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ART 4 2-DAY 16 December
Born on 16 December 1534: Hans Bol,
Flemish draftsman, illuminator, painter who was buried on 20 November
Born on 16 December 1866 (04 December Julian):Vasiliy
Vasil'yevich Kandinsky, Russian Expressionist
painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist, and theorist, who
died on 13 December 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
article about Kandinsky: Towards Abstraction
— A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.
— Kandinsky was one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. After successful avant-garde exhibitions, he founded the influential Munich group Der Blaue Reiter (1911-1914) and began completely abstract painting. His forms evolved from fluid and organic to geometric and, finally, to pictographic (e.g., Tempered Élan, 1944 thumbnail >).
Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.' The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch.
Born in Moscow , Kandinsky spent his early childhood in Odessa. His parents played the piano and the zither and Kandinsky himself learned the piano and cello at an early age. The influence of music in his paintings cannot be overstated, down to the names of his paintings "Improvisations", "Impressions", and "Compositions." In 1886, he enrolled at the University of Moscow, chose to study law and economics, and after passing his examinations, lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law. He enjoyed success not only as a teacher but also wrote extensively on spirituality, a subject that remained of great interest and ultimately exerted substantial influence in his work.
In 1895 Kandinsky attended a French Impressionist exhibition where he saw Monet's Haystacks at Giverny. He stated, ...it was from the catalog I learned this was a haystack. I was upset I had not recognized it. I also thought the painter had no right to paint in such an imprecise fashion. Dimly I was aware too that the object did not appear in the picture... Soon thereafter, at the age of thirty, Kandinsky left Moscow and went to Munich to study life-drawing, sketching and anatomy, regarded then as basic for an artistic education. Anton Azbe was one of his teachers.
Ironically, Kandinsky's work moved in a direction that was of much greater abstraction than that which was pioneered by the Impressionists. It was not long before his talent surpassed the constraints of art school and he began exploring his own ideas of painting ...I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...
In Munich Kandinsky founded the artists' group Phalanx, which closely followed the arts and crafts tradition of Jugendstil. Gabriele Münter [19 Feb 1877 – 19 May 1962] enrolled in the Phlanxschule in 1902, and took evening classes in still-life painting taught by Kandinsky, the director. In the summers of 1902 and 1903 she attended his courses in landscape painting. During this period they became engaged, but they never formally married. In 1904, Kandinsky and Münter began a four year trip to Venice, Tunisa, Holland, France, and Russia absorbing the styles of the Impressionists and the Futurists like Van Gogh, Gaugin, and Monet. They visited Sèvres in 1906–1907. In 1908, they settled again in Munich. Together with other local artists they developed an independent Expressionist style where forms and perspective are reduced, and thick areas of colors are spread broadly. Kandinsky's art became more and more abstract, though he continued to incorporate representational elements, often from Russian folklore - towns with belltowers, hills, horses and riders. Eventually he took the radical step to give up all representational form, painting instead from "inner necessity". Münter did not follow this journey to abstract, absolute art. Instead she developed her own style.
In 1911, Kandinsky, with Münter and others, broke from the conservative artists' association in Munich and formed Der Blaue Reiter. In two brief years this group brought together the great creative artists of the time - Matisse, Picasso, Delauney, Klee. Lead by Kandinsky, Der Blaue Reiter ushered in a new area, absorbing influences from music, theater and science and giving importance to Abstract Painting, Realism, Primitive Art, and childrens' drawings. Munich became a significant center in the art world. In 1914, when war broke out, Kandinsky returned to Russia while Gabriele Münter remained in Munich. In 1916, she was very hurt to learn that Kandinsky had married in Russia.
Now considered to be the founder of abstract art, Kandinsky had his work exhibited throughout Europe from 1903 onwards, and often caused controversy among the public, the art critics, and his contemporaries. An active participant in several of the most influential and controversial art movements of the 20th century, among them the Blue Rider which he founded along with Franz Marc and the Bauhaus which also attracted Klee, Lyonel Feininger [1871-1956], Geiniger, and Schonberg, Kandinsky continued to further express and define his form of art, both on canvas and in his theoretical writings.
His reputation became firmly established in the United States through numerous exhbitions and his work was introduced to Solomon Guggenheim, who became one of his most enthusiastic supporters. In 1933, Kandinsky left Germany and settled in the classy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The paintings from these later years were again the subject of controversy. Though Kandinsky was out of favor with many of the patriarchs of Paris's artistic community, younger artists admired him. His studio was visited regularly by Miro, Arp, Magnelli and Sophie Tauber. Kandinsky continued painting until June 1944. His unrelenting quest for new forms which carried him to the very extremes of geometric abstraction have provided us with an unparalleled collection of abstract art.
— The students of Kandinsky included Mordecai Ardon, Herbert Bayer, Max Bill, Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen, T. Lux Feininger Gorky, Arshile Gorky, Klyment Red’ko, Arieh Sharon, Fritz Winter.
— By Münter: Kandinsky Painting a Landscape (1903; 292x492pix, 48kb) _ Portrait of Kandinsky (1906 color woodcut; 432x316pix, 50kb) _ a different Portrait of Kandinsky (299x200pix, 12kb)
Autumn in Bavaria (1908, 33x45cm) Painting with Green Center Cemetery & Vicarage in Kochel (1909) Gabriele Münter (1905; 632x650pix, 137kb) Picture with a Black Arch (1912, 186x193cm) Colorful Ensemble (1938) Murnau with Church I (1910, 65x50cm) Improvisation 7 (1910, 131x97cm) Composition IV (1911, 159x250) Composition V (1911, (190x275cm) Composition VI (1913, 195x300cm) Composition VII _ Composition VII (1913, 200x300cm) Fragment 2 for Composition VII (1913, 88x100cm) Composition VIII (1923, 140x201cm) Composition IX (1936, 114x195cm) Composition X (1939, 130x195cm) In the Blue Black Spot I (1912, 100x130cm) Ravine Improvisation (1914, 110x110cm) On White II (1923, 105x98cm) Small Pleasures Black and Violet (1923) Contrasting Sounds (1924, 70x50cm) Yellow, Red, Blue (1925, 127x200cm)
Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) _ Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) (1913; 145x120cm) Neither Marc nor Macke were abstract painters. It was Kandinsky who found that the interior necessity, which alone could inspire true art, was forcing him to leave behind the representational image. He was a Russian who had first trained as a lawyer. He was a brilliant and persuasive man. Then, when already in his thirties, he decided to go to Munich in 1897 to study art. By the time Der Blaue Reiter was established, he was already abstracting from the image, using it as a creative springboard for his pioneering art. Seeing a painting of his own, lying on its side on the easel one evening, he had been struck by its beauty, a beauty beyond what he saw when he set it upright. It was the liberated color, the formal independence, that so entranced him.
Kandinsky, a determined and sensitive man, was a good prophet to receive this vision. He preached it by word and by example, and even those who were suspicious of this new freedom were frequently convinced by his paintings. Improvisation 31 has a less generalized title, Sea Battle, and by taking this hint we can indeed see how he has used the image of two tall ships shooting cannonballs at each other, and abstracted these specifics down into the glorious commotion of the picture. Though it does not show a sea battle, it makes us experience one, with its confusion, courage, excitement, and furious motion.
Kandinsky says all this mainly with the color, which bounces and balloons over the center of the picture, roughly curtailed at the upper corners, and ominously smudged at the bottom right. There are also smears, whether of paint or of blood. The action is held tightly within two strong ascending diagonals, creating a central triangle that rises ever higher. This rising accent gives a heroic feel to the violence.
These free, wild raptures are not the only form abstraction can take, and in his later, sadder years, Kandinsky became much more severely constrained, all trace of his original inspiration lost in magnificent patternings. Accent in Pink (1926, 101x81cm) exists solely as an object in its own right: the pink and the accent are purely visual. The only meaning to be found lies in what the experience of the pictures provides, and that demands prolonged contemplation. What some find hard about abstract art is the very demanding, time-consuming labor that is implicitly required. Yet if we do not look long and with an open heart, we shall see nothing but superior wallpaper. [but if we look long enough we will see that it is not superior to wallpaper].
Le surréalisme est orphelin. Depuis longtemps considéré, à côté de Mondrian, comme l' inventeur de la peinture abstraite dans le courant des années 1910 et comme l’un de ses principaux théoriciens, Kandinsky a vu, après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, sa position remise en cause par l’apparition de nouvelles formes d’art abstrait, et le renouveau même de la peinture figurative. Mais, depuis le début des années 1970, l’ensemble de son œuvre a commencé à faire l’objet d’un nouvel examen : elle ne cesse aujourd’hui de redéployer toute sa richesse et sa complexité pour retrouver la place centrale qu’elle mérite d’occuper dans l’histoire de l’art européen de la première moitié du siècle.
Kandinsky, né à Moscou, fit des études de droit, puis renonça à une carrière universitaire pour entrer à l'Académie des beaux-arts de Munich, où il étudia de 1896 à 1900. Il exécuta ses premiers tableaux dans un style naturaliste puis, à la suite d'un voyage à Paris au cours duquel il fut marqué par les œuvres des fauves et des impressionnistes (la série des Meules de Claude Monet fut notamment pour lui une révélation), sa peinture devint très fortement colorée et moins organisée (Tableau à l'archer, 1909).
À partir de 1909, il réalisa des peintures qui allaient plus tard être considérées comme les premières œuvres entièrement abstraites de l'art moderne!; elles ne faisaient en effet référence à aucune réalité tangible et tiraient leur inspiration et leurs titres de la musique (Improvisation II, Marche funèbre, 1909). Il décrivit d'ailleurs le processus qui le mena à l'abstraction dans un ouvrage autobiographique, " Regards " en arrière, qui fut publié en 1913.
En 1911, Kandinsky forma, avec des expressionnistes allemands le groupe Der Blaue Reiter dont le titre associe le bleu, couleur préférée de Kandinsky, aux chevaux que Marc Franz privilégiait tout particulièrement dans ses propres œuvres. Pendant cette période, Kandinsky produisit aussi bien des œuvres abstraites que des œuvres figuratives, toutes étant caractérisées par des couleurs brillantes et des motifs complexes. En 1912, il publia à Munich Du spirituel dans l'art, ouvrage qu'il avait commencé à rédiger dès 1910. Ce premier traité théorique sur l'abstraction lui permit de répandre ses idées en Europe et lui conféra une importance historique de tout premier ordre. L'influence exercée par Kandinsky sur l'évolution artistique du XXe siècle s'accrut par son activité d'enseignant (à Moscou puis au Bauhaus de Weimar, ensuite à Dessau. Point, ligne, plan, publié en 1926, expose les principaux fondements de son enseignement. Après la Première Guerre mondiale, les abstractions de Kandinsky tendirent à une géométrisation progressive, à mesure qu'il abandonnait son précédent style fluide en faveur de signes clairement marqués. Ainsi sa Composition VIII n° 260 (1923) est-elle uniquement faite de droites, de cercles, d'arcs et d'autres formes géométriques simples. Dans des œuvres beaucoup plus tardives, comme Cercle et Carré (1943), il affine ce style de façon élégante et complexe, parvenant à des représentations esthétiquement très équilibrées.
Kandinsky fut l'un des artistes les plus influents de sa génération; l’explorateur de l’abstraction pure. Il peut être considéré comme l'artiste ayant tracé la voie de l'expressionnisme abstrait. Kandinsky est mort à Neuilly-sur-Seine, où il s'était installé dès 1933.
Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life.
Wassily Kandinsky [16 Dec 1866 13 December 1944] in 1911