The German artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is considered to be the first entirely abstract artist. Prior to World War II Kandinsky was part of the Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter and later he taught at the Bauhaus. His Improvisations are a series of paintings which consist of brightly colored abstract shapes which allude to the impact of the moving quality of music on his life. Kandinsky's main interest was creating expressist art with the pure elements: color and shape. In "Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art" Kandinsky writes about the influence of science in his art: "A scientific event removed one of the most important obstacles from my path. This was the further collapse of the atom". This discovery helped him to question his preconceived ideas about the world and his art
Piet Mondrian was a member of the Dutch movement, De Stijl (The Style). Mondrian reduced painting to into "mathematical simplicity" which his Compositions reflect. In this series Mondrian divided the canvas into squares and rectangles by vertical and horizontal lines which he filled with color to balance and add dynamism to the works.
Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) was a Constructivist who reduced art to primordial shape and often used transparency to convey his ideas. Malevich was the inventor of Suprematism, which is pure geometric abstraction; solidly colored shape on neutral ground. In 1918 Malevich created the painting "White on White " which was the culmination of reduction. A single white square was painted on a white background which displayed the simplification of the visual elements .
Naum Gabo (1890- 1977) was influential as an artist in the Constructivist movement. Gabo used the placement of planes to imply volume to the viewer. Gabo's sculptures were more concerned with space than mass which is appearent in his piece Two Cubes. This piece presents with "visual clarity the inner core and the path of its own construction" in the Stereometric Method. His intent was "conceptual penetration of form". Gabo also created kinetic mobile sculptures to produce virtual volume.
"Kandinsky: Complete Writimgs on Art," (Edited) Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, Published by Da Capo Press, NY 364 (1994)
"Making Theory /Constructing Art. On the authority of the Avant-Garde," Daniel Herwitz, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 42-43