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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Wassily Kandinsky

"The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.”
- Wassily Kandinsky

kandinsky portrait photo


Vasily (Wassily) Kandinsky is recognized worldwide for his use of dynamic lines and color to express ideas in a nonobjective, abstract style. His paintings have been collected by every major museum nationally and around the world.

Kandinsky was born on December 4, 1866, in Moscow. From 1886 through 1892 he studied law and economics at the University of Moscow, where he lectured after graduation. In 1896 he declined a teaching position in order to study art in Munich with Anton Azbe from 1897 to 1899 and at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1900. Kandinsky taught from 1901 to 1903 at the art school of the Phalanx, a group he cofounded in Munich.

kandinsky The Blue Rider 1903The Blue Rider (1903)

Kandinsky's treatise On the Spiritual in Art was published in 1910, which was a "defense and promotion of abstract art and an affirmation that all forms of art were equally capable of reaching a level of spirituality. He believed that color could be used in a painting as something autonomous, apart from the visual description of an object or other form."

in 1911 he and artist Franz Marc withdrew from the Munich New Artists' Association, which he had initially founded. Kandinsky then formed a new group, the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) with like-minded artists such as August Macke, Franz Marc, Albert Bloch, and Gabriele Münter. The group released an almanac (The Blue Rider Almanac) and held two exhibits before World War 1 broke out in 1914.

kandinsky Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913

Kandinsky then returned to Moscow and following the Russian Revolution, "became an insider in the cultural administration of Anatoly Lunacharsky" and helped establish the Museum of the Culture of Painting. However, by then "his spiritual outlook... was foreign to the argumentative materialism of Soviet society", and opportunities beckoned in Germany, to which he returned in 1920. There he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 for 11 years.

After the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933, the artist moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. Kandinsky died on December 13, 1944, in Neuilly.

If you happen to be in the NYC-area, be sure to visit the exhibit "Around the Circle" featuring Kandinsky at the Guggenheim Museum, on display now until September 2022.
Get tickets and learn more about the exhibit here.


Below are two of our favorite Kandinsky-themed pieces from our collection. To shop the rest, click here!

Composition 8, QuickNotes:

Notecard collection in a gift box with magnetic closure

Our QuickNotes boxed notecards are full color, collectible greeting / notecards that are blank inside and can be used to convey personal greetings, thank-yous and invitations.

  • 20 4x5 notecards and envelopes
  • 5 cards each of 4 images
  • Full color fine art reproductions
  • Packaged in a keepsake box with magnetic lid
  • Measures 5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches
kandinsky composition 8 boxed notecards from teneues stationery

 kandinsky composition 8 notecards


Black and Violet A5 Notebook:

Notebook with violet page edges and dotted grid pages

Our portable, soft-covered paperback notebook has full-color artwork on the front and back cover by the best illustrators and artists from around the world. 140 pages of 5mm dot-grid paper is an excellent canvas for bullet journaling, list-making, all forms of writing and doodling. Bring it everywhere you go. Handsome exposed, section-sewn binding means the notebook lies flat when open on any page.

black and violet kandinsky notebook from teneues stationery
black and violet kandinsky notebook open


Sources: Wikipedia and wassily-kandinsky.org

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