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Father of Abstract Art, Wassily Kandinsky

April 11, 2017

Juhee Son Irvine High School 11th Grade

What influenced a professor of the law department to reject his position and start a career as an artist? Simply put, a painting of haystacks did. Wassily Kandinsky became captivated by Monet’s impressionist art where she portrayed the haystacks with various contrast of tones and unknown shapes. At first, he did not recognize the objects depicted as the haystacks. After realizing them through the title, he was infuriated with anger and shock that got embedded in his heart. These feelings later became a stimulus for his abstract art. The unique aspects of her art immediately held Kandinsky spell bounded. It enabled him to give up his established career for a life as an artist.

What is more surprising is that Kandinsky initially did not produce a work of dynamic collection of sharp colors, lines and geometric shapes that everyone is familiar with. When he first began painting, he mainly emphasized colored elements and focused on realism rather than on the impressionist elements. His early works include paintings of peaceful landscape. So, how did he come to create abstract art? This, too, was incidental. Coming back to his studio after his day, he noticed a mysterious painting with light shining through. At first, he did not realize the painting on the easel was his own because it was placed upside down. The peculiar beauty of the abstract vibe from the upside down painting mesmerized Kandinsky.

Moving away from his old realistic landscape paintings, Kandinsky starts to immerse himself completely into abstractism. He believed he can communicate his innate feelings just through simple lines and shapes. He thought to himself, “Why can’t art be just like music where you are able to experiment with colors and shapes freely like musical notes?” Exposed to music at a young age, his paintings reflect his innate musical talent by utilizing forms that give the viewers a sense of movement in musical notes.

Wassily Kandinsky is regarded as one of the most influential artists during the 20th century along Picasso and Matisse. Who knew a studious lawyer would become the father of abstract art? Because of him, other famous artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Roscoe exist today. He proved that even non-objective art can serve as an important bridge in communicating the universal emotions of humans. Just like Kandinsky, one should consider to express their emotions freely through simplicity.

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