El Lissitzky (1890 – 1941) Russian artist and architect

New man, 1923 by El Lissitzky
New man, 1923 by El Lissitzky

Suprematism and De Stijl

El Lissitzky was a Russian-born designer and artist linked with various MODERNIST organisations, including Suprematism and DE STIJL.

Education

He studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt (The Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences) from 1909 to 1914 and Riga Polytechnic from 1915 to 1916.

Biography

Before returning to Russia in 1915 and becoming an enthusiastic supporter of the Revolution, Lissitzky studied at Darmstadt (under Josef OLBRICH) and met Henri VAN DE VELDE. In the early Soviet regime’s modernism, he became connected with Kasimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. He moved to Switzerland in 1924 but returned to Moscow in 1925 to work on various exhibition projects in a constructivist style. He had a significant impact on modern typography and graphic design.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”

El Lissitzky

After 1930, he focused solely on teaching. His transparent PLASTIC chair from 1930 is a stunning early example of the material. He taught at the Vitebsk Popular Art School, where he worked alongside artists such as Marc Chagall and Malevich. Lissitzky also participated in exhibitions and international events, promoting the ideas of the Russian avant-garde.

Announcer (Ansager) from Figurines by El Lissitzky
Announcer (Ansager) from Figurines by El Lissitzky

In the 1930s, Lissitzky’s career was severely impacted by the rise of Stalinism and the increasing control of the Soviet government over the arts. Many of his colleagues and fellow artists fell out of favour, and Lissitzky’s work was deemed unacceptable by the authorities. He faced censorship and struggled to find opportunities to create and exhibit his art.

Exhibitions

At the 1917 ‘V mire iskusstv’ (‘World of Art’) exhibition in Petrograd, he displayed his ornamental paintings titled The Leader and Jericho. He participated in various exhibitions in Russia and abroad, including the ‘Erste Russische Kunstausstellung,’ Berlin, in 1922.

The “Erste Russische Kunstausstellung” (First Russian Art Exhibition) took place in Berlin, Germany, in 1922. It was a significant event that showcased the works of Russian avant-garde artists who were at the forefront of artistic innovation during that time.

His work was exhibited in 1976 in Cologne, at Galerie Gmurzynska in Cologne, and in 1977 at the Oxford Museum of Modern Art.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Pile, J. F. (1990). Dictionary of 20th-century design. Facts on File.

More Russian Designers

  • Anna Alexandrovna Leporskaia (1900 – 1982), Russian decorative artist

    Anna Alexandrovna Leporskaia (1900 – 1982), Russian decorative artist

    She studied under A. Radakov at the Pskov School of Decorative Arts in 1918. From 1922, she studied under K. Petrov-Vodkin, A. Savivov, and V. Sinaiskii at the Petrograd Academy of Arts.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • El Lissitzky (1890 – 1941) Russian artist and architect

    El Lissitzky (1890 – 1941) Russian artist and architect

    El Lissitzky (1890 – 1941) Russian artist and architect, he was linked with MODERNIST organisations, including Suprematism and DE STIJL.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Naum Gabo: A Titan of Constructivist Art

    Naum Gabo: A Titan of Constructivist Art

    Naum Gabo, a Russian sculptor, was a pioneer in constructivist art, studying at Munich University and teaching at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Architecture. His life and work exemplify artistic innovation and the power of art to shape societal structures.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Serge Ivan Chermayeff (1900 – 1996) – Russian designer

    Serge Ivan Chermayeff (1900 – 1996) – Russian designer

    Serge Ivan Chermayeff was a Russian architect and designer who was active in Britain and the US in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Serge Ivan Chermayeff was a Russian-born British architect, industrial designer and writer who pioneered Modern industrial design and collaborated with Erich Mendelsohn. Chermayeff designed textiles, interiors, and exhibitions and painted, collaborating with…


    Learn More โ†’


  • Gustav Klutsis (1895 -1944) photographic montage

    Gustav Klutsis (1895 -1944) photographic montage

    Gustav Klutsis was a Latvian artist and graphic, poster and applied arts designer who was a devoted supporter of the Boshevik regime and a member of the communist party. He was the pioneer of photomontage in the Soviet Union and an acclaimed graphic designer and painter. Influences included Suprematism and Constructivism. LEARN MORERead More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Agitprop – Design and Art Term

    Agitprop – Design and Art Term

    Agitprop art (or the art of agitation) was used to manipulate ideological beliefs, specifically to spread the ideals of Communism in Russia in the period immediately following the 1917 revolution. The term ‘agitprop’ (an abbreviation for agitation propaganda: ‘agitational propaganda’) was first used shortly after the Revolution, and the Communist Party established the Department of…


    Learn More โ†’


  • Oskar Petrovich Gryun (1874 – 1931) Russian ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บTextile Designer

    Oskar Petrovich Gryun (1874 – 1931) Russian ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บTextile Designer

    Oskar Petrovich Gryun (1874 – 1931) was a Russian Textile Designer. Education He studied at the Central Art Institute ofRead More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Vasilii Dmitrievich Ermilov (1884-1968) Russian architect and book set designer

    Vasilii Dmitrievich Ermilov (1884-1968) Russian architect and book set designer

    Vasyl Dmitrievich Yermylov (Yermilov) (1894โ€“1968) was a Ukrainian and Soviet painter, avant-garde artist and designer. His genres included cubism, constructivism, and neo-primitivism.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Mikhail Mikhailovich Adamovich (1884 – 1947) Russian porcelain designer

    Mikhail Mikhailovich Adamovich (1884 – 1947) Russian porcelain designer

    In 1907, Adamovich travelled to Italy to study decorative painting after graduating from Moscow’s Strogonov School of Art and Industrial Design. In 1909, he returned to Russia to paint murals in both St Petersburg and Moscow. He worked in the art department of the State Porcelain Factory after the First World War (known as the…


    Learn More โ†’


  • Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891 – 1956) Russian Painter and Designer

    Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891 – 1956) Russian Painter and Designer

    ย He was a proponent of the Russian constructivist art movement. The term ” constructivism” came about because the artists claimed they riveted the images together as engineers, not artists. ย In the early years of the Russian Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Sergei Vasilevich Chekhonin (1878 – 1936) Russian graphic artist and ceramicist

    Sergei Vasilevich Chekhonin (1878 – 1936) Russian graphic artist and ceramicist

    Sergei Vasil’evich Chekhonin (1878 – 1936) was a Russian graphic artist and ceramicist. He was professionally active in St. Petersburg and Paris.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


โค๏ธ Receive our newsletter

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.