In 1926, filmmaker Hans Cürlis, a pioneer of art documentaries, took this rare footage of the Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky on video. The artist was captured in the Galerie Neumann-Nierendorf in Berlin. Kandinsky was about 49 years old at the time and teaching at the Bauhaus. It was the same year he published his second major treatise, On Point and Line to Plane.
Wassily Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Russia. He spent the majority of his artistic career in Germany, where he was a member of the Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. Kandinsky is well-known as one of the pioneers of geometrical abstraction. His paintings can be recognized for their bold, contrasting colors and the variety of shapes in the compositions. One of his biggest inspirations was music, there are many artworks that he titled after musical compositions.
He was also an author of several texts, the already mentioned On Point and Line to Plane, as well as his other masterpiece Concerning the Spritual in Art. Writing allowed him to expand the ideas that he couldn’t always transmit only through painting.
The contrasting straight lines and curves that Kandinsky paints in the footage are typical of this period. Just watch how the great artist leads his brush.
In the early 1920s, his works got a characteristic geometricity. More space started to appear on the canvas, and the spontaneity gave way to the order. Fascinated by the educational process and the theoretical work in Bauhaus, the painter continued his research on the interaction and influence of the main elements of the canvas, the colors, and forms. The school was a perfect environment for developing various artistic ideas. I wish this Kandinsky video footage was in color!