Kandinsky Retrospective to Open at the Frist Center in September

Kandinsky Retrospective to Open at the Frist Center in September

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Kandinsky: A Retrospective, an exhibition celebrating a lifetime of work by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) in the Center's Ingram Gallery from September 26, 2014-January 4, 2015. Chronicling four decades of artistic evolution-from early figurative works to exuberant experiments in abstraction and color-this exhibition invites visitors on an extraordinary stylistic journey of one of the most innovative modern art masters of the twentieth century.

Kandinsky: A Retrospective is drawn largely from the collection of the Centre Pompidou-Paris, and features more than 100 paintings, drawings and other works. A majority of these stunning works were part of the artist's personal collection and were given by the artist's widow, Nina. Additional paintings from the Milwaukee Art Museum, including works by Gabriele Mu?nter, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, further an appreciation of the artist in the context of his contemporaries.

Organized chronologically and spanning the artist's periods in Russia, Germany and France, the exhibition begins with paintings from the early 1900s including landscapes, painted folk tales and figurative works. "These works show how the young artist was influenced by major styles such as Art Nouveau, Impressionism, Symbolism, and Post-Impressionism," says Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala. In a period of experimentation and movement towards more symbolic work, Kandinsky and other like-minded artists founded Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider) in 1911, a group of artists based in Munich who emphasized the expression of extreme psychological conditions in their art. "Kandinsky made a radical move away from recognizable subject matter in the belief that painting's most important property was its capacity to dissolve the outside world and evoke inner conditions," says Mr. Scala.

Kandinsky felt that music has the capacity to induce spiritual feelings within listeners through its formal arrangement of melodic sounds, harmonies and rhythms. He believed that "painters could similarly 'orchestrate' the elements of art-color, form, and line-to trigger pure emotional experiences," says Mr. Scala. In the theoretical treatise Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky wrote that "color is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer, while the soul is a piano of many strings. The artist is the hand through which the medium of different keys causes the human soul to vibrate."