Born on December 4, 1866 (December 16, 1866 based on the Gregorian calendar), Wassily Kandinsky is a Russian painter and artist regarded as one of the founders of pure abstraction in painting. He was the first painter to create art that is purely abstract. Here is a list of some of the most interesting facts about Wassily Kandinsky.
1. He was also a trained musician, having been born from musically inclined parents, Lidia Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky. His father was a tea merchant.
2. At the age of five, he moved to Odessa and lived with his aunt after the divorce of his parents. It was here where he learned to play the piano and cello.
3. While still a young, he already had the heart for art and took drawing lessons from a coach. However, he took up law in college and became a lawyer and educator instead.
4. At the age of 30, he gave up his profession as a lawyer and educator to pursue his studies in art to become a painter. He went to Germany and attended the Azbé School of Painting in Munich.
5. His major influence was Claude Monet and he mastered pointillism, Fauvism and Impressionism, with landscapes often the subjects if his artworks.
6. In 1901, he formed the artists’ group, Phalanx and also became an art teacher.
7. Among his works were Composition VII, Composition VI, Contrasting Sounds and On White II.
8. He was also one of the founders of New Artists’ Association as well as The Blue Rider, along with another artist, Franz Marc.
9. He joined several painting exhibitions in Dresden, Paris and other parts of Europe.
10. He was married three times. The first was to his cousin, Anna Chimnakina, in 1892. The second one was to an art student he met in 1903, Gabriele Munter and finally, to a much younger bride, Nina Andreevskaya.
11. He and his third wife had a son who passed away at the age of three. After the incident, the topic of having children was avoided in the house.
12. While with his young wife in Russia, he helped in the creation the Institute of Artistic Culture and Museum of Pictorial Culture in Moscow.
13. He lived in Russia, Germany and Paris. He also changed his citizenship two times. From being Russian, he became a German citizen and then applied for French citizenship.
14. Kandinsky suffered from Synesthesia, a rare and harmless medical condition wherein a person has extreme sensitivity to sound and colors. This was a condition he discovered he had while he was attending a Wagner opera in Russia.
15. Concerning the Spiritual in Art was an essay he wrote in 1911 wherein he wrote about the three types of painting, namely: compositions, impression and improvisations.
16. Despite being Russian, he was anti-communist. This was not taken well by the state that he had to leave Russia in 1921, with his artworks being banned from Russian museums. His works were considered as deformed spirituality. There are only few paintings of the artist in Russia but there are still existing art pieces in Germany.
17. Seven years before his death, he was able to exhibit in the Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich, together with other artists. During the exhibit, a total of 57 of his paintings were confiscated by the Nazis.
18. Some of his works have been sold at New York auction houses and said to have reached sales amounting to $20 million.
19. Wassily Kandinsky died on December 13, 1944 from cerebrovascular disease in France.