Wassily Kandinsky

Life Events


December 16, 1866

Place of Birth: Moscow
Son of Lidia Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky; a tea merchant

Moves to Odessa

1871 - 1885

Attending a classical grammar school: he learned to play the piano and the cello and took to drawing with a coach.

"I remember that drawing and a little bit later painting lifted me out of the reality"

"each color lives by its mysterious life"

Moves to Moscow

1886 - 1892

Entered Law Faculty of Moscow University.
Graduating with honors: six years later Wassily married his cousin, Anna Chimyakina.

Becomes Associate Professor

1893 - 1896

In 1893 he became an Associate Professor of Law Faculty and continued teaching. In 1896 at Derpt University in Tartu, at 30 years old Kandinsky was appointed Professor to the Department of Law HOWEVERbut at this particular time he decided to give up a successful career to devote himself completely to painting.

Travels Europe

1903 - 1908

He divorces his wife. The following five years he with his "acquaintance" Gabriela travelled across Europe.

"Concerning the Spiritual in Art"


The argument that creativity exists outside of the conscious mind. And outside of our ability to articulate it in language

He makes an argument for a picture that will no longer be a picture of something

He wants a type of art that will not be expressible through words

Leaves Germany Lives in Russia

1914 - 1921

When the World War began Kandinsky was compelled to leave Germany.


1922 - 1933

Kandinsky moved back to Moscow in 1914 after the beginning of the war but the traditionalist understanding of art in Russia did not appeal to him, so he returned to Germany in 1921 where he undertook a teaching career at the Bauhaus School of Art. In 1933 the school was closed by the Nazis and he moved to France where he spent the last five years of his life.

Lives in Paris

1934 - 1944


December 13, 1944

Aged: 77
Place of Death: Neuilly-sur-Seine

Artistic Changes

Gives up Law Career


devote himself completely to painting.

He attends Wagner's Lohengrin


at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Sees French Impressionist Exhibit


Has an emotional shock he experienced from K. Monet's, "Haystacks"

Metamorphosis in Munich

1896 - 1911

Enters Munich Academy of Arts


Kandinsky entered the Munich Academy of Arts, and studied under Franz Stuck



an art group, in Munich and started a school, in which he taught himself

Painting & Exhibitions

1903 - 1908

being engaged in painting and participating in exhibitions.

The New Group of Artists


He co-forms The New Group of Artists (Neue Kunstlervereinigung)

The Blue Rider Group

1911 - 1914

Der Blaue Reiter lacked an artistic manifesto, the origin of the name is simply what kandinsky and marc liked.

Within the group, artistic approaches and aims varied from artist to artist; however, the artists shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art.

They believed in the promotion of modern art; the connection between visual art and music; the spiritual and symbolic associations of colour; and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting.

Members were interested in European medieval art and primitivism, as well as the contemporary, non-figurative art scene in France. As a result of their encounters with cubist, fauvist and Rayonist ideas, they moved towards abstraction.

Attends an Arnold Schoenberg Concert


this changes his view of art and inspires him to make Impression III (Concert)

Change in Russia

1914 - 1921

During these crisis years of revolution Kandinsky alternated among half-abstract idiom, Impressionist landscapes and romantic fantasies

In his abstract pictures geometrization of separate elements became stronger, the reason for that is, first, the proper process of simplification, and, secondly - the Avant-Garde artistic atmosphere of Moscow of that time.

Interest in Geometric forms

1923 - 1933

Biomorphic Abstraction

1934 - 1944

Pieces from Exhibit

Odessa. Port, 1898


First Published Work

The Blue Rider (Blaue Reiter)


It was the beginning of the stage of intensive and fruitful search. The works of those years were basically landscapes, based on color discords. The play of color spots and lines was gradually superseding images of reality

Blue Mountain 1908-09

1908 - 1909

Vasily Kandinsky’s use of the horse-and-rider motif symbolized his crusade against conventional aesthetic values and his dream of a better, more spiritual future through the transformative powers of art. The rider is featured in many woodcuts, temperas, and oils, from its first appearance in the artist’s folk-inspired paintings

In that year his style became increasingly abstract and expressionistic and his thematic concerns shifted from the portrayal of natural events to apocalyptic narratives.

Impression III (Concert)


Composition V


Light Picture, 1913




"A circle, which I use recently so often, could not be called otherwise but romantic. And the present day romanticism is essentially deeper, more beautiful, more substantial and more salutary - it is a piece of ice, in which fire is burning. And if people feel only cold and do not feel fire - so much the worse for them..."

Sky Blue, 1940