Born in Moscow in 1866, Wassily Kandinsky was raised in Odessa, where he attended art school, before studying law and economics. At age 30, after a successful law career, he relocated to Germany, enrolling at the Munich Academy of Art in 1896, studying under Symbolist painter Franz von Stuck. Influenced by Russian Folk art, French Impressionism, Symbolism and the music of Richard Wagner, he co-founded the Expressionist collective Der Blaue Reiter in Munich in 1910, along with fellow artists Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter. Believing that art should express spirituality through a visual language of form and colour was a critical factor in his move towards abstraction. Kandinsky’s theoretical text Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1910) had far-reaching international impact, and is regarded as one the most influential art theories of the 20th century.
After the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Kandinsky returned to Moscow, where he collaborated with Malevich and Tatlin, and was involved in reforming Russian art schools and museums in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution. He returned to Germany in 1922, teaching design and art theory at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Kandinsky became a naturalized German citizen in 1928. After the closure of the Bauhaus through the Nazis in 1933, he moved to France and acquired French citizenship. He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944, at the age of 77.
Kandinsky is regarded as one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting, and his art had significant influence on later artistic movements such as Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.
His work is included in numerous international museum collections, among them the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.