Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spotlight on an important 20th-century painter

Vasily Kandinsky, considered a pioneer of abstraction, believed that a painter’s job was to honestly reveal and convey his own inner world, instead of simply imitating the natural world.

The renowned Russian printmaker, painter, decorative artist, theorist and stage designer was one of the key figures in the development of 20th-century art, the transition to abstract from representational art, in particular. Kandinsky was known to work in a wide array of media. Also a teacher and theoretician, he spent his time mainly outside Russia. However, his Russian heritage remained a vital factor in his artistic development.

The painter had been closely linked to the Guggenheim Museum's history, as it proudly claims on eve of a new showcase. For instance, artist, art advisor, and its first director, Hilla Rebay, promoted non-objective painting above all other forms of abstraction. She happened to be particularly inspired by the writing and work of Kandinsky (born 1866, Moscow; died 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France). The museum’s holdings have steadily grown to include over 150 works by Kandinsky, and focused exhibits of his artworks are regularly presented in the Kandinsky Gallery.

‘Kandinsky 1911–1913’, the current installation, highlights paintings completed at the moment he made rapid strides toward total abstraction and published his aesthetic treatise, ‘On the Spiritual in Art’ (1911, though dated 1912). Also featured are works by Robert Delaunay and Franz Marc exhibited alongside the work of Kandinsky and others in the landmark 1912 Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) show at Munich's Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser.

An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum serves both as a cultural center and an educational institution. Visitors can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings, and daily tours of the galleries. Founded on a collection of early modern masterpieces, it has established itself as an ever-evolving institution devoted to the art of the 20th century and beyond.

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