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(Isayevich)

(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).

Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...

Article

[Klutsis, Gustav (Gustavovich)]

(b Rŭjiena, Latvia, Jan 4, 1895; d Siberia, 1944).

Latvian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, designer and teacher, active in Russia. He was an important exponent of Russian Constructivism. He studied in Riga and Petrograd (now St Petersburg), but in the 1917 October Revolution joined the Latvian Rifle Regiment to defend the Bolshevik government; his sketches of Lenin and his fellow soldiers show Cubist influence. In 1918 he designed posters and decorations for the May Day celebrations and he entered the Free Art Studios (Svomas) in Moscow, where he studied with Malevich and Antoine Pevsner. Dynamic City (1919; Athens, George Costakis priv. col., see Rudenstine, no. 339) illustrates his adoption of the Suprematist style. In 1920 Klucis exhibited with Pevsner and Naum Gabo on Tver’skoy Boulevard in Moscow; in the same year Klucis joined the Communist Party. In 1920–21 he started experimenting with materials, making constructions from wood and paper that combined the geometry of Suprematism with a more Constructivist concern with actual volumes in space. In ...

Article

Christina Lodder

(Vasil’yevich)

(b Bol’shiye Gorky, province of Vladimir, 1873; d Moscow, 1943).

Russian painter and sculptor. He studied in Kiev and Warsaw in the 1890s and then in Moscow, and initially painted in a Symbolist style (e.g. Portrait of the Artist’s Wife (Consumption), 1910; Athens, George Costakis priv. col., see Rudenstine, p. 141). In 1907 he met Malevich and later joined the Union of Youth group, contributing to their final exhibition in St Petersburg during the winter of 1913–14. At this time Klyun began producing sculptures and reliefs using stylistic devices from Cubism and Futurism. The most dynamic and abstract of these is Rapidly Passing Landscape (1915; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), constructed from painted wood, wire, metal and porcelain. Klyun was in close contact with Malevich from 1913 and signed Malevich’s Suprematist manifesto of December 1915. Klyun later produced Suprematist works, including a series of small paintings (untitled) depicting single geometric forms in various colours on white grounds (c. 1917; Athens, George Costakis priv. col., see Rudenstine, p. 147). In ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Moscow, Jan 26, 1898; d Łódź, Feb 21, 1951).

Polish sculptor of Latvian origin. She studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Drawing, the second Free Workshops (Svomas), Moscow, 1917–20. In 1920 she moved to Smolensk, and in 1921 she married Władysław Strzemiński. In 1920–22 she was associated with the Vitebsk-based group Unovis. She lived in Poland from 1924, and she belonged to all the Polish Constructivist groups in succession: Block, Praesens, a.r., as well as to the international group Abstraction–Création. All works cited in this article are in the Museum of Art, Łódź. Her earliest pieces are Cubist nude studies. Hanging Constructions (1921–2) are Suprematist kinetic forms suspended in space, called ‘aerostats’, in which tensions in the materials provide movement and vibration. Abstract Sculptures (c. 1924) are multi-element vertical compositions, flat forms with flowing contours and composed in space defined by the cylinder of the base. The series of Spatial Compositions and ...

Article

[Alexander] (Mikhaylovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 23, 1891; d Moscow, Dec 3, 1956).

Russian painter, sculptor, designer and photographer. He was a central exponent of Russian Constructivism, owing much to the pre-Revolutionary work of Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, and he was closely involved in the cultural debates and experiments that followed the Revolution of 1917. In 1921 he denounced, on ideological grounds, easel painting and fine art, and he became an exponent of Productivism (see Constructivism, §1) in many fields, including poster design, furniture, photography and film. He resumed painting in his later years. His work was characterized by the systematic way in which from 1916 he sought to reject the conventional roles of self-expression, personal handling of the medium and tasteful or aesthetic predilections. His early nihilism and condemnation of the concept of art make it problematic even to refer to Rodchenko as an artist: in this respect his development was comparable to that of Dada, although it also had roots in the anarchic activities of Russian Futurist groups....