1866, Moscow – 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine
In 1896 the Russian-born painter, printmaker and art theorist decided to become an artist and moved to Munich to study painting. There he emerged as a leading figure of avant-garde art and founded various artists’ associations. In 1911, together with Franz Marc, he formed the group “Der Blaue Reiter” (Blue Rider), published the Blaue Reiter Almanac and organized an exhibition under the same name. His oeuvre spanned several phases of modern art, shifting from Jugendstil and folk art to Impressionism and Expressionism, then to abstract painting. His treatises Concerning the spiritual in art (1912) and the Bauhaus publication Point and line to plane (1926) became seminal theoretical texts on the subject of abstract painting. Following a period of intense artistic and political activity in Moscow from 1914 to 1921, he taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin from 1922 to 1933. In 1924, together with Feininger, Jawlensky and Klee, he formed the group “Die Blaue Vier” (The Blue Four). In 1933, following the closure of the Bauhaus by the Nazis, he emigrated to France, acquiring French citizenship in 1939. In Paris he abandoned the severe, abstractly geometric, rational style of his Bauhaus phase and returned to working with more playful, lyrical forms.