Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)
Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866. He grew up in the Russian (now Ukrainian) city of Odesa where he enjoyed music and learned to play the piano and the cello. Even as a child, the colours of nature dazzled him. Both music and colours would have a huge impact on his art later in life.
Following study and an early career as a Teacher of Law, he later decided to change careers and become an artist and attended art school in Munich.
Kandinsky's early paintings were landscapes that were heavily influenced by Impressionist artists as well as Pointillism and Fauvism. The most famous of his early works is "The Blue Rider" which he painted in 1903. Later he moved toward a more abstract style where shapes and colours were the subject.
Over the next several years he would start to paint what would become known as Abstract Art and Kandinsky was one of the first artists to develop and work in this style.
Kandinsky felt that he could express feelings and music through colors and shapes in his paintings. For example, he thought that yellow had the crisp sound of a trumpet and that certain colors placed together could harmonize like chords on a piano. The shapes he was most interested in were the circle, triangle, and the square. He thought the triangle would cause aggressive feelings, the square calm feelings, and the circle spiritual feelings.
Kandinsky returned to Russia briefly, while refining his art and style, but his work was rejected by the Russian art world, so he returned to Germany to teach in the Bauhaus. When this was closed by the new Nazi regime, he moved to Paris where he lived until his death in 1944.