Is it possible to invent an artistic style from the scratch? Can it be a personal invention that acts as a catalyst for the contemporary art? One name that instantly pops in the mind when we talk abstract art is, inevitably, Wassily Kandinsky.
Celebrated as a predominant pioneer of the avant garde & aesthetic ‘abstract genre’, the Russian painter is often credited with painting one of the first colourful, dynamic and purely abstract modern works.
The best Kandinsky oil paintings were dictated by his ‘inner fascination’ for color, design and music combined with his passion to find deeper meaning — which paved the way for a new kind of art form. That’s not all; Kandinsky’s art approach not only forewent floating lines, vibrant colors, and figurative forms for geometric shapes, but also laid the foundation stone of one the most influential color theories of the 20th century:
“Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, and 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.”
Universal Artistic Statement his Abstract Watercolor Paintings[
In 1903, the artist master-painted his first landmark art, which was widely renowned as “Der Blaue Reiter” or The Blue Rider! This Kandinsky painting was one of his earliest works and depicts an impressionistic sight of a guy in a blue cape straddling across a white horse.
Thereafter, in the first decade of the 20th century, Kandinsky applied a progressively innovative style that witnessed his characters become less distinct, as his compositions developed progressively planar.
The consecutive Kandinsky artworks of 1908, such as ‘The Bavarian Village with Field’ and ‘Autumn Study near Oberau’ feature villages, forests and churches painted in brilliant colors. This unique interplay of color not only took precedence over traditional form but also made it clear that the artist was straying from realistic depictions. For him, in fact, the emotional impression made by colors was more important.
Universal Artistic Statement his Abstract Watercolor Paintings
In 1911, Kandinsky stunned the artistic world with an untitled watercolor that is considered to be his first truly abstract painting. The Kandinsky paintings started to blossom in this period, impressing the art fraternity with functions that defied traditional boundaries like line and form, and rather focused on expressing the emotion through the juxtaposition of color.
As the internal world of human thoughts was more fascinating to Kandinsky than the external world, he implemented pre-existing rules and structure in music – in his work in the form of notation. What’s more; Kandinsky drawings also borrowed their names from music, as most of his works were called improvisations, impressions or compositions. While instruments and their respective sounds were symbolized with different colors, bright ones stood for high trumpet tones whereas the light shades signified low musical notes.
The artworks listed below are the most important by Wassily Kandinsky — that pinpoint the major creative periods while highlighting the greatest achievements by the artist:
Composition IV: (1911)
Hidden beautifully within the luminous shades of color and the clearly sharp lines, this Kandinsky drawing showcases numerous Cossacks with lances, along with reclining figures, boats and a commanding castle on a hilltop. Like most of the artworks mastercrafted in this period, Composition IV epitomizes an apocalyptic battle that establishes an eternal peace. While the idea of battle is aptly described by the Cossacks, the flowing forms and reclining figures represent the peace and redemption to follow.
Composition VIII: (1923)
Widely acclaimed for its rational, geometric order, the Composition VIII illustrates how impeccably Kandinsky amalgamated the elements from Suprematism, and Constructivism. After combining aspects of all three movements, he leveraged flat planes of color to bring out a clear, linear quality of artwork. While the ‘form’ (as opposed to color) takes up a dynamic balance that pulses throughout the canvas. All in all, Composition VIII is advocates for Kandinsky’s open ideas about modern, non-objective art, underlying the significance of geometric shapes like triangles, circles, and not to mention the checkerboard.
Composition X: (1939)
Drawing influence from the flowing biomorphic forms of Surrealism, this Kandinsky drawing reintroduced organic shapes back into his pictorial vocabulary. Master-crafted in France, Composition X is set upon a black background that elevates the visual appeal of the brightly hued rippling forms in the foreground. While the black expanse dominates with significant presence, the artist has leveraged the color brilliantly to represent both cosmos as well as the darkness towards the end of life.
Even better, the rolling planes of color invoke a picture of microscopic organisms, but also vividly convey the deep inner feelings Kandinsky experienced in the last days of his life. Also, the undulating organization of forms offer a stark contrast with the harsh edges to envisage the rise and fall of the cycle of life.