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Impression 3 (Kandinsky, Wassily)

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dare use the expression that Wagner had painted <my hour> in music. But it was quite clear to me that on the other hand painting could develop the same sort of powers that music possesses.» [17]

A key experience for the synaesthetically inclined Kandinksy was contact with the music of the composer Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951). With Franz Marc, Alexei Javelensky, Marianne von Werefkin and Gabriele Münther and other members of the <Neue Künstlervereinigung> he attended one of Schönberg's concerts in Munich on 2 January 1911. The programme included a string quartet that introduced Schönberg's atonal period and the opus 11 piano pieces. This concert gave Kandinsky an important boost on his way to abstraction. His 1911 painting «Impression 3» was created as a result of this musical input. [18]

Abandoning perspective and also detaching colour from the objective motif took Kandinsky straight into abstraction. Even though he had taken the first steps in this direction in 1908/09, he had needed the crucial musical experience to help him risk the decisive step. Just as Schönberg had liberated himself from the constraints of the rules of musical composition,


Kandinsky was trying to extricate himself from the dictates of imitating nature. Thus the end of central perspective in painting coincided with the loss of a binding key system in music. Composer and painter met at a turning-point. Kandinsky immediately tried to get in touch with Schönberg personally, who also painted, and made him a member of the «Blauer Reiter». In his first letter to Schönberg, he wrote: «You have realized something in your works that I was longing for in music, admittedly in an uncertain form. The natural movement through their own fate, the personal life in the individual voices in our composition in precisely what I am trying to find in the form of painting.» [19]

Unlike Kandinsky, who was decisively inspired towards atonal music by Schönberg, for the French painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) simultaneity and hence temporal perception shifted into the centre of his artistic output. He used the rules of simultaneous contrast to create vibrations in the eye. Time became a new category within artistic creativity, taking over from the meaning of space with a central perspective to a certain extent. Rhythm created a particular affinity between art and music. Delaunay's pictorial

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