7 Facts about Kandinsky Which You Might Not Know


1. Kandinsky began to practice art at the age of 30. Prior to that, he successfully studied economics and law: the position of a professor of law at Derpt University was already assured for him. But he decided to give up a promising career and went to Germany to study painting.

Kandinsky at Moscow University., 1893

2. Claude Monet’s "Haystacks" became a real revelation to Kandinsky which proved to be an important milestone on his path to abstraction. In the book "Stairs" (1913) he recalls, "And once I saw the painting for the first time. It seemed to me that it was impossible to guess without a catalogue that it was a haystack. This lack of clarity was unpleasant to me: I thought that the painter had no right to paint so unclearly. It was a vague feeling that there was no object in the painting. I noticed with surprise and confusion that the painting not only gripped me but printed ineradicably on my memory, and suddenly arose in my mind down to the last detail. <...> But deep at the back of mind the object was discredited as a necessary element of the painting."

"Haystacks" by Claude Monet, 1891

3. Kandinsky is called a "pioneer of abstraction." In fact, in this direction, he went hand in hand with Mondrian, Malevich, Picabia and others. Generally, in the early 1910s there was a need in painting to break the boundaries of figurative art, and you can tell it from works of many artists. However, Kandinsky was the one who theorized the existence of art beyond these boundaries. Therefore, his watercolor painting of 1910 is considered the starting point.

"Untitled (First Abstract Watercolor)", 1910

4. The only child of Kandinsky, Vsevolod, died at the age of 3 in 1920.

5. Kandinsky was a synesthet. Synesthesia is a special form of perception of the world when stimulation of certain sense organs evokes sensations specific to other sense organs. For example, a synesthet "hears colors", "sees sounds", etc.

Impression lll (Concert), 1911

6. Several Kandinsky’s paintings together with hundreds of other artists' works were confiscated by the Nazis during the struggle against the avant-garde art, and presented to the public as part of the sadly remembered exhibition of "degenerate art" in 1937-1941.

Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler visit the Degenerate Art Exhibition, 1937

7. The most expensive painting of Kandinsky at the moment is a "Study for Improvisation 8." On November 7th, 2012, it was sold at the Christie's auction for $23 million.

"Study for Improvisation 8.", 1909

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