Wassily Kandinsky, one of the pioneers of the 20th century abstract paintings, was born in Moscow, Russia in 1866. He studied law and economics at the University of Moscow but decided to be a painter after he was shocked by one of Claud Monet’s paintings of Haystacks he saw in a French art exhibition. His early works were heavily influenced by Russian Symbolism and the Berlin Secession. In 1912, Kandinsky founded Blue Rider with Klee and other artists. Kandinsky taught at Bauhaus from 1922 to 1933 but defected to Paris to escape from Nazi persecution. He continued to explore diverse possibilities and potentials of abstract paintings until his last years.
A number of Kandinsky’s works from the Bauhaus period have a strained style combining geometric figurations such as horizontal, vertical, sloped lines, perfect circles, and triangles. Hard in Soft painted around the time when Bauhaus moved to Dessau has the pictorial composition distinctive to Kandinsky’s works of this period, where circles play a key role.