Slovene Anton Ažbe Was the First Mentor of Wassily Kandinsky

The Slovene Anton Ažbe (1862–1905) was the first mentor of the Great Russian painter and pioneer of abstract modern art Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944). He was an excellent teacher and a painter impressionist who developed his own teaching system (known as the “Ball Principle”).

He received the basics of art education in Ljubljana taught by Janez Wolf, one of the leading Slovenian painters of the second half of the 19th century. In the autumn 1882, he went to study at the Vienna Academy of Arts, and in 1884 moved to Munich, where he attended the lessons of ancient art at the Academy of Fine Arts, and then at the Ludwig von Löfftz Art School. Besides Wassily Kandinsky, Anton Ažbe had such students as Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Igor Grabar and David Burliuk.

It is interesting that the exhibition of impressionism works held in Moscow in 1895 prompted the Russian painter to devote himself to art.

Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow. He had his first lessons of fine art in his youth in Odessa, where his family lived for several years. In 1896, Kandinsky left Moscow for Munich, which was then considered one of the European art centres. In Munich, he entered a prestigious private school headed by Anton Ažbe, where he mastered his first skills in creating a composition, working with lines and forms, in depicting peculiarities of the human body anatomy and preparing sketches of nature. The idiom of the future world-famous painter started developing exactly in this school owned by the Slovenian artist.