Wassily Kandinsky, born on December 16, 1866, in Moscow, was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is generally credited as one of the pioneers of abstraction in western art. Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odesa, where he graduated from Odesa Art School. He later enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. After a successful career in law, he began painting studies at the age of 30. In 1896, Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe’s private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Following the Russian Revolution, Kandinsky helped establish the Museum of the Culture of Painting. However, by then, his spiritual outlook was foreign to the argumentative materialism of Soviet society, and opportunities beckoned in Germany, to which he returned in 1920. There he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.

In terms of cultural impact, Kandinsky’s work is often cited as being an important influence on later abstract artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. He led an artistic movement and community in Munich called The Blue Riders, who worked with another German expressionist group The Bridge. They believed blue was the most spiritual color. His profound impact on the art world cannot be overstated. As a pioneer of abstract art and a visionary theorist, he pushed the boundaries of artistic expression and transformed the way we perceive and understand visual art.