Vasily Kandinsky

Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Getaucht (Immersed), 1931
Watercolor and ink on paper
14 9/16 x 18 15/16 in. (37 x 48.1 cm)

1866 Born December 4 in Moscow to Vasily Kandinsky, a tea merchant from East Siberia, and Lydia Kandinsky.

1871 His family moves to Odessa. Parents divorce and his aunt becomes his caregiver.

1886 Studies law, economics, and ethnography at the University of Moscow.

1889 Folk art of northern Russia makes lasting impact on him. Visits Hermitage in St. Petersburg and sees paintings by Rembrandt for the first time. Travels to Paris.

1892 Concludes studies and passes law exam. Marries second cousin Ania Chimiakin.

1893 Submits dissertation, "The Legality of Laborers' Wages," and receives Ph.D. Appointed teaching assistant to the law faculty of the University of Moscow.

1896 Sees one of Claude Monet's Haystacks at an exhibition in Moscow; the experience motivates him to become an artist. Moves to Munich to study painting.

1897 Studies at Anton Ažbé's private art school for two years, where he meets painters Alexei von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin.

1898 Accepted to Munich Art Academy; studies under Franz von Stuck.

1901 Founds Phalanx artists' association with Rolf Niczky, Waldemar Hecker, Gustav Freytag, and Wilhelm Hüsgen; Kandinsky becomes its president. The Phalanx School of Painting opens in winter under Kandinsky's directorship.

1902 Meets Gabriele Münter, a student in his painting class. Second and third Phalanx exhibitions. Produces his first woodcuts.

1903 Organizes seventh Phalanx exhibit, including sixteen paintings by Monet. Spends the summer visiting German towns with Münter. Phalanx School of Painting closes due to lack of students. Publishes Poems Without Words in Moscow.

1904 Befriends Alfred Kubin, whose work is featured in the ninth Phalanx exhibition; tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, and last Phalanx exhibitions; the group disbands shortly thereafter. Travels to Holland and Tünis with Münter. Separates from wife, Ania. Participates for the first time in Salon d'Automne and in "Les Tendances Nouvelles" exhibitions in Paris.

1905 Joins German Artists' Federation. Awarded medal at Xllième Exposition du Travail in Paris. First one-man show held at Krause Gallery in Munich.

1906 Moves to a suburb of Sèvres with Münter. Works on woodcuts for Xylographies. Awarded grand prize at Salon d'Automne.

1907 Suffers nervous breakdown and returns to Germany.

1908 Spends first of many summers in Murnau, a town in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, with Münter, Jawlensky, and Werefkin.

1909 Founds Neue Künstlervereinigung München with Jawlensky, Kubin, Münter, Werefkin, and others; is elected its president. Kandinsky creates first Hinterglasmalerein (reverse glass paintings) inspired by the Bavarian folk art tradition. Starts work on series of Compositions paintings. Begins Klänge (Sounds) prose poems.

1910 Travels to Russia where he spends time with older avant-garde artists Izdebsky, Nikolai Kulbin, and Vladimir Markov. Meets Franz Marc and August Macke at New Year's Eve party hosted by Jawlensky and Werefkin.

1911 Attends concert of Schoenberg's music; deeply moved by the experience, Kandinsky sketches two drawings and paints large canvas Impression III (Concert). Begins correspondence with the composer that will continue through 1914. Resigns position at NKVM president. Finalizes divorce from Ania. Meets Paul Klee, Emil Nolde, Hans Arp, and Heinrich Campendonk. Completes Composition V, which is rejected by the NKVM jury, prompting Kandinsky, Marc, Münter, and Kubin to resign from the group. First Blue Rider exhibition opens at Moderne Galerie Thannhauser.

1912 First Blue Rider Almanac published, edited by Kandinsky and Marc. First solo exhibition in Berlin.

1913 Exhibits at the Armory Show in New York. Composition VII is completed.

1914 Solo exhibition at Moderne Galerie Thannhauser. Flees to Switzerland with Münter at the outbreak of World War I. Returns to Moscow where he lives until 1921.

1916 Solo exhibition held at Galerie Gummeson, Stockholm. Works by Kandinsky are show at Galerie Dada in Zurich.

1917 Marries Nina von Andreevskaia in Moscow. Birth of his son, Volodia.

1919 Helps to found the Museum of Pictorial Culture in Moscow; becomes its first director.

1921 Helps to establish the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences. Meets Lyonel Feininger.

1922 Receives invitation to teach at Bauhaus in Weimar. Solo exhibition at Galerie Goldschmidt-Wallerstein, Berlin. Moves to Weimar to teach wall-painting workshop.

1923 Invites Schoenberg to direct the music school at Bauhaus; Schoenberg rejects the offer, accusing Kandinsky of anti-semitism; the two sever ties. Completes Composition VIII.

1924 The Blue Four exhibition group, comprised of Kandinsky, Feininger, Jawlensky, and Klee is formed by art patron Galka Scheyer, who becomes Kandinsky's representative in the United States.

1925 Bauhaus moves to Dessau.

1926 Kandinsky's father dies in Odessa. Sixtieth-birthday exhibition opens in Braunschweig.

1927 Rekindles friendship with Schoenberg in Austria.

1928 Becomes a German citizen.

1929 Meets Hilla Rebay and Mr. and Mrs. Solomon R. Guggenheim; visits with Marcel Duchamp, Katherine Dreier, James Ensor, and architect, Erich Mendelsohn.

1930 Works by Kandinsky, Klee, and Schlemmer removed from Weimar museum by Nazi architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg.

1932 National Socialists close Bauhaus in Dessau; Kandinsky moves to Berlin.

1934 Visits with Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Alberto Magnelli, Jean Arp, ManRay, Fernand Léger, Constantin Brancusi, Robert and Sonia Delauney, and Max Ernst.

1936 Participates in Abstract and Concrete exhibition at Lefévre Gallery, London, and Cubism and Abstract Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1937 Many of Kandinsky's works in German museums are confiscated by Nazis; several included in Degenerate Art exhibition, Munich.

1939 Completes Composition X, his last painting in the series. Granted French citizenship.

1940 Kandinsky spends two months in the Pyrenees.

1941 The Kandinskys are invited to emigrate to the United States; they decline.

1942 Paints last large canvas, but continues to work, mostly in watercolor and gouache.

1944 Completes last catalogued painting, Tempered Elan. Last solo exhibition held in his lifetime opens at Galerie L'Equisse. Kandinsky diesDecember 13 in Neuilly-sur-Seine from sclerosis of the cerebellum.


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