Houses in Munich is an early cityscape painting by Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky. It is located in the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal, western Germany.
Analysis of Kandinsky’s Houses in Munich
In a similar vein of spiritual feeling, Wassily Kandinsky paints an urban setting, Houses in Munich in 1908. The objects of the world and people are still recognizable but less attention is paid to their physical appearance than some sort of essence that dwells within. The coloring strains against naturalism but does not break completely from it; it seems there is a balance between the physical and the metaphysical, as the paint is laid thickly on showing the intense physicality of the world while at the same time ‘distorting’ it into a new appearance.
Kandinsky in Germany
Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian-born artist, played a pivotal role in the development of abstract art and expressionism in Germany. After spending time in various European cities, Kandinsky settled in Germany, where he made significant contributions to the art scene and influenced the course of modern art in the country.
Kandinsky’s arrival in Germany coincided with a period of artistic experimentation and innovation. In 1896, he became a member of the Munich Secession, an association of artists who aimed to challenge the conservative art establishment and promote avant-garde styles. Kandinsky’s early works in Germany were still representational, often influenced by his interest in folk art, Russian icons, and the Symbolist movement.
However, Kandinsky’s artistic journey took a radical turn in the early 20th century when he began to move away from representational art and embrace abstraction. In 1911, he published a seminal treatise titled Concerning the Spiritual in Art, which outlined his theories on the spiritual and emotional power of color and form. This treatise had a profound impact on the German art scene, inspiring a generation of artists to explore abstract and non-objective art.
Kandinsky’s most significant contribution to the German art scene was the founding of the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) movement in 1911. Alongside artist Franz Marc, Kandinsky sought to establish an artistic collective that would unite like-minded artists and promote new, spiritual art forms. The Blue Rider movement played a crucial role in popularizing expressionism in Germany, emphasizing the emotional and symbolic aspects of art over mere representation.
Under Kandinsky’s leadership, the Blue Rider movement organized exhibitions and published an almanac that showcased the work of its members and disseminated their ideas. The movement attracted artists such as Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, and August Macke, among others, who shared Kandinsky’s vision of a new, spiritually-oriented art. Together, they explored vibrant colors, dynamic compositions, and abstract forms to express inner emotions and subjective experiences.
Kandinsky’s impact extended beyond the Blue Rider movement. He taught at the influential Bauhaus school from 1922 to 1933, first in Weimar and later in Dessau, where he further developed his theories on abstract art and taught aspiring artists. Kandinsky’s presence at the Bauhaus influenced the next generation of German artists, including Paul Klee and Josef Albers, who embraced abstract principles in their work and carried on his legacy.
However, Kandinsky’s time in Germany was cut short by the rise of the Nazi regime. In 1933, the Bauhaus was forced to close, and Kandinsky, along with many other avant-garde artists, faced persecution and suppression. As a result, he left Germany and eventually settled in France, where he continued to produce innovative and influential works until his death in 1944.
Wassily Kandinsky’s presence in Germany left an indelible mark on the country’s art history. His pioneering exploration of abstraction, his theoretical writings, and his role in founding the Blue Rider movement helped shape the trajectory of German expressionism and paved the way for the development of abstract art in the 20th century. His influence can still be felt in contemporary art, and his contributions to the German art scene remain highly regarded to this day.