Impressions, Improvisations, Compositions

The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) – who, at age 30, famously gave up a professorship in law in order to become an artist – is regarded a pioneer of abstract art. His works constitute “a true landmark in the history of painting, for the forms, the colored shapes, have no equivalents in the world of appearances at all. Moreover, there is no perspective and thus no spatial relationships as we normally apprehend them: the colored shapes float and gyrate in a continuously expanding and contracting space unknown to our conscious selves but akin to that of dreams.” [Hugh Honour and John Fleming in A World History of Art (1980s, 2005, 2009)]

Wassily Kandinsky, Wikipedia [Public Domain]
In his book of art theory Concerning the Spiritual in Art (published in 1912), Kandinsky defined three types of paintings:

(1). Impressions – A direct impression of outward nature, expressed in purely artistic form.

(2) Improvisations – A largely unconscious, spontaneous expression of inner character, the non-material nature.

(3) Compositions – An expression of a slowly formed inner feeling, which comes to utterance only after long maturing. In this, reason, consciousness, purpose, play an overwhelming part. But of the calculation nothing appears, only the feeling.


A Composition – VII (1913), Wikipedia



An Improvisation – No. 26 (1912), Wikipedia



An Impression – Munich-Schwabing with the Church of St. Ursula (1908), Wikipedia


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