Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky (/kænˈdɪnski/; Russian: Васи́лий Васи́льевич Канди́нский, Vasiliy Vasil’yevich Kandinskiy, pronounced [vaˈsʲilʲɪj kɐnˈdʲinskʲɪj]; 16 December [O.S. 4 December] 1866 – 13 December 1944) was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa, where he graduated at Grekov Odessa Art school. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law) at the University of Dorpat—Kandinsky began painting studies (life-drawing, sketching and anatomy) at the age of 30.
In 1896 Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe's private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Kandinsky was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Communist Moscow, and returned to Germany in 1921. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944. His grandson is musicologist Aleksey Ivanovich Kandinsky.