Our cover this month, Wassily Kandinsky’s “Fidel (Jolly)” (133/4 in. by 9 in.), sold for $572,063 at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London on June 21, 2016. The Russian-born artist is widely credited with creating one of the first truly abstract paintings.
Though Kandinsky recalls being fascinated with colors as a child, it wasn’t until age 30 that he abruptly abandoned his successful law career to become an artist. Kandinsky relocated to Munich, which was considered one of the centers of European art at the time, devoting himself to the study of art. He later founded his own school. Also a trained musician, Kandinsky claimed to hear colors and see music, a phenomenon known as “synaethesia.” He believed that this phenomenon led his art to become completely abstract; he strove to create a visual “language,” free from the distraction of recognizable objects. For this reason, his paintings focused primarily on color combinations rather than formal details.
Artists like Kandinsky embraced abstract art to encompass the changes in science and technology during the 20th century. Likewise, advisors should factor in recent scientific and technological advances (think digital communication methods, such as Facetime, and artificial reproductive techniques) when planning for and working with ultra-high-net-worth families and family offices or risk falling out of favor with NextGen clients. After all, time waits for no one.