Born on 16 December 1534: Hans Bol,
Flemish draftsman, illuminator, painter who died on 20 November 1593.
on 16 December 1866 (04 December Julian): Vasily Vasilevich
Kandinsky, Russian Expressionist painter who died on 13 December
1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
Article about Kandinsky: Towards Abstraction
Russian-born Kandinstky was one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. After successful avant-garde exhibitions, he founded the influential Munich group Der Blaue Reiter (1911-14) and began completely abstract painting. His forms evolved from fluid and organic to geometric and, finally, to pictographic ( e.g., Tempered Élan, 1944 thumbnail >).
Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.' The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch.
Born in Moscow , Kandinsky spent his early childhood in Odessa. His parents played the piano and the zither and Kandinsky himself learned the piano and cello at an early age. The influence of music in his paintings cannot be overstated, down to the names of his paintings "Improvisations", "Impressions", and "Compositions." In 1886, he enrolled at the University of Moscow, chose to study law and economics, and after passing his examinations, lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law. He enjoyed success not only as a teacher but also wrote extensively on spirituality, a subject that remained of great interest and ultimately exerted substantial influence in his work.
In 1895 Kandinsky attended a French Impressionist exhibition where he saw Monet's Haystacks at Giverny. He stated, ...it was from the catalog I learned this was a haystack. I was upset I had not recognized it. I also thought the painter had no right to paint in such an imprecise fashion. Dimly I was aware too that the object did not appear in the picture... Soon thereafter, at the age of thirty, Kandinsky left Moscow and went to Munich to study life-drawing, sketching and anatomy, regarded then as basic for an artistic education.
Ironically, Kandinsky's work moved in a direction that was of much greater abstraction than that which was pioneered by the Impressionists. It was not long before his talent surpassed the constraints of art school and he began exploring his own ideas of painting ...I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...
Now considered to be the founder of abstract art, Kandinsky had his work exhibited throughout Europe from 1903 onwards, and often caused controversy among the public, the art critics, and his contemporaries. An active participant in several of the most influential and controversial art movements of the 20th century, among them the Blue Rider which he founded along with Franz Marc and the Bauhaus which also attracted Klee, Geiniger, and Schonberg, Kandinsky continued to further express and define his form of art, both on canvas and in his theoretical writings.
His reputation became firmly established in the United States through numerous exhbitions and his work was introduced to Solomon Guggenheim, who became one of his most enthusiastic supporters. In 1933, Kandinsky left Germany and settled in the classy Paris suburb of Neuilly. The paintings from these later years were again the subject of controversy. Though Kandinsky was out of favor with many of the patriarchs of Paris's artistic community, younger artists admired him. His studio was visited regularly by Miro, Arp, Magnelli and Sophie Tauber. Kandinsky continued painting until June 1944. His unrelenting quest for new forms which carried him to the very extremes of geometric abstraction have provided us with an unparalleled collection of abstract art.
Autumn in Bavaria (1908, 33x45cm) Composition VII (1913, 200x300cm) Cemetery & Vicarage in Kochel (1909) Gabriele Münter (1905) Picture with a Black Arch (1912, 186x193cm) Colorful Ensemble (1938) (Insect Watching TV?) fineart''' is gone Der Blaue Reiter Murnau with Church I (1910, 65x50cm)
Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) (1913; 145x120cm) _ Neither Marc nor Macke were abstract painters. It was Kandinsky who found that the interior necessity, which alone could inspire true art, was forcing him to leave behind the representational image. He was a Russian who had first trained as a lawyer. He was a brilliant and persuasive man. Then, when already in his thirties, he decided to go to Munich in 1897 to study art. By the time Der Blaue Reiter was established, he was already abstracting from the image, using it as a creative springboard for his pioneering art. Seeing a painting of his own, lying on its side on the easel one evening, he had been struck by its beauty, a beauty beyond what he saw when he set it upright. It was the liberated color, the formal independence, that so entranced him.
Kandinsky, a determined and sensitive man, was a good prophet to receive this vision. He preached it by word and by example, and even those who were suspicious of this new freedom were frequently convinced by his paintings. Improvisation 31 has a less generalized title, Sea Battle, and by taking this hint we can indeed see how he has used the image of two tall ships shooting cannonballs at each other, and abstracted these specifics down into the glorious commotion of the picture. Though it does not show a sea battle, it makes us experience one, with its confusion, courage, excitement, and furious motion.
Kandinsky says all this mainly with the color, which bounces and balloons over the center of the picture, roughly curtailed at the upper corners, and ominously smudged at the bottom right. There are also smears, whether of paint or of blood. The action is held tightly within two strong ascending diagonals, creating a central triangle that rises ever higher. This rising accent gives a heroic feel to the violence.
These free, wild raptures are not the only form abstraction can take, and in his later, sadder years, Kandinsky became much more severely constrained, all trace of his original inspiration lost in magnificent patternings. fineart''' is gone Accent in Pink (1926, 101x81cm) exists solely as an object in its own right: the pink and the accent are purely visual. The only meaning to be found lies in what the experience of the pictures provides, and that demands prolonged contemplation. What some find hard about abstract art is the very demanding, time-consuming labor that is implicitly required. Yet if we do not look long and with an open heart, we shall see nothing but superior wallpaper. [but if we look long enough and with an open mind we will see that it is not superior to wallpaper].
Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life.
Wassily Kandinsky [16 Dec 1866 13 December 1944] in 1911