Today is the anniversary of the death in 1944 of artist Wassily Kandinsky. There is a short biography and overview here. We have a print of Small Pleasures, pictured above, still rolled up in its mailing tube waiting for us to get it framed for our dining room wall. I had never been particularly attracted to this style before I saw this, and I was struck by it. It served as a beginning of true appreciation for more modern and avant-garde works.
From the author's introduction to Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art:
Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated. Efforts to revive the art-principles of the past will at best produce an art that is still-born.
Sympathy is the education of the spectator from the point of view of the artist. It has been said above that art is the child of its age. Such an art can only create an artistic feeling which is already clearly felt. This art, which has no power for the future, which is only a child of the age and cannot become a mother of the future, is a barren art. She is transitory and to all intent dies the moment the atmosphere alters which nourished her.
The other art, that which is capable of educating further, springs equally from contemporary feeling, but is at the same time not only echo and mirror of it, but also has a deep and powerful prophetic strength.
The spiritual life, to which art belongs and of which she is one of the mightiest elements, is a complicated but definite and easily definable movement forwards and upwards. This movement is the movement of experience. It may take different forms, but it holds at bottom to the same inner thought and purpose.