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]
Rayonism. Mikhail Larionov, The Glass, 1912
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 the Russian Empire and the 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; including Suprematism, Constructivism, Russian Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Zaum and Neo-primitivism.[2][3][4][5] Many of the artists who were born, grew up or were active in what is now Belarus and Ukraine (including Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandra Ekster, Vladimir Tatlin, Wassily Kandinsky, David Burliuk, Alexander Archipenko), are also classified in the Ukrainian avant-garde.[6]

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.[7]

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, MoMA in New York City, devoted an exhibition to Soviet avant-garde architecture in the postrevolutionary period, featuring photographs by Richard Pare.[8]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wassily Kandinsky, Untitled (study for Composition VII, Première abstraction), watercolor, 1913, MNAM, Centre Pompidou
  2. ^ Hatherley, Owen (2011-11-04). "The constructivists and the Russian revolution in art and achitecture". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  3. ^ "Cubo-Futurism | art movement". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  4. ^ Douglas, Charlotte (1975). "The New Russian Art and Italian Futurism". Art Journal. 34 (3): 229–239. doi:10.2307/775994. ISSN 0004-3249. JSTOR 775994.
  5. ^ "A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  6. ^ "Welcome to Ukrainian Avant-garde!". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  7. ^ Groys, Boris (2019-12-31), "3. The Birth of Socialist Realism from the Spirit of the Russian Avant-Garde", The Russian Avant-Garde and Radical Modernism, Academic Studies Press, pp. 250–276, doi:10.1515/9781618111425-010, ISBN 978-1-61811-142-5
  8. ^ "Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32". MoMA. 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Friedman, Julia. Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism: Alexei Remizov's Synthetic Art, Northwestern University Press, 2010. ISBN 0-8101-2617-6 (Trade Cloth)
  • Nakov, Andrei. Avant Garde Russe. England: Art Data. 1986.
  • Kovalenko, G.F. (ed.) The Russian Avant-Garde of 1910-1920 and Issues of Expressionism. Moscow: Nauka, 2003.
  • Rowell, M. and Zander Rudenstine A. Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection. New York: The Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, 1981.
  • 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)
  • Tedman, Gary. Soviet Avant Garde Aesthetics, chapter from Aesthetics & Alienation. pp 203–229. 2012. Zero Books. ISBN 978-1-78099-301-0

External links[edit]