Kandinsky was born in Moscow. His father was a successful tea merchant who encouraged his son to study law and economics.
The young man married his cousin Anna Chimyakina and took a position at the Moscow Faculty of Law.
At the age of 30, Kandinsky gave up his career aspirations and moved to Munich to study art. His wife became increasingly unsatisfied with the Bohemian way of life.
Kandinsky became acquainted and began a lengthy romantic relationship with Gabriele Münter. The pair lived together for several years, but never married.
Kandinsky painted Der Blaue Reiter, which would later be the inspiration for an artistic movement by the same name.
The young man spent a great deal of time traveling across Europe during the early years of the 20th century. He associated with a group of Russian symbolists known as Blue Rose and experimented with various styles – pointillism, fauvism, etc.
Kandinsky settled in the Bavarian town of Murnau. We see him begin to lean toward more abstract forms with the painting, Der blaue Berg.
Kandinsky helped to found and became president of the Munich New Artists’ Association.
The artist wrote a treatise titled, On the Spiritual in Art. He also participated in the Allied Artists’s Exhibition at Royal Albert Hall in London. His paintings were well received by the public and praised by The Art News.
Kandinsky’s ideas were too radical for the other members of the Munich New Artists’ Association, so the group disbanded. He created a new group, Der Blaue Reiter, with Franz Marc and published two artistic manifestos: The Blue Rider Almanac and On the Spiritual in Art. Kandinsky officially divorced his first wife.
Kandinsky exhibited The Garden of Love at the Armory Show in New York, where it was immediately purchased by Alfred Stieglitz for his personal collection.
At the outbreak of WWI, Kandinsky returned to Russia.
He married Nina Andreievskaya. The couple had one son, Vsevolod in the same year, but the child died in 1920 of malnourishment and infectious disease.
Kandinsky became very involved in arts education and reform. He painted very little during this period. He organized 22 museums and served as the Commissariat of Popular Culture. He became a professor at the University of Moscow and founded the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Unhappy with Soviet attitudes toward art, Kandinsky moved back to Germany. He accepted a position at the Bauhaus in Weimar.
Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky formed a group called Die Blaue Vier, which exhibited in the US the following year.
The Bauhaus moved to Dessau and Kandinsky went with it.
Kandinsky published his teaching principles in Point and Line to Plane.
Kandinsky became a German citizen.
The artist had his first one-man show in Paris. He also traveled to Belgium and the French Rivera.
The Bauhaus was forced to move to Berlin.
The Bauhaus dissolved and Kandinsky moved to Paris.
Kandinsky painted his last two major compositions, Composition IX and Composition X. He was featured in the Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich in 1937 and at least 57 of his works were seized by the Nazis.
The artist became a French citizen.
Kandinsky died of cerebrovascular disease in Neuilly-sur-Seine, survived only by his widow, Nina Andreiev.