Vasiliy Kandinskiy was born in Moscow into a merchant family in 1866. The family moved to Odessa in 1871, where his parents soon divorced. The boy was looked after by his aunt. In Odessa Kandinskiy studied in a classical gymnasium and had private lessons in music, drawing and painting. In 1886 he returned to Moscow to begin studying law and economics at the Moscow University. While a student, in 1889, he was commissioned by the "Society for Natural Science, Ethnography and Anthropology" to go with the research expedition to Vologda city. The strong folk art of northern Russia had the long lasting impression on him, and the results of his trip made an impression on the Society, which chose him their member.
Having completed the course, he unexpectedly refused a position at Derpt (Dorpat/Tartu) University, and left for Germany to study painting. Two artistic impressions prompted Kandinskiy to make this decision: the first was a visit to a peasant’s hut in the Volgograd province where he felt as if he had "entered" a painting, and the second - Monet's painting "Haystack." When he saw that it was "non-objective."
In 1896, Kandinskiy went to study in Munich at Aschbe’s school (1897-1898), and then to the Academy of Arts (1900). The Munich period of Kandinskiy’s creative work, which lasted up to 1914, produced small, basically Impressionist sketches from life that were intensely expressive and decorative in color, as well as works relating to fairytale and chivalrous subjects characteristic of Art Nouveau.
In the 1910s, he traveled extensively, and took a trip to Moscow.
While working in Murnau near Munich in 1908-1910, Kandinskiy discovered a new concept of space and color, and created a new genre structure of painting: "impressions," "improvisations" and "compositions."
In 1911, Kandinskiy created his first abstract composition, put out a book "Concerning the Spiritual in Art", and together with F.Marc created the "Blue Rider" ("Blaue Reiter") association. When World War I broke out, he returned to Moscow where, after the revolution, he occupied various positions, including that of teacher.
In 1921, he returned to Germany to work in Bauhaus.
After the closing of the Bauhaus by the Nazis in 1933, Kandinskiy moved to France and settle in Neuilly-sur-Seine, not far from Paris. There he wanted to find a temporary refuge, but it happened to become his constant and last house for the next ten years.
Living a little bit isolated from French artistic circles, Kandinskiy did not lose contacts with international art, his studio was visited by many artists and critics, who came to Paris. In 1936 he participated in the exhibition "Abstract and Concrete" (London), "Cubism and Abstract Art" (New York). After the exhibition of "Degenerative Art" in fascist Germany, 57 of his pieces in German museums were confiscated, many works of the painter were destroyed.
In 1939 Kandinskiy and his wife became French citizens. His late works (during the 10 years in France he created 144 oils, 250 watercolors and gouaches) are characterized by severe forms and somewhat mechanistic compositions. His last major work was the "Composition X."
Kandinskiy died on the 13th December in 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 78.