A procession with three riders and several others crosses at the bottom. The face, clothing, and saddles of the riders are each of a single color, and neither they nor the walking figures display any real detail. The broad use of color in The Blue Mountain, illustrate Kandinsky's move towards art in which color is presented independently of form. Moving again in , this time to Munich with Munter, Kandinsky began a period of intense creativity. He mastered the Bavarian peasant technique of painting on glass, and wrote poetry and plays.
This was also when he befriended and became close to artist Paul Klee and composer Arnold Schoenberg. The group was unable to integrate the more radical approach of those like Kandinsky with more conventional ideas of art and it dissolved in late The paintings of this period are composed of large and very expressive color masses evaluated independently from forms and lines which no longer serve to define the masses, but are superimposed and overlap in a very free way to form paintings of extraordinary force.
The influence of music played an important role in the birth of abstract art. Music is not representational, but more immediately expresses emotion. Kandinsky sometimes used musical terms to designate his works: he called many of his most spontaneous paintings "improvisations," while referring to more elaborate works as "compositions. In addition to painting, Kandinsky developed his voice as an art theorist.
Kandinsky probably had more influence on Western art because of his theoretical works. The group released an almanac, also called The Blue Rider and held two exhibits. More were planned, but the outbreak of World War I in ended these plans and sent Kandinsky home to Russia via Switzerland and Sweden. The Blue Rider Almanac and Kandinsky's treatise On the Spiritual In Art, released at almost the same time, served as a defense and promotion of abstract art, as well as an argument that all forms of art were equally capable of reaching a level of spirituality.
He believed that color could be used as something autonomous and apart from a visual representation of an object or other form. During the years to , Kandinsky painted very little. This was a period of great social and political upheaval in Russia and Europe. Kandinsky played a role in the cultural and political developments in Russia, contributing to the domains of art pedagogy and museum reforms.
He devoted his time to teaching art with a program that was based on form and color analysis. Kandinsky also immersed himself in the founding and administration of the government-run art education programs, the Artistic Culture Institute and the Museum of Pictorial Culture in Moscow. In he met Nina Andreievskaia, whom he married the following year.
Five years later, Kandinsky was invited to go to Germany to attend the Bauhaus of Weimar, by its founder, the architect Walter Gropius. Since Kandinsky's theories about art conflicted with the official Russian Marxist-Leninist theories, he decided to accept Gropius' invitation and return to Germany in The following year, the Soviets officially banned all forms of abstract art, judging it harmful to the socialist ideal. The Bauhaus was an innovative architecture and art school. Kandinsky taught there from until it was closed by the Nazis. Objectives of the school included the merging of plastic arts with applied arts.
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Teaching methods reflected the theoretical and practical application of this synthesis. Kandinsky taught the basic design class for beginners, the course on advanced theory as well as painting classes and a workshop where he completed his colors theory with new elements of form psychology. Geometrical elements took on increasing importance in his teaching as well as his painting, particularly the circle, half-circle, angle, straight lines and curves.
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This period was a period of intense production for Kandinsky. His new sense of freedom was characterized in his works by the treatment of planes, rich in colors and magnificent gradations. The development of his works on form, particularly on point and different forms of lines, led to the publication of his second major theoretical book Point and Line to Plane in In the painting Yellow — red — blue , Kandinsky demonstrated his distance from constructivism and suprematism, artistic movements whose influence was increasing at the time. The large, two-meter-wide painting consists of a number of main forms: a vertical yellow rectangle, a slightly inclined red cross and a large dark blue circle, while a multitude of straight black or sinuous lines, arcs of circles, monochromatic circles and a scattering of colored checkerboards contribute to its delicate complexity.
Appreciation of the painting requires deep observation, not only of its forms and colors, but also their relationship to one another, as well as their whole and reciprocal harmony. Due to the hostility of the political climate, the Bauhaus left Weimar and settled in Dessau in Kandinsky's work In , the year of a great crisis at the Bauhaus, he created his picture Innerer Bund Inner Bound was created at this time.
Following a fierce slander campaign by the Nazis when the Bauhaus was headed by Hanns Meyer, a self-proclaimed Marxist, the Bauhaus was forced to close in The school pursued its activities in Berlin until its dissolution in July Kandinsky then left Germany and settled in Paris. Kandinsky lived the rest of his life in Paris , becoming a French citizen in Abstract painting, particularly geometric abstract painting, was not recognized in Paris so he was quite isolated.
The artistic fashions were mainly impressionism and cubism. He lived in a small apartment and created his work in a studio constructed in his living room. He used biomorphic forms with non-geometric outlines in his paintings. The forms were suggestive of microscopic organisms but expressed the artist's inner life. He used original color compositions that evoked Slavic popular art and looked like precious watermark works.
He also used sand mixed with color to give a granular texture to his paintings. Kandinsky's works of this period were a vast synthesis of his previous work. In and he painted his two last major compositions. Composition IX is a painting with highly contrasted powerful diagonals whose central form gives the impression of a human embryo in the womb. The small squares of colors and the colored bands stand out against the black background of Composition X, like fragments of stars or filaments, while enigmatic hieroglyphs with pastel tones cover the large maroon mass, which seems to float in the upper left corner of the canvas.
Some touches are more discrete and veiled, revealing themselves only progressively. His influence on other artists of the middle and late twentieth century, like the Belgian etcher Rene Carcan, was significant. Kandinsky wrote that "music is the ultimate teacher" before embarking on the first seven of his ten Compositions. The first three survive only in black-and-white photographs taken by fellow artist and mate, Gabrielle Munter. While studies, sketches, and improvisations exist particularly of Composition II , a Nazi raid on the Bauhaus in the s resulted in the confiscation of Kandinsky's first three Compositions.
Influenced by Theosophy and the perception of a coming New Age, a common theme for Kandinsky in the first seven Compositions was the Apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it.
Kandinsky was raised an Orthodox Christian. He drew upon the Biblical mythology of Noah's Ark, Jonah and the Whale, Christ's Anastasis and Resurrection , the three Marys' discovery of the Empty Tomb, the Riders of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation, various Russian folk tales, and the common mythological experiences of death and rebirth.
He used these themes showing a coming cataclysm which would alter individual and social reality to create paintings in the years immediately preceding World War I. Kandinsky felt that an authentic artist creating art from "an internal necessity" inhabits the tip of an upward moving triangle. This progressing triangle is penetrating and proceeding into tomorrow.
Accordingly, what was odd or inconceivable yesterday becomes commonplace today.
What is avant garde and only understood by the few today is standard tomorrow. Kandinsky became aware of Einsteinian physics, Freudian psychology , airplane flight, x-rays, as well as the advances of modern artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. All contributed to radically new ways of seeing and experiencing the world. Composition IV and subsequent paintings are primarily concerned with evoking a spiritual resonance in viewer and artist.
In his painting of the apocalypse by water Composition VI and others, Kandinsky portrays epic myths by translating them into contemporary terms along with a sense of desperation, flurry, urgency, and confusion. Kandinsky never completely abandoned reference to the visible world the way New York Abstractionists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko did in the s.
In fact, he claimed there was nothing abstract about his paintings at all and preferred the term "concrete art" to describe them, feeling they confront the viewer as solid, unique objects in and of themselves. He sought to produce a strictly spiritual communication between viewer and painter. His works make oblique reference to the visible world rather than representing it.
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As Der Blaue Reiter Almanac essays and his theorizing with composer Arnold Schoenberg indicate, Kandinsky expressed the communion between artist and viewer as being simultaneously available to the senses and the intellect, as in synaesthesia. Hearing tones and chords as he painted, Kandinsky theorized that, for example, yellow is the color of middle-C on a piano, a brassy trumpet blast; black is the color of closure and the ends of things; and combinations and associations of colors produce vibrational frequencies akin to chords played on a piano.
Kandinsky also developed an intricate theory of geometric figures and their relationships, claiming that the circle is the most peaceful shape and represents the human soul. These theories are set forth in "Point and Line to Plane. During months of studies Kandinsky made in preparation for Composition IV he became exhausted while working on a painting and went for a walk. While he was out, Gabrielle Munter tidied his studio and inadvertently turned his canvas on its side. Upon returning and seeing the canvas—not yet recognizing it—Kandinsky fell to his knees and wept, saying it was the most beautiful painting he had seen.
He had been liberated from attachment to the object.
As when he first viewed Monet's Haystacks, the experience changed his life and the history of Western art. From nearly six months of study and preparation, he had intended the work to evoke a flood, baptism, destruction, and rebirth simultaneously. After outlining the work on a mural-sized wood panel, he became blocked and could not go on. His study of the folk art in the region, in particular the use of bright colors on a dark background, was reflected in his early work.
Kandinsky wrote a few years later that, "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings.