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Vasily was born in Moscow and in his early life had a conventional career in law and company directing but underneath his corporate exterior there beat the heart of an artist (came of knowing the right transplant surgeons).
Aged 30, and no longer able to contain his enthusiasm for music, anthropology and all things arty, he underwent a life-changing experience when he came face-to-face with a Monet 'Haystack'. It was the last straw. Almost immediately Vasily chucked in his career and became a painter, going to live in Germany where he made brightly-coloured pictures inspired by music, fairy tales (and animal fodder).
In 1909 he had yet another 'significant moment' (he was a 'significant moments' sort of person) when he spotted a mysterious picture in his studio. He was transfixed by its wondrous colours and beguiling shapes. Puzzled, he examined it more closely then realised it was one of his <i>own</i> pictures (the chump). It had been leaning on its side and the enchanting transparent wash he'd found so mesmerising was created by the twilight that bathed the room. He immediately abandoned the idea of subject matter in painting and began to work in a wholly abstract manner for the next four years.
In 1910 he met Franz Marc and August Macke with whom he formed the Blue Rider School (after discovering a mutual interest in nude equestrianism). Vasily changed countries and partners several times, taught at the Bauhaus, had a one-man show in New York, and eventually ended up living in France where he whipped up public enthusiasm for the 1937 International Exhibition of Abstract Art, did a bit more painting and died.Copyright Michael Cox