| Kandinsky, Vasilii Biography
Born in Moscow, December 4, 1866, Vasilii Kandinsky studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, from 1896 to 1900. His early oil paintings were executed in a naturalistic style, but in 1909, after a trip to Paris during which he was highly impressed by the works of the fauves and postimpressionists, his oil paintings became more highly colored and loosely organized. Around 1913 he began working on oil paintings that came to be considered the first totally abstract works in modern art; they made no reference to objects of the physical world and derived their inspiration and titles from music.
In 1911, along with Franz Marc and other German expressionists, Kandinsky formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group. He produced both abstract and figurative works during this period, all of which were characterized by brilliant colors and complex patterns.
After World War I (1914-1918), Kandinsky's abstractions became increasingly geometric in form, as he abandoned his earlier fluid style in favor of sharply etched outlines and clear patterns. Composition VIII No. 260 (1923, Guggenheim Museum, New York City), for instance, is composed solely of lines, circles, arcs, and other simple geometric forms. In very late works such as Circle and Square (1943, private collection), he refines this style into a more elegant, complex mode that resulted in beautifully balanced, jewel-like pictures.
He was one of the most influential artists of his generation. As one of the first explorers of the principles of nonrepresentational or "pure" abstraction, Kandinsky can be considered an artist who paved the way for abstract expressionism. Kandinsky died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, on December 13, 1944.
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