1866-1944 Russian painter and musician.
Of all the 20th Century Painters he is considered one of the pioneers of abstract art. He spent his childhood in Italy, and his early work was carried out in Paris where he was influenced by Fauvism.
Originally he studied Law and social studies. Then, in 1895, he saw a show of French Impressionist paintings and was very taken by them. He left Russia to pursue his career in art.
In 1909, he became a founding member of Neue Künstlervereinigung which was related to Fauvism.
In 1912, he was a co-founder of the Blaue Reiter group which was a group associated with German Expressionism and Orphism.
In Russia (1914--21) he founded the Russian Academy and became head of the Museum of Modern Art. During this period, he was in contact with the Russian avant-garde, such as Kasimir Malevich. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he increasingly found his abstract style unpopular.
In 1922 he was offered a job teaching at the Bauhaus in Germany. Eventually he became the director of the entire school. There he met, and became friends with Walter Gropius, Josef Albers, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee.
After he left Germany and the Nazis took over, they displayed some of his work in the infamous Entartete Kunst
as an example of "decadent" art.
He moved to Paris in 1933, and became a naturalized French citizen in 1939. He had a great influence on young European artists.
He had work shown in the Armory Show 1913 in New York.
His work is held by museums all over the world, including:
Kostelanetz, Richard, "Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes", Schirmer Books, New York, 2000
Whitford, Frank, "Bauhaus", Thames and Hudson, London, 1984
Last Updated 12.30.03