Russian avant-garde

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Abstract art. Vasily Kandinsky, Kandinsky's first abstract watercolor (Study for Composition VII, Première abstraction), painted in 1913[1]
Suprematism. Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1915
Proletkult. El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites With the Red Wedge, 1919

The Russian avant-garde was a large, influential wave of avant-garde modern art that flourished in Russian Empire and Soviet Union, approximately from 1890 to 1930—although some have placed its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that flourished at the time; namely Suprematism, Constructivism, Russian Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Zaum and Neo-primitivism. Given that many avant-garde artists involved were born, grew up and active in what is present day Belarus and Ukraine (including Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandra Ekster, Vladimir Tatlin, Wassily Kandinsky, David Burliuk, Alexander Archipenko), they are also attributed to the Ukrainian avant-garde.

The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular height in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932, at which point the ideas of the avant-garde clashed with the newly emerged state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism.

Artists and Designers[edit]

Notable figures from this era include:




Theatre Directors[edit]


Preserving Russian avant-garde architecture has become a real concern for historians, politicians and architects. In 2007, the Modern Museum of Art MoMA in New York, devoted an exhibition entirely to the *Lost Vanguard: Soviet Architecture, featuring the work of American Photographer Richard Pare.


Many Russian composers that were interested in avant-garde music became members of the Association for Contemporary Music which was headed by Roslavets.

Main articles[edit]


  • Friedman, Julia. Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism: Alexei Remizov's Synthetic Art, Northwestern University Press, 2010. ISBN 0-8101-2617-6 (Trade Cloth)
  • Kovalenko, G.F. (ed.) The Russian Avant-Garde of 1910-1920 and Issues of Expressionism. Moscow: Nauka, 2003.
  • Shishanov V.A. Vitebsk Museum of Modern Art: a history of creation and a collection. 1918-1941. - Minsk: Medisont, 2007. - 144 p.[1]
  • “Encyclopedia of Russian Avangard. Fine Art. Architecture Vol.1 A-K, Vol.2 L-Z Biography”; Rakitin V.I., Sarab’yanov A.D., Moscow, 2013

Surviving Suprematism: Lazar Khidekel. Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley CA, 2004 Lazar Khidekel and Suprematism. Prestel, 2014 (Regina Khidekel, with contributions by Constantin Boym, Magdalena Dabrowski, Charlotte Douglas, Tatyana Goryacheva, Irina Karasik, Boris Kirikov and Margarita Shtiglits, and Alla Rosenfeld)

External links[edit]