Art: Music on Canvas

When Wassily Kandinsky died in Paris seven years ago, his passing was little noted. Yet no one, not even Matisse or Picasso, has had a greater influence on modern art. This week Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art is honoring Kandinsky's memory with a big, retrospective show of his works, drawn partly from Manhattan's Museum of Non-Objective Painting and partly from his widow's Paris collection.

Spring Showers. The exhibition looks like a historical survey of abstract painting. Kandinsky, whose basic idea was that painting, like music and mathematics, can be purely abstract, sowed the seeds...

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