ON-Lion Letter

From June through September, the Milwaukee Art Museum's (MAM's) Kandinsky:  A Retrospective explores the artistic evolution of Wassily Kandinsky, a master of modern art.  An amazing collection of paintings and other works from the Centre Pompidou in Paris traces the development of this extraordinary and inventive artist, from his early figurative works to his most modern pieces.  Alive with color -- and rhythmic -- Kandinsky’s distinctive, abstract style made him one of the most-influential artists of the 20th Century.

The Centre Pompidou is one of the major repositories of Kandinsky’s work.  Its remarkable collection came from the artist’s widow, Nina, and is composed of the artist’s favorite works, which he kept for himself.  Curated from this rich trove, the retrospective features more than 100 paintings, drawings, and other works, representing every period of the artist’s four-decade career.

Another highlight of the exhibition is a mural that Kandinsky designed during his Bauhaus years -- a piece that is being presented in the United States for the first time at MAM, which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Chronological in its presentation, the exhibition opens in the early 1900s, with the landscapes and figurative works that Kandinsky created in Munich, one of the avant-garde capitals of Europe.  When war was declared in 1914, Kandinsky felt obligated to return to Russia and was appointed to various prestigious posts, including the People’s Commissariat for Education.  

In 1922, Kandinsky was invited to teach at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, where he threw himself into an intensive period of artistic and theoretical production.  The rise of Nazism in 1933 led to the closure of the Bauhaus and abruptly ended this creative period.  He left for France.

In Paris, Kandinsky met the Surrealists and was producing works with organic shapes, inspired by photographs of cells and tissue.  He completed his final watercolor in 1944 and died soon afterwards in Paris at the age of 78.

Today, he is considered one of the most-important and -revolutionary artists of the 20th Century.

Tickets to MAM are purchasable online.

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