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Article

(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

Mikhail F. Kiselyov

(Vasil’yevich)

(b Valayka Station, Novgorod Province [now Lykoshino, Tver’ region], 1878; d en route from Germany to Paris, Feb 22, 1936).

Russian graphic artist, ceramicist, painter and designer. In 1896 he studied at the School of Drawing at the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and in 1897 at Maria Tenisheva’s art school in St Petersburg, where he worked under Il’ya Repin until 1900. In 1904 he worked in the pottery studio at the Abramtsevo colony. At this period he employed Art Nouveau elements in his work, as in the majolica decorations for the Hotel Metropole, St Petersburg (early 1900s) and the majolica panel St George Triumphant for the Municipal Primary School on Bol’shaya Tsaritsynskaya [now Bol’shaya Pirogovskaya] Street in Moscow (1909). He took up book illustration in 1904 and his graphic talent flourished in the 1910s. His work for Apollon was particularly successful, his illustrations first appearing in its pages in 1911. Chekhonin soon became an original and skilful artist, using a sharp and elastic line interspersed with dots. From ...

Article

Anthony Parton

[Rus. Bubnovy Valet]

Group of Russian avant-garde painters active in Moscow from 1910 to 1917. It was founded by Mikhail Larionov, Natal’ya Goncharova, Aristarkh Lentulov, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Robert Fal’k, Il’ya Mashkov and Aleksandr Kuprin, young artists who found membership of existing art societies no longer compatible with their experimental styles of painting. Regular participants included Alexandra Exter, David Burlyuk and Vladimir Burlyuk. The name ‘Jack of Diamonds’, chosen by Larionov, suggested not only the roguish behaviour of the avant-garde but also their love of popular graphic art forms such as old printed playing cards.

The group’s first exhibition took place in Moscow in 1910, and, following the example of the exhibitions sponsored by the magazine Golden Fleece, they invited contributions from foreign artists such as Albert Gleizes, Albert Le Fauconnier and members of the ‘Neue Künstlervereinigung München’, including Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter and Alexei Jawlenski. In this first exhibition the influence of the ...

Article

Laima Laučkaitė

(b Sejny (now Poland), Nov 14, 1890; d Vilnius, June 13, 1961).

Lithuanian painter, art theoretician, and teacher. He studied at the Vilnius School of Drawing (1910–2), Moscow Drawing School of Konstantin Yuon (1912–6, simultaneously studied law at Moscow University), and Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1917–8). During the World War I he was drafted into the army. In 1918–19 he worked in the Art Department of People’s Education in the Voronezh district, and in 1920 he was an artist and advisor on art at the Fifth Red Army headquarters in Irkutsk. In 1920–21 he studied in Vkhutemas (Higher Art and Technical Studios) in Moscow under Pavel Kuznetsov, where he joined the Russian avant-garde movement, working in Constructivism, Cubism, and Suprematism. In 1921–32 he lived in Vilnius (then belonging to Poland) and taught drawing in Lithuanian schools and his own studio (1921–8). He organized the Exhibition of New Art in Vilnius in 1923...

Article

Adam M. Thomas

(b Minden, Jan 15, 1902; d Austin, TX, Dec 8, 1985).

American painter of German birth. Kelpe moved to Hannover to study art and architecture in 1919. In the early 1920s he was exposed to the leading abstract trends in European modernism, including Suprematism and Constructivism. Kelpe developed an abstract painting vocabulary characterized by geometric order, hard edges, overlapping planes, and interpenetrating shapes before immigrating to the United States in 1925. He eventually settled in Chicago, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Little Gallery. In the late 1920s Kelpe applied found objects to his paintings, as exemplified by Construction with Lock and Key (1927; Washington, DC, Hirshhorn). He abandoned such constructions by the early 1930s in favor of integrating in paint recognizable gears, wheels and machine parts into his abstract compositions. Machine Elements (1934; Newark, NJ, Mus.), with its stacked semi-abstract machine and factory forms, is representative of his work during the period. Kelpe worked for the Public Works of Art Project in ...

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

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Troels Andersen

(Severinovich)

(b Kiev, Feb 26, 1878; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 15, 1935).

Russian painter, printmaker, decorative artist and writer of Ukranian birth. One of the pioneers of abstract art, Malevich was a central figure in a succession of avant-garde movements during the period of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and immediately after. The style of severe geometric abstraction with which he is most closely associated, Suprematism (see fig.), was a leading force in the development of Constructivism, the repercussions of which continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. His work was suppressed in Soviet Russia in the 1930s and remained little known during the following two decades. The reassessment of his reputation in the West from the mid-1950s was matched by the renewed influence of his work on the paintings of Ad Reinhardt and on developments such as Zero, Hard-edge painting and Minimalism.

Article

Christina Lodder

(Sergeyevna)

(b Ivanovskoye, nr Moscow, April 24, 1889; d Moscow, May 25, 1924).

Russian painter and designer. She was born into a wealthy family and trained as a teacher before beginning her artistic studies with Stanislav Zhukovsky (1873–1944) and Konstantin Yuon. Their influence, particularly through their interest in luminous tonalities reminiscent of Impressionism, can be seen in early works by Popova such as Still-life with Basket of Fruit (1907–8; Athens, George Costakis Col.; see Rudenstine, pl. 725). Popova travelled extensively: in Kiev (1909) she was very impressed by the religious works of Mikhail Vrubel’; in Italy (1910) she admired Renaissance art, especially the paintings of Giotto. Between 1910 and 1911 she toured many parts of Russia, including Suzdal’, Novgorod, Yaroslavl’ and Pskov. Inspired by Russian architecture, frescoes and icons, she developed a less naturalistic approach. A more crucial influence was the first-hand knowledge of Cubism that she gained in Paris, which she visited with Nadezhda Udal’tsova during the winter of ...

Article

Christina Lodder

[Puni, Ivan (Al’bertovich)]

(b Kouokkala, Finland [now Repino, St Petersburg Region, Russia], Feb 22, 1892; d Paris, Dec 28, 1956).

Russian painter, illustrator and designer, active in France. He was educated at the gymnasium and then at the military academy in St Petersburg. Between 1909 and 1912 he visited Italy and France. In Paris he studied at the Académie Julian and stayed with his compatriot, the artist Yury Annenkov. He became friendly with Osip Zadkine and other Russian artists and began to experiment with Fauvism and early Cubism. Very few paintings remain from this period, although Walk in the Sun (1912; Zurich, M. et Mme Berninger priv. col., see Berninger and Cartier, vol. i, p. 31), painted after he returned to Russia, indicates an interest in expressive colour, surface texture and perspectival distortions.

On his return to St Petersburg, Pougny was introduced by Nikolay Kul’bin into avant-garde circles, and he exhibited with the Union of Youth group in the winters of 1911–12 and 1913–14. Breaking with them in January 1914...

Article

Myroslava M. Mudrak

(Mykolayovych)

(b Kholm, Sept 15, 1897; d Moscow, Feb 18, 1956).

Ukrainian painter and theorist. He was apprenticed in the workshop for icon-painting in Kiev (1910–14). In 1913 he studied with Fyodor Rerberg (1865–1938) in Moscow and in 1914–18 attended the School for the Advancement of Art in Petrograd (now St Petersburg). Returning to Kiev in 1918, he studied at the Ukrainian Academy of Art and Alexandra Exter’s decorative arts workshop, and he took part in designing revolutionary street decorations. In Zrachki solntsa he gave an eyewitness account of life in Kiev during the years after the fall of the Russian empire. He spent the 1920s and 1930s in Moscow and in Paris, where he was a member of the Parisian Group of Ukrainian Artists. In 1920–22 he studied in Moscow at Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops) under Vasily Kandinsky, and he developed a synthesis of Cubist, Suprematist and Constructivist tendencies. As a reaction to the depersonalized character of ...

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....

Article

Christina Lodder

(Vladimirovna)

(b Malenki, Vladimir province, 1886; d Moscow, Nov 8, 1918).

Russian painter. She trained at the Bol’shakov Art School and the Stroganov School of Applied Art in Moscow (1904–10). In 1911 she moved to St Petersburg where she became an active member of the Union of Youth group, exhibiting with them regularly (December 1911–14) and attending the Zvantseva School of Art (1912–13). In 1912 Rozanova began illustrating books of Futurist poetry written by Velimir Khlebnikov and her husband Aleksey Kruchonykh, including Igra v adu (‘A game in hell’, St Petersburg, 2/1913), Te li le (St Petersburg, 1914), Zaumnaya gniga (‘Transrational book’, Petrograd, 1915), Voina (‘War’, Petrograd, 1916) and Vselenskaya voina (‘Universal war’, Petrograd, 1916). Rozanova also wrote zaum or transrational Futurist verse (sound poetry). In 1913 she published her major statement on art, Osnovy novogo tvorchestva i prichiny ego neponimaniya. Having experimented with Cubism and Futurism in paintings such as ...

Article

John Milner

[Rus.: Suprematizm]

Term coined in 1915 by Kazimir Malevich for a new system of art, explained in his booklet Ot kubizma i futurizma k suprematizmu: Novyy zhivopisnyy realizm (‘From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: the new realism in painting’). The term itself implied the supremacy of this new art in relation to the past. Malevich saw it as purely aesthetic and concerned only with form, free from any political or social meaning. He stressed the purity of shape, particularly of the square, and he regarded Suprematism as primarily an exploration of visual language comparable to contemporary developments in writing. Suprematist paintings were first displayed at the exhibition Poslednyaya futuristicheskaya vystavka kartin: 0.10 (‘The last Futurist exhibition of paintings: 0.10’) held in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in December 1915; they comprised geometric forms which appeared to float against a white background. While Suprematism began before the Revolution of 1917, its influence, and the influence of Malevich’s radical approach to art, was pervasive in the early Soviet period; ...