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El Lissitzky (Russian, 1890–1941)

About this artist

Source: The Museum of Modern Art

El Lissitzky was an artist, designer, teacher, and theorist of the Russian avant-garde. Trained as an architect in Germany in the early 1910s, in the years just after the 1917 Revolution, he turned to abstraction, which he believed was the most effective tool for pursuing a new art for a new, post-revolutionary world. He made drawings, prints, and paintings of abstract geometric planes of color floating against a neutral background, and incorporated a broad range of materials into them. He referred to these works by the word Proun, from the acronym for "project for the affirmation of the new" in Russian, and called them "interchange stations between painting and architecture." In his design work, typographical elements are the building blocks for abstract compositions, and language disassociated from its conventional literary contextacquires new meaning. His books, pamphlets, and posters were made to be disseminated widely and used by the masses.

The Museum of Modern Art was one of the first American institutions to collect and display work by members of the Russian avant-garde.



Source: Oxford University Press

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

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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