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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Wassily Kandinsky and abstract art


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Hugo Erfurth


Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a Russian artist best known for contributions to abstract art. Wikipedia says,


"Kandinsky's analyses on forms and colors result not from simple, arbitrary idea-associations but from the painter's inner experience. He spent years creating abstract, sensory rich paintings, working with form and color, tirelessly observing his own paintings and those of other arts, noting their effects on his sense of color." (Wikipedia: Wassily Kandinsky, 8.11.21 UTC 23:03)


Artist Barnett Newman also said,


"I think that some abstractions - for example Kandinsky's - are really nature paintings. The triangles and the spheres or circles could be bottles. They could be trees, or buildings." (BBC interview 1965)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Kandinsky.




"The more freely abstract the form becomes, the purer, and also the more primitive it sounds." (Quoted in Kandinsky: Complete Writings of Art by Kenneth Lindsay and Peter Vergo)


"Every form in the world says something. But its message often fails to reach us, and even if it does, full understanding is often withheld from us." (Concerning the Spiritual in Art, 1911)


"As every word spoken rouses an inner vibration, so likewise does every object represented." (Concerning the Spiritual in Art, 1911)


"It is clear, therefore, that the choice of object (i.e. of one of the elements of the harmony of form) must be decided only by a corresponding vibration in the human soul.." (Quoted in Artists on Art by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves)




"Generally speaking, color is a power which directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the strings." (Concerning the Spiritual in Art, 1911)


"The first colors which made a strong impression on me were light juice green, white, crimson red, black and yellow ocher. These memories go back to the third year of my life." (Autobiography, 1918)


"...emotion that I experienced on first seeing the fresh paint come out of the tube... the impression of colors strewn over the palette: of colors - alive, waiting, as yet unseen and hidden in their little tubes..." (Autobiography, 1918)




"Painting is a thundering conflict of different worlds, which in and out of the battle with one another are intended to create the new world, which is called the world of art." (Autobiography, 1918)


"Content is nothing but the sum of organized tensions." (Analysis of the Primary Elements of Painting, 1928)


"Opposites and contradictions, that is our harmony." (Quoted in Schonberg and Kandinsky: An Historic Encounter by Klaus Kropfinger)


"I am certain that our own modern harmony is not to be found in the 'geometric' way, but rather in the anti-geometric, anti-logical way." (Letter to Arnold Schoenberg, 1911)




"...the works of Mozart. They create a welcome pause amidst the storms of our inner life, a vision of consolation and hope but we hear them like sounds of another, vanished and essential unfamiliar age." (Quoted in Schonberg and Kandinsky: An Historic Encounter by Klaus Kropfinger)