Tag Archives: December 13

Wassily Kandinsky Dies

kandinskyOn December 13, 1944, famous Russian painter and theorist, Wassily Kandinsky died. He is known for painting the first purely abstract pieces of art.

Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866 and had a close personal experience with art from a young age. With the perception that “each color lives by its mysterious life,” Kandinsky’s childhood artwork utilized very specific color combinations. Even though his inclinations toward making art were strong, stating that he felt as though drawing and painting lifted him out of reality, he pursued his parents’ wishes for him to attend law school. He married his first wife in 1892 and began working at the Moscow Faculty of Law, managing an art-printing works on the side.

Two events led to Kandinsky quitting his law work and turning his full attention toward creating art – seeing a French Impressionists exhibition, including Claude Monet‘s Haystacks, in Moscow and hearing Richard Wagner‘s Lohengrin at the Bolshoi Theatre. The powerful sense of color in Monet’s work and the way Wagner pushed the limits of music and melody beyond standard lyricism inspired Kandinsky to move to Munich to pursue studying and making art full-time.

He was accepted into a prestigious private painting school and went on to study at the Munich Academy of Arts. Though he was in school, his artistic studies were mostly self-taught, and during this time he started to become known as an art theorist as well as a painter. At first, his art was more conventional, but his spiritual studies and the connection he made between music and color triggered the art theories he became known for and displayed in his works. By the beginning of the 20th century, Kandinsky became known as the father of abstract art.

Harnessing his physiological gift of synaesthesia cognate which allowed him to hear color and see sound, Kandinsky began to use color as an expression of emotion rather than just a physical attribute of an object. He befriended several other artists of the time and often showed his work in exhibitions while also publishing his artistic theories and ideas.

In the early 1900s, he divorced his first wife and met art student Gabriele Münter with whom he traveled extensively. He also formed a group of artists that was fundamental to Expressionism called The Blue Rider with fellow artist Franz Marc. The group held two important exhibitions in 1911 and 1912. After returning to Russia and teaching art, he was influenced by the constructivist movement and began using more geometrical forms and hard lines in his work. He met and married Nina Andreevskaya and had a child with her, who only lived until the age of 3. Devastated by his son’s death, Kandinsky began to focus his restless energy on the reformation of art and government-run programs in Russia and helped establish Moscow’s Institute of Artistic Culture and Museum of Pictorial Culture. Kandinsky’s spiritual and artistic position was denounced and eventually his Soviet citizenship was revoked. He fled Russia in 1921 and joined the Bauhuas Movement in Weimer, Germany. Kandinsky was invited to teach at the Bauhaus, which was an innovative school of art and architecture. He taught classes on design, advanced color theory, and abstract painting and wrote plays and poems.

The Nazis shut down the Bauhaus in 1933 and many of Kandinsky’s works were confiscated after an exhibition. He fled to a small suburb of Paris called Neuilly-sur-Seine, but lived the rest of his life in seclusion, suffering from depression because his art was no longer selling well. Though Kandinsky didn’t think highly of himself, he was still known for being a controversial artist and theorist, and he became internationally known for his exhibitions, which he continued to do until his death. He gained an important fan in Solomon Guggenheim, a U.S. businessman and art collector, who began collecting Kandinsky’s works and later started his own foundation and museum which still holds art from some of the most important expressionist and surrealist painters of the 20th century.

Most of the work Kandinsky produced while he was in Russia did not survive, although most of his German works are still in existence. Kandinsky’s paintings are known for fetching a high price when they are put up to auction with most selling for over $20 million.

Kandinsky died on December 13, 1944 after suffering from cerebrovascular disease at his studio in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography.com, IMDB


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National Cocoa Day

Heiße SchokoladeHappy National Cocoa Day!

We’re not sure if  December 13 celebrates cocoa beans or hot cocoa (or the cocoa powder used to make hot cocoa and other chocolaty treats). Considering that we’re in the midst of December and the holiday season, we’re going to assume National Cocoa Day is a day to celebrate hot cocoa. There’s no better time of year to cozy up by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa.

Did You Know…that chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can be good for your health? Cocoa contains flavanol antioxidants that improve cardiovascular health and may reduce your risk of heart disease and several types of cancer by protecting your body from damage caused by free radicals.

To reap the health benefits of your hot cocoa, skip the processed hot cocoa, which contains high amounts of fat and sugar, canceling out the health benefits of the chocolate.  Instead, make your own hot cocoa using unsweetened cocoa powder (more recipes below). Click here to learn the health benefits of cocoa powder.

Hot Chocolate (plus tips and variations)
“Perfectly Chocolate” Hot Cocoa (plus sugar-free version)
Hot Cocoa (plus variations)
More Hot Cocoa Recipes, Hot Cocoa Mix Recipes  and Tips!

Sources: punchbowl.com, livestrong.com, thehersheycompany.com, webmd.com Photo Source: Itisdacurlz, CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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