Wassily Kandinsky assured his reputation as a central figure in the development of modern art through his pioneering abstract work in Munich prior to World War I. In 1911 he and fellow artist Franz Marc formed the German Expressionist association Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). The following year, Kandinsky published Concerning the Spiritual in Art, a seminal text in the history of art. From 1910 to 1914, Kandinsky painted a series of highly abstracted works called Impressions, Improvisations, and Compositions, terms he appropriated from music. These paintings are imbued with a turbulent, apocalyptic quality and contain veiled references to torrential floods, spear-wielding knights on horseback, and other evocative subjects. Kandinsky defined the Improvisations as paintings produced out of a sudden and unconscious inner impulse. The quivering brushstrokes, fluid lines, and saturated hues in Untitled Improvisation III combine to create the sort of work that Kandinsky believed would move the soul, like an inspiring piece of music. He fervently sought to reach viewers on a spiritual level and thereby combat the materialist forces that he felt imperiled modern society. Untitled Improvisation III was formerly owned by the artist Gabriele Munter and then by Hans Hofmann, the Abstract Expressionist painter who brought the work with him when he emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1931.More...
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