Born in Russia, Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was one of the most original and influential artists to emerge in the twentieth century. He is known primarily for his daring use of color in startling non-objective works. Vasily Kandinsky: A Colorful Life is the most comprehensive and fully illustrated account to date of his early work, from 1900 to 1914, the period in which he made his radical shift to abstraction – and in so doing altered the very concept of art itself.
The works presented here are from the collection of the city museum of Munich, or Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. They were given to the Galerie in 1957 by the artist Gabriele Munter, who was Kandinsky’s companion from 1903 to the beginning of World War I. They are being shown at the Galerie in their entirety for the first time in a major exhibition, for which this book serves as the catalogue.
In compelling, readable text that draws on the latest research, noted Kandinsky expert Vivian Endicott Barnett illuminates the life and work of the artist. She begins with sketches made during his student years in Munich and considers also his interest in folk art, myths and fairy tales, the small oil studies from nature, medieval scenes, woodcuts, glass paintings and landscapes he made before progressing to the first abstractions. Included as well are the important paintings from the series of Improvisations, Impressions, and Compositions, which are among the highlights of his involvement with the Blue Rider group, and later works from his Bauhaus and Paris years.
This sumptuous book includes more than 700 examples of Kandinsky’s early genius, most of them brilliantly reproduced in full color. The works are organized chronologically, and paintings are accompanied, when relevant, by preliminary sketches and prints.
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