Wassily Kandinsky was born in
Moscow, on December 4,1866. His uncompromising attitude to life
and art, his faith in the unconquer-ability of the human spirit,
came with him from Russia. He remained Russian to the last,
although both by blood and spirit he was related to western
Europe as well to Asia. However, from his thirtieth year on,
from 1896 to his death in 1944, he lived in Germany and in Paris,
except for a seven-year stay in Moscow between 1914 and 1921.
1908 to 1914 was considered the Murnau Period and Blaue Reiter. In 1908 he visited the southern Tyrol and Murnau. The years 1908 and 1909 were transitional: they mark a stage preliminary to the period that extended until the outbreak of the war in 1914. After 1910 there is a shift in Kandinsky’s art away from the literal use of Russian motifs toward a more allusive, spiritual element that is reminiscent of Russian Symbolism. This plays a significant role in his progress toward abstraction and his creation of Compositions.
Kandinsky completed various pieces in 1922. He had finished
six paintings and twenty-five watercolors. This is also the
year that Kandinsky began to keep a catalogue of his watercolors.
During 1919-1923, Kandinsky wrote for the Bauhaus-Buch two short
theoretical essays. From 1922 to 1925, Kandinsky was situated
in Germany and had a period of immense creativity.
In 1933, Kandinsky moved to Paris and remained there until
1944, all of his friends, and collectors were still in Germany
at this time. In contrast to earlier periods, the emotional
and expressive character of color takes a subordinate place
in these works, color no longer representing a psychic element,
but becoming more than ever a thing, a quality in its own right.
Kandinsky obtained his greatest tensions from opposing the geometric
elements to the free, and, so to speak, living elements, and
by this means arrived at more comprehensive higher forms. Even
these are not his ultimate goal, however, for here color both
of itself and in co-existence is also present. Other essential
tensions were obtained by Kandinsky from opposing exact forms
both flat and linear deliberately inexact ones, complete forms
fragmentary forms, main forms to merely ornamental ones, organic
amoeba-like elements to elements suggesting technology (serrated
forms), static elements to dynamic, symbolic forms (cross) to
everyday forms (ladder), and so on. In addition there are other
contrasts, such as those between smooth and rough, transparent
and opaque, full and empty, the one and the many (the number
of centers), harmonious arrangements and unharmonious