation for many of the modern and postmodern movements that would follow—among them Abstract Expressionism.

"Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.” - Wassily Kandinsky

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