Kandinsky. Odessa. Port

Fate led V. Kandinsky through the small and big cities of Europe. But in the cycle constant wanderings was the city where he spent his childhood and early youth, where he inevitably returned. This is Odessa.

The life and work of Vassily Vassilyevich Kandinsky (1866-1944), one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, filled with constant inner spiritual movement. Many external factors were subordinated to the dynamics of spiritual energy his biography.

In his creative experiments and theoretical works, he persistently and after dearly, step by step, he moved to comprehend the laws of abstract art, and nevertheless, in certain periods of creativity, as it were, he looked back. Then innovative forms and content were replaced by more traditional solutions.

The artist’s life over the course of forty years was to one degree or another associated Odessa. Here he studied at the gymnasium (1876-1885) The first of the extant works masters – “Odessa port” created in Odessa. For the first time, he also exhibited his works in Odessa at the exhibition of the Society of South Russian Artists. He was a member of this Society for many years.

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky

For 14 years, Kandinsky regularly exhibited his works at exhibitions of the Association and other art societies, and showed in Odessa 200 works from the most intense and fruitful period of his creativity. In 1911 at the exhibition Izdebsky’s Salon Kandinsky exhibited 54 works (painting and graphics). In fact, it was the first solo exhibition artist in Russia.

If there was an opportunity to see all these works side by side, there would be would be an amazing picture of the complex transformation of various styles, to whom V. Kandinsky paid tribute at the beginning of his career. It is symbolic that on the last exhibition in Odessa, in which the artist took part Spring “exhibition 1914), the UN Composition was shown, which is one of the peaks of the master’s work. In Odessa V. Kandinsky published three theoretical articles “Where is the ‘new art’ heading ” (1911), “Content and form” (1911), “The understanding of art” (1914).

One of the earliest works by Kandinsky is “Odessa. Port “(1898) is now kept in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and the pride of the Odessa Fine Art Museum are several of the artist’s early landscapes.

“Odessa. Port “- an early, almost impressionistic painting by Vassily Kandinsky. It was painted just three years after Kandinsky saw Claude Monet’s “Haystacks” at an exhibition of French Impressionists, a painting that literally turned his whole life upside down.

This Odessa landscape is still infinitely far from that Kandinsky, which is familiar to everyone. Another 13 years will pass before the appearance of the first abstract canvas of the artist. But the painting “Odessa. Port “, like other early works of the artist, already outlines his movement towards the pointless. In the best traditions of the work of the Impressionists, visible objects are still quite distinguishable here, but the accuracy of their reproduction on canvas is not as important as the transfer of light effects.

Now, on one of the buildings on Deribasovskaya Street, where Kandinsky lived, you can find a memorial plaque with a bust of the artist.

Portrait of Wassiliy Kandinsky as a child by Jean Xavier Raoult, 1871
Bibliotheque Kandinsky, MNAM/CCI, Centre Pompidou