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Full text of "Art of the avant-garde in Russia : selections from the George Costakis Collection"

Art of the 
Avant-Garde 
in Russia: 




Selections from 
the George Costakis 
Collection 



Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: 



Selections from the George Costakis Collection 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 



president Peter O. Lawson-Johnston 
vice-president The Right Honorable Earl Castle Stewart 

trustees Anne L. Armstrong, Michel David-Weill, Joseph W. Donner, Robin Chandler Duke, John 
Hilson, Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Wendy L.-J. McNeil, Thomas M. Messer, Frank R. 
Milliken, A. Chauncey Newlin, Lewis T. Preston, Seymour Slive, Albert E. Thiele, Michael 
F. Wettach, William T. Ylvisaker 

honorary trustees Solomon R. Guggenheim, Justin K. Thannhauser, Peggy Guggenheim 
in perpetuity 

advisory board Elaine Dannheisser, Susan Morse Hilles, Morton L. Janklow, Barbara Jonas, Bonnie Ward 
Simon, Stephen C. Swid 

staff Henry Berg, Counsel 

Theodore G. Dunker, Secretary-Treasurer; Aili Pontynen, Assistant Treasurer; Barry Bragg, 
Assistant to the Treasurer; Margaret P. Cauchois, Assistant; Veronica M. O'Connell 

director Thomas M. Messer 

THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM 

Diane Waldman, Director of Exhibitions 

Catherine Grimshaw, Secretary to the Director; Cynthia M. Kessel, Administrative Assistant 

staff Louise Averill Svendsen, Senior Curator; Margit Rowell, Curator of Special Exhibitions; 

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Research Curator; Lisa Dennison Tabak, Assistant Curator; Carol 
Fuerstein, Editor; Ward Jackson, Archivist; Philip Verre, Collections Coordinator; Susan B. 
Hirschfeld, Exhibitions Coordinator; Lucy Flint, Curatorial Coordinator; Cynthia Susan 
Clark, Editorial Assistant 

Angelica Zander Rudenstine, Adjunct Curator 

Orrin H. Riley, Conservator; Elizabeth Estabrook, Conservation Coordinator; Harold B. 
Nelson, Registrar; Jane Rubin, William J. Alonso, Assistant Registrars; Marion Kahan, 
Registrar's Assistant; Saul Fuerstein, Preparator; Robert D. Nielsen, Assistant Preparator; 
William Smith, Preparation Assistant; Scott A. Wixon, Operations Manager; Tony Moore, 
Assistant Operations Manager; Takayuki Amano, Head Carpenter; Carmelo Guadagno, 
Photographer; Holly Fullam, Photography Coordinator 

Mimi Poser, Officer for Development and Public Affairs; Carolyn Porcelli, Ann Kraft, Devel- 
opment Associates; Susan L. Halper, Membership Associate; Cynthia Wootton, Develop- 
ment Coordinator 

Agnes R. Connolly, Auditor; James O'Shea, Sales Coordinator; Mark J. Foster, Sales Man- 
ager; Robert Turner, Restaurant Manager; Rosemary Faella, Assistant Restaurant Manager; 
Darrie Hammer, Katherine W. Briggs, Information 

David A. Sutter, Building Superintendent; Charles Gazzola, Assistant Building Superinten- 
dent; Charles F. Banach, Head Guard; Elbio Almiron, Marie Bradley, Assistant Head Guards 

life members Eleanor, Countess Castle Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. Werner Dannheisser, Mr. William C. 

Edwards, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Andrew P. Fuller, Mrs. Bernard F. Gimbel, Mr. and Mrs. Peter O. 
Lawson-Johnston, Mrs. Samuel I . Rosenman, Mrs. S. H. Scheuer, Mrs. Hilde Thannhauser 

CORPORATE patrons Alcoa Foundation, Atlantic Richfield Foundation, Exxon Corporation, Mobil Corporation, 
Philip Morris Incorporated 

government patrons National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts 



Art of the 
Avant-Garde 
in Russia: 



Selections from 
the George Costakis 
Collection 



by Margit Rowell and Angelica Zander Rudenstine 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 



Published by 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 

New York 1981 

ISBN: 0-89207-29-3 

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 81-52858 

© The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1981 

Cover: El Lissitzky 

Untitled. 1919-1920 (cat. no. 138) 

EXHIBITION 81/4 

10,000 copies of this catalogue, 

designed by Malcolm Grear Designers, 

have been typeset by Dumar Typesetting 

and printed by Eastern Press 

in September 1981 for the Trustees of 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 

on the occasion of the exhibition 

Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: 

Selections from the George Costakis Collection. 



Contents 



Preface 

by Thomas M. Messer 



Acknowledgments 

The George Costakis Collection 9 

by Angelica Zander Rudenstine 

New Insights into Soviet Constructivism: 15 

Painting, Constructions, Production Art 
by Margit Rowell 



The Catalogue 

by Angelica Zander Rudenstine 


33 


Notes for the Reader 


34 


I. 


Symbolism and Origins 


37 


II. 


Cubo-Futurism 


46 


III. 


Matiushin and His School 
Pavel Filonov 


74 
108 


IV. 


Suprematism and Unovis 


110 


V. 


The Inkhuk and Constructivism 


198 


VI. 


Productivism 


259 



VII. Parallel Trends: The Figurative 305 
and the Cosmic, 1918-1930 

Biographical Notes 312 

Index of Artists in the Exhibition 319 

Photographic Credits 320 



Preface 



The name of George Costakis has been well known 
throughout the art world for some time. A citizen 
of Greece who had spent his entire life in the Soviet 
Union, he accomplished the extraordinary and 
unique feat of amassing a private collection of twen- 
tieth-century Russian and Soviet art in which the 
great names of the avant-garde are often represented 
by numerous works and in a variety of media. Over 
the years, many a visitor from abroad was privi- 
leged to visit the Costakis apartment to find exquis- 
ite examples illuminating a little-known chapter of 
modern-art history. The works were hung or merely 
placed in an informal and unselfconscious setting 
over which the collector-proprietor presided with 
authoritative knowledge and unflagging enthusiasm. 

Visitors who came in 1977 or thereafter could 
no longer see the entire collection in George Co- 
stakis's home. But during the 1977 ICOM confer- 
ence, it was possible to glimpse a few examples 
from it in a segregated area at the Tretiakov Gal- 
lery in Moscow. It was subsequently announced 
that about eighty percent of Costakts's art holdings 
was to remain at the Tretiakov as the collector's 
generous gift to the country that, his Greek citizen- 
ship notwithstanding, had always been his own. 
Costakis and virtually his entire family emigrated 
with the remainder of the collection and settled 
in Athens. 

The first public showing of the part of the col- 
lection brought out of the Soviet Union was ar- 
ranged in 1977, almost immediately upon its arrival 
in the West, by Wend von Kalnein, then director of 
the Diisseldorf Kunstmuseum. This event, together 
with a slide presentation of the collection at the 
Guggenheim Museum in 1973, indirectly resulted 
in the current exhibition. 

Many visits, first to the Costakis home, then 
to the Tretiakov Gallery and eventually to Diissel- 
dorf, were made by Margit Rowell, Angelica 
Rudenstine and myself. They led us to approach 
Costakis with a proposal to entrust the collection 
now in the West to the Guggenheim Museum for 
thorough study, conservation and documentation 
as necessary preliminaries to a selective exhibition 
at the Guggenheim and subsequent extended circu- 
lation to other museums under our auspices. Mr. 
Costakis agreed to this undertaking, and Margit 
Rowell, as Curator of Special Exhibitions, with Ad- 



junct Curator Angelica Rudenstine, brought the 
project to its present stage. Both engaged in exten- 
sive scholarly research in order to arrive at the care- 
fully considered selection on display and to produce 
a catalogue rich in new and reliable information. 
That other Guggenheim staff members, who are 
acknowledged elsewhere in this publication, have 
provided essential support does not in any way di- 
minish the importance of the contributions of the 
co-curators. 

The part played by George Costakis as collec- 
tor and lender is too obvious to be belabored in this 
preface, but it should be stressed that the owner of 
this extraordinary collection remained in close 
touch with all aspects of the project, freely provid- 
ing valuable, previously unpublished data and as- 
serting a lively interest though not a determining 
voice throughout the process of selection. 

The Guggenheim Museum has embarked upon 
this project, as it has upon comparable exhibitions 
in the past, in order to contribute to the expansion 
of knowledge of the twentieth-century art that re- 
mains outside the already codified and by now fa- 
miliar mainsrream. The collector's willingness to 
enter into a professional relationship with the Gug- 
genheim Foundation represents his response to our 
initiative. 

I therefore take great pleasure in expressing 
the Guggenheim's gratitude to George Costakis for 
joining in a friendship that we hope will endure 
long beyond the occasion of the current exhibition. 

Thomas M. Messer, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 



Acknowledgments 



Many scholars and friends have generously shared 
their knowledge of the Russian and Soviet field with 
us. Among them we would particularly like to 
thank the following individuals without whose in- 
valuable assistance we could not have produced the 
present exhibition and catalogue: 

Vasilii Rakitin, the Soviet art historian, pro- 
vided us with extensive biographical information 
about the artists and a checklist of many of the 
works in the George Costakis collection. Much of 
the information he supplied has been incorporated 
into the catalogue. 

Translations were undertaken by Chimen 
Abramsky, Sarah Bodine, Christina A. Lodder, 
Tatyana Feifer, Arina Malukov, Marian Schwartz, 
Eleanor Sutter and Steven Wolin. 

Christina A. Lodder, by generously putting her 
manuscript, Constructivism: From Fine Art into 
Design (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1982), at 
our disposal, provided us with illuminating insights 
and information in the field of Constructivism. 

We are further grateful to the following schol- 
ars and friends for their contributions to our re- 
search: Nina Berberova, Sarah Bodine, John E. 
Bowlt, Ellen Chances, Jean Chauvelin, Sophie 
Consagra, Cleve Gray, Alma H. Law, Arina Malu- 
kov, Jean-Claude Marcade, Marc Martin Malburet, 
Zoia Ender Masetti, Andrei B. Nakov, Dmitrii 
Sarabianov. 

We would also like to thank present and for- 
mer members of the Museum staff and the intern 
program who have made vital contributions: 

Philip Verre coordinated all aspects of the 
exhibition and assisted us in innumerable ways 
from the inception of the undertaking: it could not 
have been brought to a successful conclusion with- 
out him. 

Elizabeth Funghini helped to prepare the ini- 
tial inventory. Lucy Flint and Ann Husson contrib- 
uted research and handled demanding technical and 
organizational matters with extraordinary dedica- 
tion. Saul Fuerstein and his staff, Joan Insa, Robert 
D. Nielsen, William Smith, tackled intricate and 
delicate framing requirements and successfully 
solved innumerable logistical problems over a long 
period of time. 

Anne Hoy, editor of the catalogue, has pro- 
vided sensitive and thorough guidance and expertise 



in the face of an unusually demanding production 
schedule. 

We are grateful to Antonina Gmurzynska, 
Cologne, and a private collector who prefers to 
remain anonymous for lending works formerly in 
the Costakis collection. 

Finally, to the appreciation expressed by 
Thomas M. Messer, we would like to add our 
thanks to George Costakis. The opportunity to 
work with his collection has been a rare and incom- 
parable experience for us both. 

M.R. andA.Z.R. 




George Costakis seated in living room of his Moscow 
apartment, 1974 



The George Costakis Collection 

by Angelica Zander Rudenstine 



Georgii Dionisevich Costakis was born in Moscow, 
of Greek parents, in 1912, the third of five children. 
His father, Dionysius Costakis, had emigrated to 
Tsarist Russia in about 1907, seeking his fortune. 
He settled in Moscow, where there was a sizable 
and flourishing Greek community, joined a large 
tobacco firm, and within a few years had become 
the owner of the entire business. 1 

Costakis's mother also belonged to the world 
of Greek tobacco interests: her father, Simeon Pa- 
pachristoduglu, had been a highly successful to- 
bacco merchant in Tashkent who had married into 
the well-known aristocratic Sarris family. Though 
he had then lost his fortune and abandoned his wife 
and children, they had — through Sarris connec- 
tions — been taken in by a Greek official living in 
Moscow who provided them with upbringing and 
education. 

When the Bolshevik Revolution came in 1917, 
the Costakis family, like many other Greeks, re- 
mained in Moscow. They were not supporters of 
the Bolshevik cause: as pious orthodox Christians 
they could be expected to oppose it on religious 
grounds alone. Furthermore, they — like many 
others — did not expect the regime to last. As time 
went by, and their expectations were disappointed, 
they accommodated themselves to new conditions. 

As George Costakis was growing up in the 
1920s, the Bolsheviks were restructuring the entire 
educational system. Lenin's aim had been to raise 
cultural standards, and to expand literacy through 
mass education, but the actual situation during 
these years (when open admissions were estab- 
lished, but admissions quotas were simultaneously 
instituted for the bourgeois) was one of confusion 
and limited opportunity. Costakis's family was of 
some cultivation (his mother knew six languages), 
but he had little in the way of formal schooling. By 
the time he was seventeen years old, in 1929, he was 
clearly expected to be independent. Fortunately, his 
older brother Spiridon (who was, interestingly 
enough, a national motorcycle racing hero) helped 
him to find a job in the Greek Embassy. Later Co- 
stakis obtained a position at the Canadian Embassy, 
where he remained for the next thirty-five years — 
his entire working life. 

During the same year that Costakis began his 
embassy career, 1929- 1930, Kazimir Malevich had 
a one-man show at the Tretiakov Gallery in 
Moscow; Vsevolod Meierkhold produced Klop 
(Bedbug) by the poet Vladimir Maiakovsky, with 
designs by Alexandr Rodchenko, and Bahi {Bath- 
house) with designs by Alexandr Deineka; the di- 
rector Dziga Vertov presented his Constructivist 
film Man with a Movie Camera. But these events 
went unnoticed by the young Costakis, and — to be 
sure — by most of his contemporaries. Indeed, the 



1 Fads about Costakis's life are published in much greater detail by 
S. Frederick Starr, to whose research I am indebted (R.. S.. C, Costakis. 
pp. 26-51). My own research, like his. has been extensively based on 
interviews with Costakis himselt. 



avant-garde movement in the arts was by then 
waning. Costakis had been far too young to wit- 
ness its dynamic flowering between 1915 and 1922, 
and he was not attuned to the succession of events 
that signaled its approaching end. In 1919- 1930 
Maiakovsky committed suicide; a retrospective of 
the work of Pavel Filonov, scheduled to open at the 
Russian Museum in Leningrad, fell victim to con- 
servative opposition and was canceled; Anatolii 
Lunacharsky, the cultural minister (director of the 
People's Commissariat of Enlightenment, Nar- 
kompros), who had been a sympathetic supporter 
of much that the avant-garde movement repre- 
sented, resigned. In 193 1 the Russian Association 
of Proletarian Artists formulated its conception of 
art as ideology, "a revolutionary weapon in the 
class struggle," and in 1934 Socialist Realism was 
adopted as the exclusive style for all forms of Soviet 
art. The era of the avant-garde had come to a close. 

Meanwhile, Costakis at age nineteen had mar- 
ried Zinaida Panfilova, a bookkeeper at the Java 
Tobacco Factory. They settled modestly in a one- 
room apartment in Moscow, and he began to show 
the first signs of becoming a collector. The fields he 
chose were conventional: Russian silver, porcelain 
and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch 
paintings. Within a decade, he had amassed a con- 
siderable collection in these areas. Two important 
factors helped in the thirties and early forties to 
produce a favorable climate for collecting, and they 
gave added impetus to Costakis's natural inclina- 
tions. First, the Government, which desperately 
needed foreign currency in order to purchase in- 
dustrial machinery, had from 1928 ordered massive 
sales of paintings and antiques to foreign buyers; 
simultaneously, it also encouraged sales to Soviet 
citizens who could buy similar items in state-owned 
"commission stores." 2 Second, art collecting was 
entirely legal in the Soviet Union, and — because 
currency fluctuations were then so volatile — invest- 
ments in art and antiques were highly desirable. 3 

This environment was totally transformed, of 
course, by the severe hardships of World War II. 
Indeed, by the end of the War, extreme conditions 
of poverty and famine, and shortages of all kinds 
had forced most people — including Costakis — to 
sell much of what they owned in order to acquire 
food, clothing and other vital necessities. Costakis 
at this point still had a collection of about thirty 
Dutch pictures, but he was beginning to tire of 
them: their somber colors depressed him, and he 
no longer derived great satisfaction from owning 
them. 

He entered the field of the avant-garde quite 
by accident. 4 One day he was shown a brilliantly 
hued abstract painting by Olga Rozanova, an artist 
of whom he had never heard. Its impact upon him 
was instantaneous: "I was dazzled by the flaming 



colors in this unknown work, so unlike anything I 
had seen before." The identity of the artist, her ori- 
gins, the historical and aesthetic environment from 
which she came — all these became the subject of 
immediate inquiry. Costakis sold his entire collec- 
tion and began what would become a thirty-year 
quest for the works of the avant-garde and for 
information about the history of the movement. 

There were a number of reasons why that his- 
tory was essentially a closed book in 1946. The 
most compelling reasons were of course political 
and ideological. The Bolshevik regime had initially 
encouraged the ambitions of the avant-garde to 
create a major revolution in art, comparable in its 
implications to the political revolution which had 
just been achieved. Kandinsky, Malevich, Rod- 
chenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Osip Brik, Viktor Shklov- 
sky, Nikolai Punin and others were placed at the 
top of the new artistic hierarchy — in charge of the 
Government's Section of Fine Arts — and were 
asked to "construct and organize all art schools 
and the entire art life of the country." 5 As Luna- 
charsky later claimed: "No other government has 
responded so well to artists and to art in general 
as the present one." 6 

This situation, however, lasted only a short 
time. The avant-garde was of course a minority 
among artists, and they soon became deeply divided 
even among themselves. Innumerable disagree- 
ments and dissensions developed along aesthetic 
and intellectual lines. In addition, Lunacharsky's 
official support for this revolutionary cadre came 
under attack from the very start. As early as 1920, 
there was significant organized opposition from 
within the artistic community: many artists felt that 
the avant-garde's formal, abstract approach was 
far too limited in its appeal, that its work was essen- 
tially unintelligible and that the complete break 
with the past advocated by the Section of Fine Arts 
was destructive rather than regenerative. Lunachar- 
sky's attempts to mediate were in the end ineffec- 
tive, and Lenin finally insisted on a reduction of the 
authority of the avant-garde group. 7 This was the 
beginning of official political opposition to the 
avant-garde — an opposition which grew steadily 
over the course of the next decade and more. 

It would be a mistake, however, to ascribe the 
disintegration of the avant-garde entirely to polit- 
ical attitudes and events. As mentioned before, the 
hostility of other artists was a significant force — 
quite apart from the fact that the different groups 
within the avant-garde movement scarcely tolerated 
one another. In addition, Costakis and others have 
long held the view that under the pressure of these 
various antagonisms, some members of the avant- 
garde began to suffer a serious loss of confidence in 
their own methods and goals. Once the initial pe- 
riod of enthusiasm and activity — particularly the 



10 



2. Starr's discussion of the history of collecting in Russia provides much 
new information on this subject. Ibid, pp. 22-26. 

3. R . S . C , Costakis. p. 30 

4. The earliest reports about Costakis's collecting activities were in the 
press. Notable among over two hundred articles are' Hermann Porzgen in 
the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. No 110. May 13, 1972; Bruce Chatwin 
in the Sunday Times Magazine, London. May 6. 1973 See also 



Kunstmuseum Diisseldorf. Werke aus der Sammlung Costakis, Russisctie 
Avantgarde 1910-1930, 1977; and Douglas Davis in Art in America, 
Nov -Dec 1977 

5. "Otchet deiatelnosti Otdela izobrazitelnykh iskusstv," Vestmk 
narodnogo prosvesticheniia soiuza severnoi oblasti, Nos. 6-8, 1918, 
p. 87, quoted by V D Barooshian, "The Avant-Garde and the Russian 
Revolution: - Russian Literature Tnguarterly, fall 1972, p. 348. 



years 1913-1924 — had passed without favorable 
public response, many of them found it difficult (not 
surprisingly) to sustain the same degree of convic- 
tion that had characterized their original efforts and 
formulations. Far from advertising the art of their 
early years, some of them turned away from it: they 
transformed their styles, and neglected and, in some 
cases, even lost or destroyed the work of their 
youth. In this way the "record" of the avant-garde 
suffered yet another form of destruction : in addi- 
tion to the incalculable losses caused by sheer polit- 
ical suppression, there was the cumulative damage 
that resulted from the change in attitudes and feel- 
ings on the parts of artists themselves. 

In this connection, it is important to note that 
one of the leading art critics and theoreticians of 
the movement, Nikolai Tarabukin, whom Costakis 
met several times, shared Costakis's view on this 
point. Tarabukin had abandoned hope that the 
avant-garde would ever be revived, and he agreed 
that his compatriots had suffered significant blows 
to their self-confidence as their achievements went 
unappreciated by both the public and by the Bol- 
shevik regime. 8 

It is of course impossible to determine the 
extent to which such changes in attitude were the 
result of simple fear in response to pressure and 
hostility, or of a quite human desire to conform, or 
of an actual loss of faith in the achievements of 
avant-garde art. All of these — and other — factors 
were undoubtedly at work. Meanwhile, ideological 
attacks on individual artists began in earnest dur- 
ing the early 1930s. The journalist V. Grishakin, 
for example, published an extremely critical article 
concerning Rodchenko's photography in Zhmnal- 
ist, stating that Rodchenko's use of various forms 
of "distortion" was in fact anti-Revolutionary. 
Osip Beskin published a book in 1933 entitled 
Formalism in Fainting, in which the term "formal- 
ist" (synonymous with bourgeois decadence) was 
applied to a number of artists, including Alexandr 
Drevin. By 1938, Drevin had been arrested, and he 
was never seen again. Immediately thereafter, his 
wife Nadezhda Udaltsova destroyed every one of 
her own earlier works still in her possession. 9 

Costakis's long, painstaking quest in search of 
the avant-garde, therefore, can without exaggera- 
tion be described as a private archaeological exca- 
vation. By the late 1940s, the names of many of 
the artists had been virtually forgotten, information 
about their very existence was difficult to find and 
many of their works had been packed away in attics, 
lost or destroyed. The chronology of the movement 
as a whole was uncharted. The various groups 
within the movement were little known and poorly 
defined: their stylistic differences, their various in- 
terrelationships, their philosophical, social and re- 
ligious attitudes — all these and many other factors 



required rediscovery and careful reconstruction. 

In the course of his own collecting, Costakis 
gradually created his own "map" of the avant- 
garde terrain, and he eventually dated the beginning 
of the movement as ca. 1910. During that year, the 
newly established "Union of Youth" {Soiuz molo- 
dezhi) opened its first exhibition in St. Petersburg 
with the participation of, among others, David and 
Vladimir Burliuk, Natalia Goncharova, Pavel Filo- 
nov, Mikhail Larionov and Alexandra Exter. In 
Moscow, also in 1910, the newly established "Jack 
of Diamonds" group {Bnbnovyi valet) held its first 
exhibition with the same artists, together with Kan- 
dinsky, Malevich, Aristarkh Lentulov, Alexei 
Morgunov, and many others. The artistic activity 
of those who later became prominent in the avant- 
garde obviously antedated 1910, and Costakis him- 
self purchased some works that were painted dur- 
ing the previous decade. (See, for example, cat. nos. 
1-5.) But his conviction that the innovative nature 
of the movement and its emerging self-conscious- 
ness as a "movement" date from about 1910 is 
certainly plausible. During the years 1910-1921, the 
artistic climate in Moscow and St. Petersburg 
(Petrograd) was characterized by continuous 
experimentation and an increasing preoccupation 
with the concept of an avant-garde. Constant and 
rapid developments in styles and theories were in- 
stantly reflected in the many exhibitions organized 
to bring new work to the attention of the public. 
Alliances were formed and broken, theories were 
formulated and revised, all at a remarkable pace. 
The exhibition catalogues of the period, the mani- 
festoes and the reviews provide essential documen- 
tation of these changes, and it was partly to these 
documents that Costakis turned as he sought to 
learn the names and identities of the individual 
artists and the groups from this period. He soon 
concluded that the movement as a whole could in 
no sense be described in terms of "progress" or a 
clear line of "development." Rather, it was, as the 
Soviet art historian Vasilii Rakitin has recently 
described it, "a permanently mobile condition of 
the artistic consciousness of an epoch." 10 

It is natural, as one looks back on the era, to 
seek to establish its various parameters, to fix im- 
portant points and to define stylistic and philosoph- 
ical issues in such a way as to suggest the steady 
development and even the coherence of events. 
Thus, for example, the first Futurist books by 
Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Kruchenykh, the 
invention of their transrational (zaum) language 
and the contemporary related alogical paintings of 
Malevich and Morgunov, all date from 1913-14. 
Malcvich's Suprematism was first articulated in 
theoretical and visual form on the occasion of the 
December 1915 0.10 exhibition. The first moves 
towards a "constructive" definition of form oc- 



6 Barooshian, p 358, fn. 9. 

7. Ibid. pp. 355-57 

8. Costakis had several conversations with Tarabukin and others on this 
subject. (Interview with the author ) For extensive intormation on Tarabukin 
and his theory, see A B. Nakov, ed., Nikolai Taraboukme Le dernier 
tableau, Paris, 1972. 

9. Andrei Drevin, son of the artist, related this to Costakis, and the tacts 



are contirmed by other sources. Some early works by Udaltsova were 
in other hands by 1938 and were thus preserved. Andrei Drevin also 
discovered a tew additional early works after Udaltsova's death, and- 
according to her wishes -ottered them for sale to Costakis. 

10. "The Russian Avant-Garde Movement Freedom and Necessity!' 
unpublished manuscript, collection G. Costakis, trans. E. J. Cruise 
with A. N. Tiurin. 



11 



curred inTatlin's reliefs of 191 3-15, while the full 
emergence of Constructivism may be said to have 
occurred in 1910-21. Clarifications of this kind are 
extremely helpful — indeed, essential — and they 
serve to illuminate the landmark-moments of the 
period. They also, however, serve to blur the count- 
less subtle and complex similarities as well as dis- 
tinctions between one artist and another, and one 
group and another; they tend to overlook the 
variety of stylistic expression within any individual 
movement, as well as the often inexplicable and 
apparently unjustifiable stylistic changes within the 
work of a single artist. 

It is important to remember, therefore, that 
when Costakis set out to build his collection, he 
had no established "framework" for the period. 
Rather, he approached the entire span of two 
decades as a vast panorama embracing a multitude 
of characters and events; he focused not simply on 
those which were "important" and even well- 
known, but also on those which seemed minor, 
or idiosyncratic or even insignificant. As he has 
often repeated: "The army was huge. Most art his- 
torians whom I met as I began to learn about the 
avant-garde told me of a dozen artists, or at most 
fifteen: Tatlin was mentioned, Malevich, Larionov, 
Goncharova, Exter, Kandinsky, Chagall, Lissitzky, 
and a few others. But these art historians had too 
narrow a view. There were Generals, Majors, 
Colonels, Captains, Sergeants, and — not to be for- 
gotten — many foot soldiers. If you forget these, you 
do not understand the avant-garde. I collected the 
work of about fifty-eight artists; I'm sure that there 
were many more; probably three hundred." 

With this basic conviction, Costakis naturally 
tried to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of 
the avant-garde. While he feels strongly that he 
missed collecting the work of many artists — 
through bad luck, unfortunate timing or lack of 
knowledge — his overriding principle was always to 
fill in the picture with more and more artists, and to 
show them in the various stages of their stylistic 
developments. 

Very soon after World War II, in 1946, Co- 
stakis met Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova, a 
couple who were to become his close friends. Rod- 
chenko was at that point a quiet, depressed figure, 
who had — as Costakis put it — "totally lost confi- 
dence in his early work." In his apartment, he ex- 
hibited works that he had painted in 1930-35 
(circus figures, clowns), some late abstractions, but 
little else. Although Rodchenko continued to be 
fascinated by photography — an interest he had 
pursued all his life, and with special intensity dur- 
ing the 1920s and early 1930s — the rest of his 
creative achievement seemed to have lost all signifi- 
cance for him. Indeed, Costakis himself had not 
been especially aggressive in his acquisitions of 



Rodchenko's early work. It was not until several 
years later, after Alfred Barr's visit to Moscow in 
1956 (and in response to Barr's enthusiasm for 
Rodchenko's art), that Costakis began to purchase 
the artist's avant-garde work on a larger scale. 
Though he had always known about Rodchenko's 
leadership earlier in the century, he had somehow 
been influenced by the artist's own sense of de- 
moralization. When he finally did begin to buy 
whatever he could, the works were difficult to find: 
he discovered one large painting that was being 
used — "face down" — as the covering for a table 
top; he unearthed the last surviving Hanging Con- 
struction of ca. 1920 in a pile of old newspapers 
lying in a storage space. Meanwhile, Rodchenko 
continued to be surprised at any interest shown in 
his avant-garde achievement — almost to the time 
of his death in 1956. 

Of Stepanova, Costakis says: "She was the 
general of the family; very masculine, very strong. 
I didn't like her work as much and I acquired very 
little; but now I think I was wrong. She was a fine 
artist." Tatlin was also an early acquaintance. 
Costakis met him in Moscow in 1949, and used to 
visit him in Petrovsky Park where he lived in a 
squalid apartment. Costakis remembers him as 
bitter, demoralized and critical of almost all the 
early members of the avant-garde. Rodchenko was 
one of the few artists he praised, one of the few he 
regarded as truly creative. Through Tatlin's mem- 
ories, Costakis gained an insight into some of the 
fiercest antagonisms of the Revolutionary era, the 
deep intolerance of one artist for another, the pas- 
sion and intransigence with which philosophical 
and aesthetic convictions were often held. 

Costakis's early search for the work of Olga 
Rozanova brought him to the poet Kruchenykh, 
whom he came to know very well. Kruchenykh 
lived in the same apartment as Udaltsova — she in a 
room to the left, he to the right, with toilet facilities 
between. His room was about ten feet square, and 
contained only a chair, a sofa and a table. Every 
remaining inch was taken up with papers and 
books piled helter-skelter, waist high upon the 
floor. Kruchenykh talked of the poetry of Khlebni- 
kov, of literature and philosophy, but never of his 
young wife Rozanova who had died so tragically in 
1918. Her dramatic painting of 1917 — the Green 
Stripe (cat. no. 105) — had been given to Costakis 
as a present years earlier, but — search as he might 
— he was never able to find more paintings by this 
artist whom he regarded as perhaps the most gifted 
of all the avant-garde painters. 

Liubov Popova's extraordinary stature was 
recognized by Costakis by the early 1950s. She, like 
Rozanova, had died while the avant-garde move- 
ment was still in full swing. Costakis, however, 
managed to meet her brother, Pavel Popov, a dis- 



12 



tinguished, elegant professor of philosophy who 
lived in a comfortable five-room apartment, and 
the two men became friends. Although Popov had 
a large collection of his sister's work, he had no 
deep appreciation of it. Costakis purchased literally 
dozens of paintings from him (later giving many of 
them away to friends); Popov often seemed some- 
what relieved to see the large, cumbersome panels 
taken out of the closets where they were stacked. 
Costakis also came to know Popov's stepson and 
acquired most of his several hundred Popova draw- 
ings and gouaches from this source. 

Gustav Klucis, who perished during World 
War II, was another early discovery for Costakis. 
The artist's widow Valentina Kulagina received 
Costakis warmly, and they came to know one 
another well. She is, as he put it, "a wonderful 
woman, beautiful, charming, one of the few wid- 
ows of painters who really understood the quality 
of their husbands' contributions." She had by then 
already donated a considerable collection of her 
husband's work to a museum in Riga. She allowed 
Costakis to purchase much of what was left, includ- 
ing the single remaining "axiometric" painting 
(cat. no. 150). The art historian Nikolai Khardzhiev 
also appreciated the work of Klucis and shared 
Costakis's view of the Latvian's originality and 
brilliance. Few others did. 

Ivan Kliun, whom Costakis had encountered 
once or twice about 1940 at exhibitions in Mos- 
cow, died in 1942. When Costakis began combing 
through exhibition catalogues in the late 1940s, he 
became convinced that Kliun was an important 
figure. He started to look for surviving relatives, 
and after many frustrating attempts, located one of 
Kliun's daughters. She was amazed and delighted 
to encounter, for the first time in her life, someone 
who was interested in her father's work. The doz- 
ens of drawings and watercolors in her possession 
had remained piled in unopened dusty packages 
for decades. Similarly, the paintings (stored with a 
sister) were stacked carelessly in corners. Costakis 
purchased everything by Kliun that he could find, 
although an incalculable number of the artist's 
works had been destroyed during the War, as had 
all of his early constructions —some of wire, others 
of wood. 11 

During the 1950s, according to Costakis, it 
was difficult to find people who took the art of 
Rodchenko, Popova, Rozanova and Kliun seri- 
ously. As he gradually gathered the works of these 
artists into his apartment, he was often ridiculed 
by family and friends. Nonetheless, he continued 
to collect, increasingly confident about the impor- 
tance of his venture. There were certain artists 
whose reputations he knew well, but whose works 
eluded him for many years, and others whose work 
he never found. Thus, although he was able rather 



early on to purchase Malevich's Portrait of Matiu- 
shin from Nikolai Khardzhiev (who helped him in 
many ways), it was years later before he was able to 
purchase works from the collection of Malevich's 
brother. 12 

In the case of the painters in the circle of Mik- 
hail Matiushin (see pp. 74-107), Costakis had 
known of the existence of Matiushin himself and of 
Boris Ender for many years, and he knew that Ender 
was still living in Moscow, a close friend of Khard- 
zhiev. But Ender was reluctant to show his work, 
and Costakis was unable to make contact with him, 
in spite of many attempts. One day, Costakis was 
approached by a friend who asked him to come to 
the hotel where he was staying. When Costakis ar- 
rived, he was shown about a thousand watercolors 
by the Enders (Boris, Yurii, Mariia and Ksenia) and 
three oils by Matiushin, all of which had been re- 
cently bought from the Ender family in Leningrad. 
Costakis, who was instantly struck by the original- 
ity and quality of the paintings, purchased the en- 
tire collection on the spot, for a modest sum. 13 

Ivan Kudriashev was a close friend from the 
mid-1950s. Costakis initially felt no special interest 
in his work, but the two men often talked of Su- 
prematism, of the City of Orenburg, of Unovis (the 
group founded by Malevich), and of Kudriashev's 
own experiences as a friend and follower of Male- 
vich. Ultimately Costakis purchased virtually all the 
surviving early work of Kudriashev, although he 
readily acknowledges that he recognized its impor- 
tance rather late. 

Other discoveries also came belatedly in Cos- 
takis's collecting career. The "engineerists" Kliment 
Redko and Mikhail Plaksin lived into the 1960s, 
but Costakis never met them. His interest in their 
branch of the avant-garde enterprise (see pp. 305, 
307-308) developed about 1965, and his friend the 
art critic Vladimir Kostin helped him to locate Red- 
ko's widow. She herself had only recently discov- 
ered her husband's work of the twenties (which he 
had hidden away and never shown her). As late as 
the mid-1960s, Costakis was still the first person in- 
terested in buying the art of this group. 

Costakis had heard about Sergei Senkin's 
work, but he could scarcely find examples of it; Er- 
milov's he regarded as important but it too eluded 
him. He totally overlooked the Constructivists Kon- 
stantin Medunetsky, Alexei Babichev, Boris Koro- 
lev, Karel Ioganson, Nikolai Ladovsky and others, 
until he acquired the important Inkhuk portfolio 
from Babichev's widow in about 1967. He blames 
himself for not having sought them out earlier. (See 
pp. 126-227.) 

Solomon Nikritin and Vasilii Chekrygin 
were also important discoveries for Costakis. They 
represented an aspect of the avant-garde character- 
ized by spiritual tension, anxiety and romantic ex- 



11 See cat. nos 85, 192. Also Ft., S., C, Costakis. pis 255-58. 
289-90. 293-98. 



12. See Ft.. S , C. Costakis. pis. 474. 476-78, 480-82. 

13 Approximately eight hundred of these works were later stolen from 
Costakis's home In the Soviet Union 



13 



pressiveness. Like Plaksin and Redko, they also 
explored cosmic themes. Nikritin's work, in partic- 
ular, became one of the major centers of his collec- 
tion (with several hundred examples). Chekrygin, 
who died in 1912 at age twenty-five, left almost 
1500 drawings, but very few paintings. Several of 
those which survived entered the Costakis col- 
lection. 

• • • 

This brief introduction has — necessarily — pro- 
vided only a sketch of Costakis's collection and of 
his basic approach. His fundamental aim, over the 
course of more than thirty years, has been to repre- 
sent as broadly as possible the full diversity of the 
Russian avant-garde achievement. Virtually every 
avant-garde artist who worked between ca. 1910 
and the 1930s has, in his view, a legitimate place in 
the history of the movement, and each stage in an 
artist's career is worthy of study. 

In arriving at our selection for the current 
exhibition, we have taken several important con- 
siderations into account. In contrast to the 1977 
presentation of the collection in Diisseldorf, which 
demonstrated the breadth and scope of Costakis's 
present holdings, this second exhibition has a rather 
different focus: it is selective and concentrated in its 
approach, and it singles out a set of individual art- 
ists and groups for presentation in some detail. 
Many of the works in the exhibition are being 
shown in the West for the first time. Although much 
is omitted (the collection contains approximately 
1 2.00 items), 1 ' our hope has been that through the 
particular orientation of our selection we will con- 
tribute to a fuller understanding of certain aspects 



of the avant-garde than has been possible hitherto. 

There are five areas of concentration here: the 
work of Popova, which is represented with unusual 
breadth in the Costakis collection; that of Kliun; 
that of Klucis; Matiushin and his school; and cer- 
tain aspects of the discipline of Constructivism. In 
order to elucidate the contexts within which these 
works were produced, we have used seven conven- 
tional stylistic groupings in this catalogue. But in 
doing so, our intention is not to emphasize the 
theoretical or stylistic uniformity suggested by the 
headings. The label "Suprematism," for example, 
tends to blur the important distinctions that devel- 
oped among the works of Malevich, Kliun, Popova 
and Rozanova, as they formulated their indepen- 
dent approaches to the basic issues embraced by 
the style. The varieties of approach that coexisted 
within every one of the avant-garde's innumerable 
groups and the mobility of the artists between one 
group and another must be borne in mind, and the 
headings given in the catalogue should therefore be 
understood as only general designations for what 
often constituted internally inconsistent and diverse 
tendencies. 

Though we have included some examples of 
the figurative tradition, and some works illustrating 
the cosmic and technological utopianism of the 
1920s in which Costakis has demonstrated exten- 
sive interest, we have not attempted to do full justice 
to these artists and their work. Given the complex- 
ity of the avant-garde movement as a whole, and 
the particular nature of Costakis's present holdings, 
we have chosen rather to place our emphasis upon 
a few, clearly discernible strands. 



14 



14 The precise number of works given by Costakis to the Tretiakov is not 
known. Costakis's present holdings, together with 125 of the works from 
the Tretiakov's Costakis holdings, are reproduced in R., S., C, Costakis 



New Insights into Soviet 
Constructivism: Painting, 
Constructions, Production Art 

by Margit Rowell 



The selection from the George Costakis collection 
exhibited here offers surprises that challenge us to 
reexamine certain premises about the Russian and 
Soviet avant-garde as we thought we knew it. The 
exhibition contains substantial bodies of work by 
artists whom we knew partially, as well as lesser 
bodies of work by artists of whom we knew little 
or nothing. This fragment of the lifetime pursuit of 
an enlightened and impassioned amateur d'art pro- 
vides us with a broader picture and a fuller under- 
standing of a moment in the history of art that is 
fundamental to our comprehension of the art of 
our century. 

A proliferation of exhibitions and publications 
over the last decade has given Western scholars un- 
precedented exposure to the art of pre-Soviet and 
Soviet Russia. At the same time, this exposure has 
engendered a sense of frustration because real 
understanding based on a complete grasp of the 
material continues to elude us. The works and doc- 
uments that have come to the West are often frag- 
mentary and without provenance, and sometimes 
have attributions that cannot be easily confirmed 
owing to our lack of knowledge. The immense value 
of the George Costakis collection is that it is the 
creation of a single man who was intimately in- 
volved with the art and the artists of the period 
1910-1930 and who, in this context, brought to- 
gether an enormous group of works in the Soviet 
Union, drawing only on primary or confirmed sec- 
ondary sources. 

As the present catalogue makes clear, the col- 
lection reveals many areas of formerly uncharted 
terrain in Russian avant-garde art. Among them, 
three areas that are particularly well represented 
seem to us worthy of discussion: the painting of 
Liubov Popova (1889-1924); the constructions of 
the Moscow Inkhuk (the Institute of Painterly Cul- 
ture; 1918-1924) and the utilitarian or "production 
art" which represents the final stage (after 192.1) of 
the Constructivist enterprise. Large bodies of works 
in the Costakis collection illustrate these diverse as- 
pects of Constructivism, which heretofore have 
been difficult to define. 



I 



CONSTRUCTIVIST PAINTING: 
LIUBOV POPOVA 

Up to now, American and European scholars have 
studied the art of Liubov Popova on the basis of 
works dating from the mid-teens to the early 19ZOS 
scattered throughout the West. Despite the sparse- 
ness of this material, it has been generally agreed 
that she was an exceptionally gifted artist. The ap- 
proximately 160 of her works that George Costakis 
brought out of the Soviet Union (only a fraction of 
which are exhibited here) provide us with a fuller 



15 




fig. I 

Liubov Popova 
Still Life. 1908 
Oil on canvas, 29% x 21" (74.5 x 53.5 cm.) 






fig. 2 

Liubov Popova 

Study of a Female Model, n.d. 

Pencil on paper, 10% x 8" (27.1 x 20.2 cm.) 



understanding of this artist's evolution and objec- 
tives; they are, as the Soviet art historian Dmitrii 
Sarabianov has perceptively suggested, 1 emblematic 
of the development of Russian and Soviet art be- 
tween 191a and 192.4. 

Early works by Popova in the Costakis collec- 
tion include a large quantity of individual studies 
and five sketchbooks from the pre-War period. A 
few isolated pictures dated 1906-08 2 already show 
an instinctively sure hand and the clear brilliant pal- 
ette that will characterize her production through- 
out her career. Although one sketchbook is dated 
1914, some may represent the period 1907-08 when 
Popova was studying in Moscow with the painters 
Stanislav Zhukovsky and Konstantin Yuon. The ac- 
ademic exercises — portrait sketches and life studies 
of male and female models (fig. 2) — in these sketch- 
books reflect the conventional form of artistic dis- 
cipline that prevailed in Moscow as it did in every 
other European capital at that time. 

Popova, who belonged to a wealthy and culti- 
vated bourgeois family, traveled early and wide. 
Her first trips, starting in 1909, took her across Rus- 
sia, to St. Petersburg, Kiev, the ancient cities of 
Novgorod, Pskov, Rostov, Suzdal, Pereslavl and 
others (famous for their icons), and then to Italy in 
1910. Although she probably discovered Cezanne, 
Gauguin and the Impressionist tradition under 
Zhukovsky's and Yuon's guidance, her interest in 



modern painting is thought to date from approxi- 
mately 1911 when she entered Vladimir Tariin's 
studio. 3 That same year, she was probably intro- 
duced to Sergei Shchukin's great collection of mod- 
ern French art in Moscow, as indicated by the 
Cezannesque sketches of foliage in the Costakis 
collection which predate her first trip to Paris in 
1912 (figs. 3 and 4). Contemporaneous sketches of 
trees, some of which show a marked primitivism — 
in their use of heavy ink lines, almost childlike 
awkwardness and complete lack of perspective or 
illusionism — reflect her contacts with Natalia Gon- 
charova, Mikhail Larionov and the "World of Art" 
group (Mir iskusstva) animated by Sergei Diaghilev 
in the 1890s (fig. 5). These studies show no attempt 
at verisimilitude but rather an effort to distill the 
fundamental structural patterns and organic 
rhythms of her subjects (fig. 6). 

In the fall of 1912, Popova left for Paris where, 
along with the painters Nadezhda Udaltsova and 
Vera Pestel, she studied with the Cubists Le Fau- 
connier and Metzinger. Upon her return to Mos- 
cow in 191 3, she worked once again with Tatlin 
and with Alexei Morgunov. In 1914, she traveled 
once more to France and Italy, but when war broke 
out, she returned to Russia. 4 

Beginning in 1913, Popova's studies of nudes 
became radically different from her earlier academic 
exercises. Some (fig. 7) make direct reference to 



16 



1 Dmitrii Sarabianov. "The Painting ot Liubov Popova!' in LACMA. 
pp. 42-45. 

2. For example, tig. 1. 



3 There she worked alongside the painters Viktor Bart, Kirill Zdanevich 
and Anna Troianovskaia Sarabianov, in LACMA, p 42 

4 The sketchbook dated 1914 contains copy drawings of mythological 
subjects and Baroque sculpture presumably made on this Italian trip. 



fig- 3 

Liubov Popova 

Study of Foliage, n.d. 

Ink on paper, 14 x 9%" (35.5 x 22.5 cm.) 



fig- 4 

Liubov Popova 

Study of Foliage, n.d. 

Pencil and ink on paper, 14% x %%" 

(35.4x22.1 cm.) 





fig- 5 

Liubov Popova 

Study of Trees, n.d. 

Ink on paper, 14 x 8%" (35.5 x 22.4 cm.' 



fig- 6 

Liubov Popova 

Study of Trees, n.d. 

Ink on paper, 14 x 9%" (35.6 x 22.5 cm.) 





17 




Metzinger's form of Cubist painting. Others (cat. 
nos. 15, 16), through the reduction of the body to 
a play of open, nested cones, appear to echo Bocci- 
oni's Development of a Bottle in Space (see p. 46, 
fig. b) which Popova probably saw in the Italian 
Futurist's Paris exhibition in the early summer of 
1913. Still others may reflect Tallin's influence in 
their rigorous structural and axial articulations 
which underscore the fulcrums of the body's move- 
ment (compare fig. 8 and fig. a, p. 5 1 with cat. nos. 
10,11). 

The years 1914-15 maybe identified as Pop- 
ova's mature Cubo-Futurist period. At the outset, 
her paintings reveal her assimilation of Western 
pictorial devices; these gradually submerge in her 
later, more synthetic and autonomous style. The 
earlier works of 1913-14 show definite French 
and Italian influences: in her choice of subject mat- 
ter, her palette (predominantly greens and browns), 
her disjointed geometric volumes and her weaving 
together of subject and environment through a 
continuous rhythmic pattern of modular forms. In 
some paintings, such as Italian Still Life of 19 14 
(fig. 9), she uses collage and letters from the Roman 
fig. 7 alphabet. Her Portrait (cat. no. 18) and the closely 

Liubov Popova related Philosopher (fig. 10), both of 1914-15, con- 

Stttdy. n.d. ta j n Roman lettering as well. 5 

Pencil on paper on paper, 10% x %Va" (26.7 x 21 cm.) fiy ^^ however5 by which time Russian art . 

ists had become acutely conscious of being cut off 
from the West by the War, Popova was using the 
Cyrillic alphabet, a more brilliant palette inspired 
by native Russian art and simulated wall-paper tex- 
tures and patterns rather than real collage. Also by 
1915, her swift diagonals, circular rhythms and ara- 
besques softly highlighted with white echo those in 
Balla's 1913-14 studies of the effects of velocity and 
light, some of which were published in Boccioni's 
Scultura pittura futuriste of March 1914, which 
conceivably she could have seen. These devices 
structure her paintings quite independent of subject 
matter and recall Boccioni's introduction to his 
1913 exhibition catalogue, where he wrote: "One 
must completely forget the figure enclosed in its 
traditional line and, on the contrary, present it as 
the center of plastic directions in space." 6 

The Russian encounter with French Cubism 
and Italian Futurism was timely in that the artists 
of all three countries were seeking the bases of a 
new formal language. In Russia, as in France and 
Italy, avant-garde painters and poets alike were in- 
vestigating devices for breaking up traditional pat- 
terns of expression. In the summer of 191 3 the 
poet Nikolai Kruchenykh enunciated the perspec- 
fj„_ g tive that was shared by the visual artists: "A new 

Vladimir Tatlin content can only be obtained when we have worked 

Study. r9ii-i4 out new devices, when we have worked out a new 

Pencil on paper, i6 l Yi 6 x 10*4 " (43 x 26 cm.) form. The new form therefore implies a new con- 

Collection State Archives of Literature and Art, Moscow tent, and thus it is the form that defines the con- 




■|g 5. The letters "LAC" and "RBA" seen in the two Moscow paintings 

suggest a reference to the Italian magazine Lacerba. published 1913-15 

6 Umberto Boccioni, Preface, Ike Exposition de sculpture futuriste du 
peintre et sculpteur futuriste Boccioni. June 20-July 16. 1913, in Paris, 
Galerie La Boetie; translated and quoted in Robert L. Herbert, ed. 
Modern Artists on Art. Englewood Cliffs, N.J, 1964, p 49 




fig- 9 

Liubov Popova 

Italian Still Life. 1914 

Oil, wax and paper collage on canvas, 24% x 19%" 

(61.9 X48.9 cm.) 

Collection Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow 




fig. 10 

Liubov Popova 

The Philosopher. 1914-15 

Oil on canvas, zz 7 /ux 15%" (57x40cm.) 

Private Collection, Moscow 



19 




fig. II 

Vladimir Tatlin 
Painting Relief, ca. 1914 
Wood, metal, plastic and glass 
Now lost 



tent." 7 The orientation of both poets and painters 
as reflected here identifies content with formal 
structure, not with subject matter. Although the 
artists' motivations and premises were quite dissim- 
ilar from one country to another (and indeed it may 
be said of Picasso and Braque that they had no the- 
oretical program at all), the breakthroughs in the 
visual arts occurring in the West provided Russian 
artists with plastic devices for revitalizing their vo- 
cabulary and syntax, even though they rejected as- 
pects of the French painters' practice as "passive" 
and anecdotal, as opposed to "active" and "con- 
structive." 

Tatlin's visit to Picasso's studio in Paris in the 
spring of 191 3 and his encounter with Picasso's con- 
structions coincided with his own search for a way 
out of established pictorial conventions. By late 
1913-early 1914, he was working on the abstract 
constructions he called "painting reliefs" and later 
"counter-reliefs" (fig. n), possibly referring to their 
aesthetic position counter to conventional bas- 
reliefs. Little by little Tatlin elaborated a compen- 
dium of forms that he believed corresponded to the 
properties of his materials. According to principles 
he developed at this time, each material, through its 
structural laws, dictates specific forms. These forms 
exist in the simplest everyday objects. For example, 
the basic form of wood is a flat geometric plane; the 
basic form of glass is a curved shell or flat pane; the 
basic form of metal is a rolled cylinder or cone. Tat- 
lin believed that these laws and their respective 
forms should be considered in the conception and 
execution of a work of art, and this would assure 
that the work would be governed by the laws of life 
itself. Only then could the work have significance, 
according to the new aesthetic and social impera- 
tives regarding art's function that were evolving 
during the pre-Revolutionary period in Russia. 

Popova worked closely with Tatlin in 1912 
and again in 1913, prior to her first trip to Paris and 
after her return from Western Europe. Her painting 
of 19 14-15, Portrait (cat. no. 18), suggests a knowl- 
edge of his premises, even though the work remains 
figurative and has no three-dimensional elements 
added to its surface. The flat black planes, the 
curved conic shapes — which appear to project from 
the surface and enclose space — and the transparent 
zones in the lower foreground evoke the basic forms 
as Tatlin defined them for wood, metal and glass. 
The painting also recalls aspects of the work of 
Alexander Archipenko whose studio in Paris Pop- 
ova visited during her 19 12-13 sojourn in the French 
capital. 8 She may have visited him again in 1914. 
Precisely at this time, the Ukrainian sculptor was 
working on mixed-media anthropomorphic con- 
structions, using wood, metal and glass. In the same 
years Boccioni too was working on mixed media 
constructions, and he exhibited some of them in 
1913 at the Galerie La Boetie. 



20 



7 Alexei Kruchenykh, "The New Paths of the Word!' in Troe (The Three), 
1913; translated and quoted by A. B Nakov, Introduction, in Edinburgh, 
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Liberated Colour and Form: 
Russian Non-Obiective Art 1915-1922, Aug 10-Sept 10, 1978, p. 11 



8, Vasilii Rakitin, "Liubov Popova' 
Avant-Garde, p. 198, 



in Women Artists of the Russian 




fig. IZ 

Liubov Popova 

Relief. 1915 

Painted papers on cardboard, z6Vs X 19%" 

(66.3 x 48.5 cm.) 

Museum Ludwig, Cologne (Ludwig Collection) 



21 




fig- 13 

Liubov Popova 

Architectonic Composition. 1917-18 

Oil on canvas, 41%,$ x 35%<j" (105.5 x 9° cm -) 

Private Collection, Moscow 




fig. 14 

Vladimir Tatlin 

Study for a Counter-Relief. 1914 

Gouache and charcoal on paper, I97is x I37is" 

(49.3x34.2 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 

Gift of the Lauder Foundation 



22 



9 As opposed to bas-reliefs. Two ol these reliefs are still extant: Jug on 
the Table (see fig. c, p. 47). Collection Tretiakov Gallery. Moscow 
(ex-Costakis collection); and Relief. Museum Ludwig. Cologne (Ludwig 
Collection), fig. 12 here (cf. Tatlin's Painting Relief ca. 1914, fig. .11). 
The third (fig f, p 47) is presumed destroyed but was reproduced in 
Arp's and El Lissitzky's Kunstismen in 1925, fig. 62, p. 31, and there 
dated 1916 Jug on the Table is definitely dated 1915 and there is reason 
to think that the other two reliefs were executed the same year 



In 1915, Popova made three reliefs that are 
documented. 9 Aside from the choice of forms and 
their projection from the wall, the works are unlike 
Tatlin's counter-reliefs. Popova's use of bright col- 
ors and painterly shading define these as "plastic 
paintings," as she chose to call them. 10 They are 
"paintings in relief" belonging to her Cubo-Futurist 
mode, rather than works that can be called Con- 
structivist, as Tatlin's work exemplified the term — 
that is, of specific forms dictated by specific raw 
materials. 

In 1916, Popova's allegiance temporarily 
shifted away from Tatlin to the "Supremus" group 
which centered on Kazimir Malevich and included 
Ivan Kliun, Olga Rozanova, Alexandra Exter, Vlad- 
imir Markov, Udaltsova and Pestel among others 
(see fig. a, p. no, and cat. no. 106). Yet Suprema- 
tist theory could not truly satisfy her because she 
was already deeply involved in the spatial and con- 
ceptual premises of Constructivism which were 
incompatible with Malevich's more mystically ori- 
ented aesthetics of nonobjectivity. Nonetheless, her 
work of this period, like that of her friend Udaltsova 
(see cat. nos. 116-18), shows a formal debt to Male- 
vich in its open space, floating planar forms and 
clear flat color. In this period Popova produced 
beautiful works which bear her personal stamp, but 
the phase was short-lived. 

An anomalous period of post-Cubist abstrac- 
tion followed in Popova's art (cat. no. 107). The 
works identified with this phase are generally dated 
1917-18. In these paintings, some motifs can be 
read as fragmented reminiscences of Cubist still 
lifes. The colors appear arbitrary; the highlighting 
recalls Malevich's rather stiffly rendered modeling 
in his paintings of around 1912. where it does not 
shape volumetric form. Popova's planes overlap, 
but without a strong structural logic. Further, the 
frontal organization, cylindrical and conic shapes 
and diagonal lines seen, for example, in Architec- 
tonic Composition (fig. 13) recall features of some 
of Tatlin's counter-reliefs (see fig. 14 and cat. no. 161) 

Popova arrived at her most personal idiom in 
1918. Between 1918 and 1922, her canvases illus- 
trate the clearest and most consistent conception of 
Constructivism in painting to appear in the Soviet 
Union or anywhere else. These works demonstrate 
how Constructivism, generally understood through 
Tatlin's ideas as a sculptural idiom which reflects 
and embodies the true nature of materials, encom- 
passed painting in the theory and practice that 
evolved among Tatlin's followers. 

Tatlin's original experiments starting in 191 3- 
14 — his counter-reliefs — emphasized the use of 
real materials in real space. The most famous group 
of Constructivists, who adopted the name in 1921 
and exhibited under it for the first time that same 
year, were artists who worked in three-dimensional 



form. Yet in the Russian concept of faktura, a phi- 
losophy of materials that may have been at the ori- 
gin of the Constructivist aesthetic, paint itself was 
considered an autonomous expressive medium. 
Nikolai Tarabukin, a Constructivist artist and the- 
oretician, wrote in 1923: "If we apply this general 
definition [of construction] to painting, we must 
consider as elements of pictorial construction, the 
material and real elements of the canvas, which is 
to say the paint or medium, whatever it may be, the 
texture, the structure of color, the technique and 
other elements unified by the composition (as a 
principle) and constituting altogether the work of 
art (as a system.)" 11 

Briefly then, according to the principle of fak- 
tura, not only wood or metal, but the substance of 
the paint surface itself — its thickness, glossiness, 
technique of application — was considered a texture 
or fabric (a faktura) that generates specific forms. 12 
And it was believed that this fundamental premise 
would change the function and significance of the 
work of art. The narrative function of figurative art 
would be replaced by a self-contained system. 

Thus, artists such as Popova, Exter, and Alex- 
andr Rodchenko concentrated on the qualities and 
potential of paint as an autonomous medium of 
expression, the vocabulary unique to the painting 
experience. They set out to remove all references to 
illusion, narrative or metaphor from their art. As 
Rozanova stated in 1913, the painter should "speak 
solely the language of pure plastic experience." 11 
This was an idea she expressed in an astonishing 
painting of 1 9 17 (cat.no. 105). Through her contact 
with Malevich in 1916, Popova had acquired the 
pictorial notion of the plane freed in space. But 
upon her return to Tatlin's studio, she reverted to 
a more materialistic concept of painting, focusing 
on color, plane, line and texture as entities to be 
manipulated to create dynamic compositions and 
new content. Whereas Malevich sought to ethereal- 
ize space and render it less determinate, Popova 
sought to materialize it and render it active, pal- 
pable, complex. 

Two of Popova's paintings, both titled Paint- 
erly Architectonics and both of 1918-19 (cat. nos. 
176-77), are eloquent examples of pure spatial artic- 
ulation defined by the materials, which is to say the 
artist's use of paint. In both paintings, the planes 
do not so much overlap (a technique that implies 
at least a shallow spatial depth) as interpenetrate. 
Even the small black motifs in cat. no. 176, although 
they recall Malevich, do not float. They are set, as 
though encrusted, in the single plane that defines 
this composition. The diagonal thrusts solicit a per- 
spectival reading while simultaneously defying it. 
The use of white creates ambivalent effects of trans- 
parency and reflection. Both paintings are executed 
with small busy brushstrokes which create subtle 



10. A postcard dated October 25, 1915 (Costakis collection) from 
Popova to her tnend Adda Dege shows a reproduction of Jug on the Table, 
under which Popova has written "'Nature morte'" (in French) and 
"plastic painting" (in Russian). R., S.. C, Costakis, pis. 815-16. 

11. Nikolai Tarabukin. "Ot molberta k mashine" trans into French as 
Du Chevalet & la machine!' in A. B Nakov, ed„ Nikolai Taraboukine 

Le dernier tableau, Paris, 1972, pp. 42-43. (All translations trom the 
French are by the author.) 



12. For additional information on the concept of faktura. see Margit Rowell, 
"Vladimir Tatlin: Form/Faktura:' October, no. 7, winter 1978. pp. 83-108. 

13. From an unpublished manifesto of the "Union of Youth" group, 
St. Petersburg. Mar. 28. 1913. edited by Rozanova: quoted in Nakov. 
Liberated Colour and Form, p. 4. 



23 



gradations and tonal passages from one area or hue 
to another. Cat. no. 177 is purely about space; one 
can hardly speak of planes for they appear dema- 
terialized. 

In 1920 Popova joined the Moscow Inkhuk 
(the Institute of Painterly Culture) where the con- 
cepts of "construction" and Constructivism were 
debated throughout the winter of 1920-21. But 
already by 1918-19, the dates of the paintings dis- 
cussed above, Popova had used the term "construc- 
tive" and formulated ideas that were obviously in 
the air: 

"What is of importance now is the form or part of 
a form, line, color or texture that takes an imme- 
diate part in the painterly construction — Hence 
it is clear why an objective 14 form is quite super- 
fluous — such a form always possesses aconstruc- 
tive components. ... A transformed form is an 
abstract one and is completely subject to archi- 
tectonic necessity and ... to the general construc- 
tive objectives. The artist gains complete freedom 
in absolute nonobjectivity, orienting and con- 
structing the lines, planes, volumetrical elements 
and color weight. Depictive art can never be an 
authentic art. . . P 
A common itinerary followed by the Constructivist 
painter (as exemplified by Popova and Rodchenko 
in particular) was from experiments with color and 
plane to experiments with line. As early as 19 15 
Rodchenko had emphasized the line as an objective 
anonymous element of painting; and by way of il- 
lustration, he used a compass to point up the pure 
function of line, which to his mind defied individual 
sensibility, subjectivity or style. In 1919 Popova 
wrote: "Line as color and as the vestige of the trans- 
verse plane participates in, and directs the forces 
of, construction Energetics = direction of vol- 
umes + planes and lines or their vestiges + all col- 
ors." 16 By 1921, Popova was working intensively 
on more linear experiments such as the Spatial 
Force Constructions (cat. nos. 180, 182). Her works 
of this period were often executed directly on 
wooden panels, reflecting the artist's allegiance to 
Tatlin's ethic of "truth to materials." Because she 
now considered color superfluous, she reduced her 
palette, generally to black and white and sometimes 
red. The circles in Spatial Force Construction, 
1920-21 (cat. no. 180), are drawn with a compass. 
The straight lines are less precise. The linear com- 
ponents of the work are painted with smooth, some- 
what glossy paint. In the "shaded" areas, the paint 
is thicker and more matte and appears gritty. Here 
is an exemplary illustration of Tatlin's theory that 
the material dictates the technique and the tech- 
nique the forms: thin smooth paint demands a pre- 
cision instrument, whereas thicker paint requires a 



dabbing technique and produces, as a result, less 
precise configurations. Popova's works from this 
period are more austere than her earlier paintings. 
They contain no spatial ambiguities, no light re- 
flection, no "transparency." At the same time the 
physical presence of paint is more aggressive, as 
for example in Spatial Force Construction (cat. 
no. 182). 

This premise — that different mediums impose 
specific techniques and generate different kinds of 
imagery — appears in the work of other Moscow 
Constructivists, which confirms that they typify 
Constructivist painting practice. A case in point is 
the painting of Gustav Klucis. Between 1919 and 
1921, Klucis attended the Svomas/ Vkhutemas, 17 the 
state-run art studios, and was already in close con- 
tact with Malevich in 191 8-19, and with Naum 
Gabo and Antoine Pevsner in i9i9. 18 He was thus 
exposed to the tenets and practices of both Suprem- 
atism and Constructivism, and his painting Dy- 
namic City oi 1919-1921 (cat. no. 150), for example, 
is a unique synthesis of these ideas. It demonstrates 
a Constructivist awareness of the diverse effects of 
glossy and matte textures in a composition painted 
on board. However, the results are quite different 
from those of Popova. The lighter areas are painted 
in such a way as to produce the effect of a shiny 
enamel; yet somehow these glossy surfaces have an 
almost ethereal transparency and evoke a cosmic 
spatial continuum. In contrast, the grittiness of the 
blacks evokes the texture of cement. The inherent 
contradictions of the central image, drawn with a 
compass and ruler and endowed with a presence 
which is at once aggressively physical and demate- 
rialized or illusionistic, and the Suprematist space 
in which it floats, create a truly unsettling image. 

In 1920, the year he painted his Linearism (cat. 
no. 171); Rodchenko formulated a text for a lecture 
to the Moscow Inkhuk group on the significance 
of the line: 

Recently, having devoted myself exclusively to 
the construction of forms and to their system of 
construction, 19 I have introduced in the plane- 
surface the line as a new element of construction. 
This led to a definitive clarification of the line's 
significance, both in its function as a limit and 
border, and as a major factor in the construction 
of every organism in life: skeleton, base, frame- 
work or system. The line is a beginning and an 
end in painting, as, more generally, in any con- 
struction. . . . 

Thus the line has won a total victory and re- 
duced to nothing the last bastions of painting: 
color, tone, texture, and the plane-surface. . . . 20 
Having stated the primary importance of the 
line as the element which alone allows for con- 



24 



14. In this context, "objective" should be understood as "representational" 
and as opposed to "nonobjective!' 

15. Rakitin. "Liubov Popova: From Her Manuscripts and Notes:' in 
Women Artists of the Russian Avant-Garde, p 211. 

16. From the artist's contribution to the catalogue of X Gosudarstvennaia 
vystavka, Bespredmetnoe tvorchestvo i suprematizm, Moscow. 1919, 

p. 22; translated and quoted by John E. Bowlt in "From Surface to Space: 
The Art of Liubov Popova;' The Structurist, nos. 15/16, 1975-76, p. 85. 

17. See p. 25 here. 

18. Naum Gabo's and Antoine Pevsner's 1920 Realistic Manifesto is of 
crucial importance to the understanding of the history of Constructivism 



but its discussion falls outside the scope of this study Although the 
Pevsner brothers preferred to refer to the subject of their program 
as "Realism" (denoting the "reality" of the self-contained, self- 
referential object), this manifesto laid out the fundamental premises of 
Constructivist theory and practice (See Stephen Bann, ed., The Tradition 
of Constructivism, New York, 1972, pp. 3-11, for a complete translation 
of the Manifesto.) 

19. Rodchenko is referring not only to his paintings but to his hanging 
spatial constructions. See cat no. 172. 

20. Andrei B. Nakov calls attention to the fact that as early as 1914 the 
Ukrainian Futurist Alexandr Bogomazov had foreseen a conflict between 



struction and creation, we by the same token re- 
pudiate all aesthetic of color, as well as factural 
concerns [concerns for jaktura] and concerns for 

style 

The line has revealed a new vision of reality: 
to construct, literally, and not to represent, to be 
in the objective or the nonobjective, to build con- 
structivist functional equipment in life and not 
from life and outside of life. 21 

This text on the line helps clarify Rodchenko's 
linear experiments both on a painted surface and in 
space. Further, it provides a point of departure for 
understanding the concentration on dynamic struc- 
tural line in the three-dimensional constructions 
which were the prime examples of Constructivism 
between 19 19 and 1922. It announces new priorities 
and, in so doing, elucidates the shift of emphasis 
from surface to space, from planar constructions 
referring in one way or another to a two-dimen- 
sional surface, to open freestanding structures in 
space. 

II 

CONSTRUCTIONS: 
THE MOSCOW INKHUK 

A study of the three-dimensional Constructivist 
works produced in the early 1920s has been difficult 
up to now, owing to a lack of documentation and 
an understanding of the distinctions and interrela- 
tions as well as the motivations and objectives of 
the various groups and single artists involved. Art- 
ists used the term "constructive" or "construction" 
during the period 1920-22 sometimes with what 
appear as contradictory meanings. Those most ac- 
tively and consistently involved with defining Con- 
structivist theory and practice were the Inkhuk and 
the Vkhutemas (Higher State Art-Technical Studios, 
which originated as the Free State Art Studios). The 
Inkhuk, founded in May 1920 at the initiative of 
Kandinsky, was essentially a theoretical and re- 
search-oriented group. After May 1920, under the 
new leadership of Alexei Babichev, it redirected 
its program of formal analysis toward a definition 
of "the constructive" or the basic premises of Con- 
structivism. The Vkhutemas, on the other hand, 
was a pedagogical institution comparable in many 
aspects — and in particular in the conception of its 
first-year course — to the better-known Bauhaus. 
Originally formulated in 1918 as the Svomas or 
Free State Art Studios, the Vkhutemas like the Ink- 
huk was reorganized in late 1920 according to a 
decree by Anatolii Lunacharsky, the People's Com- 
missar of Enlightenment. Its new statutes reflected 
a greater commitment to Constructivism (although 
it had not yet been formally named), and its objec- 



tive was to train artists for the new Communist 
society and economy. These two institutions com- 
plemented each other in their respective dedication 
to theory and practice; furthermore, many Inkhuk 
members, such as Popova, Exter, Rodchenko, Kliun, 
Varvara Stepanova, and Alexei Babichev, were pro- 
fessors at the Vkhutemas. 

Although at one time it was common among 
Western scholars to divide the history of Con- 
structivism during the period 1919-1922 into a 
"laboratory" phase (emphasizing formal experi- 
mentation) and a "Productivist" phase (directed 
towards utilitarian objectives), as new evidence has 
become available, it is increasingly clear that in 
reality the situation was more complex: both ap- 
proaches existed simultaneously by 1920-21. 

Babichev's program for the Inkhuk, presented 
in December 1920, proposed a "Working Group of 
Objective Analysis," which would devote itself to 
both "theoretical" and "laboratory" investigations 
of the basic elements of the work of art, identified 
as "color, faktura, material, construction, etc." 22 
The underlying premise was "that the structure of 
a work arises from its elements and the laws of 
their organization (construction, composition, and 
rhythm of the elements.)" 23 The program was fur- 
ther defined as follows: 

Neither the creative process, nor the process of 
perception, the defined aesthetic emotion, is the 
object of analysis, but those real forms which, 
created by the artist, are found in the already 
finished work. Consequently the form of the 
work and its elements are the material for 
analysis, and not the psychology of the creation, 
nor the psychology of aesthetic perception, nor 
the historical, cultural, sociological or other 
problems of art. 24 

This explication was formulated in direct op- 
position to Kandinsky's statement of aims for the 
Inkhuk which drew upon the psychological and 
physiological effects and subjective responses pro- 
duced by each constituent of the work of art. 2 '' 

Babichev's concept of a "material self-con- 
tained object" 26 lent itself to a broad range of 
interpretations: it could be anything from an ab- 
stract structure to an industrial object. Eventually a 
controversy arose between those for whom ma- 
terial and formal concerns were paramount (the 
"objectists"), and others for whom this idealized 
conception of the object represented merely a tran- 
sitory phase on the path to truly productive or 
utilitarian art, which they considered the only 
worthy aim. 

In 1921, the "Working Group of Objective 
Analysis" split into subgroups, one of which, the 
"First Working Group of Constructivists" — 



the line (as non-representational) and the plane (as reptesentational). 
The opposition would lead to "a struggle in which total victory is 
impossible (or this would mean the destruction of the pictorial plane 
and the pictorial plane cannot tie eliminated tor every representation 
which lays claim to the status of plastic art is linked to the pictorial 
plane!' Bogomazov, "Painting and Its Elements!' unpublished 
manuscript of 1914; quoted in Nakov, Liberated Colour and Form, p. 9. 

21. Alexandr Rodchenko, "The Line'.' Arts Magazine, vol. 47. 
May-June 1973, pp. 50-52; translation and notes by A. B. Nakov. 

22 Report on the Inkhuk, in Russkoe iskusstvo. nos. 2-3, 1923, p. 85; 
translated and quoted by Lodder in Constructivism 



23. Khan-Magomedov. "The Inkhuk Discussion!' p. 43 (trans. 
Marian Schwartz). 

24. Nikolai Tarabukin. unpublished and undated manuscript, private 
archive, Moscow; translated and quoted by Lodder, Constructivism. 

25. See Vieri Ouilici, L archilettura del costruttivismo. Bari, 1969, 
pp. 485-86, for Kandinsky's program. Also see pp. 226-27 here. 

26. See Lodder, Constructivism. The term in quotation marks is taken 
from the 1923 Inkhuk report. 



25 



assembled in March 1921 — included Rodchenko, 
Stepanova, Konstantin Medunetsky, the Stenberg 
brothers and Karel Ioganson. Lectures and discus- 
sions were held under the auspices of the Inkhuk in 
an attempt to determine the basic elements of art 
and their organizational laws. A number of sessions 
addressed the formal and functional distinctions 
between composition and construction, during 
which the definition of construction emerged as the 
central issue for debate, partially based on the un- 
derstanding that this was the form of creativity 
which corresponded to the character and answered 
the needs of the new Communist society. Often the 
debates were supported by visual material illustrat- 
ing the issues at hand. According to the Soviet art 
historian S. O. Khan-Magomedov, 27 most of the 
artists presented two works in the course of these 
theoretical discussions, one representative of a 
"composition," the other of a "construction." 

In the autumn of 1921, the publication of a 
collection of theoretical essays and illustrative ma- 
terial was planned, to be called From Figurative- 
ness to Construction. Not surprisingly, the penury 
of the times prevented its appearance. A group of 
drawings devoted to this subject was preserved in 
Babichev's personal archives and is now in the 
Costakis collection (see cat. nos. 184-208). The 
dates that are sometimes inscribed on the front of 
each drawing indicate that the works were exe- 
cuted throughout the year 1921; many bear the 
inscription "composition" or "construction," con- 
firming their origin in the discussions of that year, 
and perhaps as well their relevance to the planned 
publication. 

Notwithstanding the clarity of the minutes of 
the meetings in which the artists discussed the func- 
tional distinctions between these two forms of 
creative activity, at first glance the visual differences 
are not always clear. For example, the theoretical 
conclusions drawn up after the first session were: 

Construction is the effective organization of 

material elements. 

The signs of Constructivism: 

1 ) The best possible organization of materials. 

2) The absence of excess elements. 

The plan of Constructivism is the conjunction of 
lines and the planes and forms defined by them; 
it is a system of forces. 

In general, most of the artists seemed to concur 
that a construction was an organization of ma- 
terials based on necessity and function, whereas, in 
Popova's words, "composition is the regular but 
tasteful distribution of materials." 28 

A closer examination of the works reveals cer- 
tain visual characteristics that do relate, in one way 
or another, to the theoretical positions of the 
artists. The "composition" drawings tend for the 
most part to emphasize two-dimensionality and a 



harmonious pictorial organization that relates in 
many cases to the format of the support. They in- 
clude elements that are aesthetically pleasing but 
not structurally essential. Lines do not strictly de- 
fine forms or suggest materials; the integral organi- 
zation creates visual balance rather than tension. 
Moreover, many of these drawings are executed in 
soft, sometimes colored, pencil, reinforcing the 
intentionally pictorial character. 

Conversely, the "construction" drawings 
imply a three-dimensional vision, and depict closed 
planar shapes which correspond to the vocabulary 
of specific sculptural materials. The forms interact 
according to a tensional articulation based on the 
structural logic of the image. Often the medium is 
hard pencil or ink, evoking the technique of in- 
dustrial "shop" drawings. 

Since most of the Inkhuk artists by this time 
considered "construction" the language of the 
future and "composition" an idiom of the past, 
many chose to differentiate deliberately between 
their illustrations of the two. For example, Stepa- 
nova's "composition" (cat. no. 204) is a flat figura- 
tive image (of a head and torso) typical of her 
painting production around 1920-21 (see cat. no. 
174). Her "construction" (cat. no. 205) is radically 
different. Entitled "Planar Structure" by Khan- 
Magomedov, 29 it is a collage in which every com- 
ponent is essential to the whole, and it is close in 
concept to the collages in her 1919 book Gaust 
Chaba (cat. no. 183). As she said: 

When one of its parts is separated from it, a com- 
position does not decisively lose its sense and is 
not destroyed; it merely requires some rearrange- 
ment of the remaining parts or the addition of 
other parts. In construction the removal of any 
part entails the destruction of the whole con- 
struction. 30 

At a later date, Stepanova elaborated further, 
stating that in a composition, the artist "strives 'to 
transmit his feelings consciously from reality' " 
whereas a construction 

is linked with the real making of the object, apart 
from representativeness, apart from contempla- 
tiveness or the artist's conscious attitude toward 
nature. Construction is the creation of an abso- 
lutely new organism. . . . Genuine construction 
appears only in real objects operating in real 
space. 31 

Vladimir Stenberg's training as an engineer is 
visible in his "construction" (cat. no. 203), which 
reflects an engineer's vision and drafting technique. 
Yet his "composition" (cat. no. 202) is a pure 
graphic arrangement, without depth, 32 tension, or 
any suggestion of materials. The contrast between 
Medunetsky's "construction" and his "composi- 
tion" (cat. nos. 197 and 196 respectively) may be 
described in analogous terms. Medunetsky, trained 



26 



27 Khan-Magomedov. p. 61 

28. Khan-Magomedov. "The Inkhuk Discussion!' pp. 54-55. 

29. In Khan-Magomedov, see fig. 18. p. 75. Khan-Magomedov's titles 
derive from an inveriory list in the State Archives, Moscow. 



30. Paraphrased ibid . p 49. This statement dates from January 28. 1921 

31. May 25. 1921. Quoted ibid. p. 60. 

32. The notion of "depth" derives from Gabo's and Pevsner's Realistic 
Manifesto (see fn. 18) It does not denote illusionistic perspective but 
rather the real, multidimensional "spatiality" of a work. 



as a painter, by this time thought differently about 
his former discipline: "It is good that we have moved 
away from savoring surfaces, from textural beauty 
in painting. Materials demand construction, and in 
spatial objects there is none of the old savoring of 
materials." 33 Yet Ioganson criticized Medunetsky's 
spatial constructions (fig. 15) as "merely the repre- 
sentation of technical construction" because they 
showed no respect for specific materials. 34 

Boris Korolev and Babichev, both trained as 
sculptors, seem to have approached the problem 
with a more acute sense of its implications. Each 
appears to have attempted to use the same reper- 
tory of formal components for the two projects. 
Korolev analyzes the premise of the proposed pub- 
lication From Figurativeness to Construction quite 
literally. His "composition" (cat. no. 193) shows a 
schematized human figure of somewhat arbitrary 
organization. Parts of this depiction are reiterated 
in his "construction" (cat. no. 194), distilled to 
their geometric essence of lines and planes and 
newly organized according to an austere structural 
logic. Babichev's "composition" (cat. no. 184) is 
frontal, static and balanced; the shapes express 
little function or content. By contrast, his "con- 
struction" (cat. no. 185) is a profile organization of 
the same elements so tightly related that their inter- 
dependence creates the integrity of the whole; the 
elimination of one part would cause the image to 
collapse. Some months before he executed these 
two drawings, Babichev had stated: 

In any art the form of active interaction has mean- 
ing only as an expression of a known force. 
Therefore we replace the concept of the relation 
of forms with the relation of their work, their 
forces, their functions. . . . Construction is the 
organic unity of material forms attained through 
the exposure [revelation] of their [intrinsic] 
functions. 35 

Both Rodchenko and Babichev, echoing Tat- 
lin, emphasized materials as form-dictating agents. 
Further, most of the artists claimed that their "con- 
structions" were projects to be executed in "real 
materials" and "real space." Yet visibly, the focus 
had shifted from Tatlin's original preoccupation 
with materials to a study of the interrelations be- 
tween forms and forces in interaction, expressed 
through line, depth and tensional organization; 
from a respect for the laws of "plastic necessity" to 
a respect for the laws of "mechanical necessity"; 36 
from the inspiration of observed reality to the ab- 
stract conception of the forces underlying that 
reality. This may help explain why the "spatial 
structures" that were actually built in the early 
twenties by Medunetsky, the Stenberg brothers and 
Ioganson (see fig. 16) stand in stark contrast to 
Tatlin's and Gabo's first planar structures of 
1913-15. Technological form or "technical con- 







fig- 15 

Konstantin Medunetsky 
Construction No. J57. 1919 

Tin, brass and iron, h.: 10%" (17.6 cm.), base, painted 
metal, 7x7x7" (17.8 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm.) 
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of Col- 
lection Societe Anonyme 



fig. 16 (pp. 28-29) 

Installation view of Third Obmokhu Exhibition, Mos- 
cow, 1921 

Linear constructions by Stenberg brothers (central area), 
Ioganson (on I. and r.) and Medunetsky (r. background) 
were included as well as hanging constructions by Rod- 
chenko (upper center and r.) 



33. Quoted in Khan-Magomedov, "The Inkhuk Discussion'.' p. 59. 

34. Ibid., p. 53. 

35. At the first session of discussions held at the Inkhuk by the "Working 
Group of Objective Analysis!' Jan. 1, 1921. Ibid, p. 46. 

36. These terms, initiated by the architect Ladovsky, were used throughout 
the Inkhuk discussions. 



27 



I 



A 





fig- 17 

Vladimir Tatlin 

Model for the "Monument to the Third International." 

1919-1910 

Destroyed 



struction" as a concept had replaced the notions of 
"truth to materials" and "construction in art." 37 

In 1921 the Third Obmokhu (Society of Young 
Artists) exhibition in Moscow 3S brought together a 
number of these constructions and presented them 
to the public for the first time (fig. 16) . Most of the 
works reflected an architectonic and technological 
approach to materials; indeed, the materials appear 
reduced to their essence, the forms seem pure 
ciphers of the materials' intrinsic functions. Stripped 
of mass and weight, and in some cases attempting 
to defy gravity, these dematerialized linear equa- 
tions express the tensile strength of metal, the 
transparency of glass, and define an almost palp- 
able volume of space. Analogous to Tatlin's 1920 
model for the "Monument to the Third Interna- 
tional" (fig. 17), but quite different in the source of 
their inspiration and imagery, 59 they show a syn- 
thesis of dynamic force and stability, technology 
and creativity, anonymous statement and personal 
expression, modern materials and ideal forms. 
These models, representing the new Constructivist 
syntax in its purest state, are both metaphors of 
modern technology and, by extension, dynamic 
images of the new Communist society. 

Tatlin's awareness of the shift of meaning 
within the term Constructivism is evident in the 
phrase "constructivists in quotation marks" he 
would come to use. "Existing forms," he wrote 
in 1932, 

when used in constructional art (in architecture, 
technology and, especially, aviation), exhibit a 
certain schematic quality which has become 
established. Usually this is the conjunction of 
straight line forms with the simplest of curved 
forms. . . . The constructivists in quotation marks 
used the same materials to solve formal prob- 
lems, but in an abstract way, mechanically add- 
ing technology to their art. The constructivists 
in quotation marks did not consider the organic 
connection of the material with its application 
and function. ... An indispensable form is not 
simply born as a result of the dynamics of these 
interrelationships. 40 

Even within the Inkhuk, as it progressed 
toward a more Productivist orientation, the criti- 
cism of these "projects" was severe. Despite their 
attempted references to technology, they were 
attacked as "formalist" as opposed to socially use- 
ful objects. Nikolai Tarabukin made the following 
assessment in 1923: 

By the term construction, we generally mean a 
material installation of a determined kind, en- 
dowed with a utilitarian character, without 
which it loses all meaning. 

However, the Russian constructivists, who do 
not want to be considered artists and who waged 
a battle "against art" in its conventional, mu- 



30 



37. These terms are also attributed to Ladovsky, 

38. This subgroup of the Vkhutemas was founded in 1919 initially to 
promote the cause of agitprop ("agitational propaganda") art. By 1920-21 . 
its exhibitions included abstract experimental constructions. 

39. See Rowell, "Tatlin!' October, pp. 100-03 for a discussion of Tatlin's 
inspiration for the monument. 



40 Quoted in I Matsa, "Constructivism: An Historical and Artistic 
Appraisal!' Studio International, Apr. 1972, p. 143. The translation uses 
the British term "inverted commas" which we have converted to the more 
common American usage of "quotation marks'.' 

41 . Tarabukin in Nakov, Le dernier tableau, p. 39. 

42. Quoted in Rakitin, Women Artists of the Russian Avant-Garde 
pp 212, 214. 



seum sense, allied themselves with technique, 
engineering and industry, without possessing the 
specific understanding necessary and all the 
while remaining artists par excellence deep down 
inside. In their hands, the constructivist objective 
takes the form of naive and dilettantish imita- 
tions of technical constructions, imitations which 
solely refer to a hypertrophied veneration for the 
industrialism of our century. 

Constructions of this kind cannot even be 
qualified as models, since they are not projects of 
technical installations but merely totally autono- 
mous objects, justifiable only on their artistic 
merits. Their authors remain fundamentally 
"aesthetes," champions of "pure" art, despite 
their disaffection for these epithets.' 11 

These models or structures were generated by 
a theoretical rhetoric which proved to be their 
strength (as highly innovative and original forms) 
and their limitation (in regard to practical applica- 
tion). In November 1921, after a second reorgani- 
zation of the Inkhuk under the leadership of Osip 
Brik, Boris Arvatov and Tarabukin, twenty-five 
artists— including Popova, Alexandr Vesnin, Stepa- 
nova, Rodchenko and Exter— announced their 
withdrawal from theoretical activity and "labora- 
tory" work with forms to devote their energies to 
"production art," by which they meant a utilitar- 
ian, socially useful art form. 

In December 1911, the new governing board of 
the Inkhuk commissioned an article from Popova, 
in which she explained her position in regard to the 
earlier Inkhuk program and her new allegiance to 
"production art": 

It is quite obvious that the revolution that has 
taken place in the aims, objectives, media and 
forms of art has set us — art production workers 
— a particular aim: "to organize the material ele- 
ments of industrial production in an expedient 
manner" instead of "depicting this or that" .... 
Even the new objective method of analyzing the 
formal elements of each individual "art" ... is 
still, ultimately, concerned with the same old 
depictive formal elements. . . . Essentially, em- 
phasizing the formal element serves merely as a 
point of transit, filling in the gap between two 
worldviews, a bridge whereby the timid and 
irresolute try to get to the other side. . . . The aim 
of all this should not be the synthesis of elements 
"in abstracto," but rather the concrete produc- 
tional object to which this entire technology will 
relate. . . . 

[We must] find the paths and methods that 
lead away from the dead impasse of depictive 
art and advance through knowledge of techno- 
logical production to a method of creating 
objects of industrial production, products of 
organized, material design. 112 



Ill 



PRODUCTION ART: 

THEATER AND INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 

The major apologists for the "production art" 
interpretation of Constructivism were Brik, Tara- 
bukin and Arvatov who launched the third or 
Productivist phase of the Inkhuk (1921-24). Arva- 
tov wrote in October 1922: 

Constructivism is socially utilitarian. Its applica- 
tion is situated either in industrial production 
(engineer-constructor) or in propaganda (con- 
structor-designer of posters, logos, etc.). Con- 
structivism is revolutionary not only in words 
but in acts. It is revolutionary by the very orien- 
tation of its artistic methods. 43 

The notion of "production art" encompassed 
architecture, public sculpture, theater sets and cos- 
tumes, industrial and graphic design. Activity in 
these areas was viewed as more socially pertinent 
to the Russian people than all the earlier attempts 
by artists to contribute to the "organization of life." 
During this period, many Constructivist artists 
turned to the theater which they considered an 
exemplary discipline by which to shape the minds 
and tastes of the masses. 4 ' The objective was not to 
stage plays in the traditional sense, but productions 
conceived for popular participation. This was 
theater permitting "the unification of the stage with 
the auditorium," as the theater director Vsevolod 
Meierkhold said in October 1920. 45 

Meierkhold's eminence in the history of thea- 
ter is based on his development of "Biomechanics," 
an actor-training technique. The Biomechanical 
method consisted of a repertory of twenty exer- 
cises, purported to have been drawn from the 
observation of the "scientific organization of labor 
in America and Russia."' 45 The director explained: 
If we observe a skilled worker in action, we 
notice the following in his movements: (1) an 
absence of superfluous, unproductive move- 
ments; (2) rhythm; (3) the correct positioning of 
the body's center of gravity; (4) stability. Move- 
ments based on these principles are distinguished 
by their dance-like quality; a skilled worker at 
work invariably reminds one of a dancer; thus 
work borders on art. 47 

Meierkhold's method, deriving from the study 
of the human body as a raw or elementary material 
to be manipulated according to its inherent capa- 
bilities, relates it to the sources of Constructivism, 
or Tatlin's initial "truth to materials" premise. As 
Meierkhold stated, 

In art our constant concern is the organization of 
raw material. Constructivism has forced the 
artist to become both artist and engineer. Art 
should be based on scientific principles; the 
entire creative act should be a conscious process. 



43. From the article. "Two Groups!' published in Zrelishcha. no. 8. 
Oct. 17. 1922; translated into French by Andrei B Nakov and Michel 
Petris in Change (Paris), nos. 26-27. Feb 1976. p 253 

44, In (act. the Constructivist artists' attitude to the theater was 
ambivalent; in principle they reiected this art form for its inherently 
suggestive and associational nature 



45. In a speech, "To the Company of The RSFSR Theater!' October 31, 
1920, Quoted in British Film Institute, Futurism. Formalism. Feks. 
London, 1978. 

46. Edward Braun. "Constructivism in the Theater!' in London. Hayward 
Gallery. Art in Revolution. Feb. 26-Apr. 18, 1972. p. 67. 

47. Meierkhold. from a lecture on "Biomechanics!' June 1922 Translated 
by Edward Braun in Futurism. Formalism, Feks. p. 67. 



31 



The art of the actor consists in organizing his ma- 
terial; that is, in his capacity to utilize correctly 
his body's means of expression. The actor em- 
bodies in himself both the organizer and that 
which is organized (i.e., the artist and his 
material). 48 

In 1921 Meierkhold invited Popova to teach 
a design course in his Theater Workshop. During 
this experience she worked on the set design for the 
Biomechanical production of The Magnanimous 
Cuckold, a play by the Belgian author Fernand 
Crommelynck which was presented in April 1922 
(see cat. nos. 251-55. ) 49 Popova's sets involve no 
images or illusionism. Her open linear frames, 
wheels, catwalk and slides — the barest skeletons of 
theater flats — are her attempt to replace accepted 
aesthetic traditions with a functional design, illus- 
ionistic props with real materials and structural 
patterns, backdrop conventions with a working 
platform for the actors. In line with Meierkhold's 
emphasis on the physical as opposed to the psycho- 
logical in his conception of theater, this stage archi- 
tecture was designed to reinforce and articulate the 
scenic action. The revolving wheels, turning at 
different moments and speeds, dramatized moods 
and emotions which were only suggested by the 
actors' emblematic movements. The concerted 
synchronization of these formally organized modes 
of expression identifies The Magnanimous Cuckold 
as the first true example of Constructivist theater. 

Structures in the streets for Revolutionary 
pageants or for communicating propaganda were 
another form of Constructivist expression in which 
art was to be integrated with Soviet life. Gustav 
Klucis's agitprop constructions were designed in 
1922 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 
October Revolution and the Fourth Congress of 
the Comintern (see p. 259 and cat. nos. 218-229). 
These display stands, screens for projecting visual 
propaganda, rostrums and radio loudspeakers were 
made of wood, canvas and cable and painted black, 
white and red. Klucis's preoccupation with easily 
assembled and collapsible multipurpose structures 
evolved from the same principles governing Meier- 
khold's conception of ideal scenic devices: practical- 
ity and economy. The variety of Klucis's linear in- 
vention combined with functional technology 
echoes Popova's work for Meierkhold and the 
Stenberg and Ioganson constructions of the same 
period. His taut linear structures cast the values of 
the new society in a new formal syntax that under- 
scores the dynamic graphics of the slogans and 
their specifically agitprop messages. 

Consistent with their new role as "art produc- 
tion workers," by 1924 Stepanova and Popova 
were working at the First State Textile Factory in 
Moscow, designing patterns for printed fabric (see 
cat. nos. 236-243). Although these patterns are 



supremely decorative, they also corresponded to a 
principle: that all fabric and clothing should be 
designed according to an understanding of the 
body's articulations and movements. After 1922, 
Popova also worked in graphic design (cat. no. 
245), and Stepanova wrote articles on "industrial 
dress" and related subjects for the Constructivist 
magazine Lef (1923-25). Klucis produced posters, 
postcards (cat. no. 232), exhibition designs and 
photomontage. Vesnin, Medunetsky and the Sten- 
berg brothers worked for the theater and the Sten- 
bergs designed remarkable posters for the film in- 
dustry. Tatlin and his students at the Petrograd 
Vkhutemas designed clothing, furniture and other 
household items, while Rodchenko worked pro- 
lifically in advertising graphics, propaganda pro- 
duction, photography, cinema, typography and 
book and poster design. 



Thus, in the space of a few short years, the ideology 
of Soviet Constructivism evolved radically and 
rapidly from an emphasis on materials and the self- 
referential object to a focus on the interrelations or 
"forces" of materials and their distillation into 
abstract formal metaphors, and finally to the utili- 
tarian object, or industrial design. The socially 
valuable content implicit in the earlier phases of 
Constructivism became explicit in the third, a phase 
which was virtually a synthesis of the first two. It 
can be concluded that without the artists' under- 
standing of the intrinsic nature of ordinary ma- 
terials and of the "necessary" forms they generated, 
a formally meaningful utilitarian production prob- 
ably would not have come about. 

Paradoxically, the idea of social necessity, 
which was one of the fundamental catalysts of the 
Constructivist ethos and aesthetic as far back as 
Tatlin's initial counter-reliefs in 1913-15, would 
lead to the demise of the original premise of Con- 
structivism: that of a pure materialist syntax with- 
out reference to extra-plastic concerns. In its 
idealism, early Constructivist ideology expressed a 
time and place, an inchoate social consciousness 
and a naive political perspective. Although the 
technological or "industrial" Constructivism of 
post-1921 dissipated the purity of Constructivism 
as it was originally defined, the latter form corres- 
ponded more fully to the objective of the organiza- 
tion of daily life. The theory and practice of the 
pioneers of Constructivism — their attention to the 
expressive autonomy of materials, color, line and 
space — represent a fundamental contribution to 
the shaping of our twentieth-century environment. 



32 



48 Meierkhold, "The Actor and Biomechanics" (1922), in Art in 
Revolution, p. 80, 

49 Alma H. Law calls attention to the fact that these sets were begun 
by other hands (among them the Stenbergs and Vladimir Liutse) and 
that Popova took over after much work had been done See Alma H. Law, 
"The Revolution in the Russian Theater!' in LACMA, pp. 68-69, See also 
here, p, 293. 



The Catalogue 

by Angelica Zander Rudenstine 



33 



Notes for the Reader 



ORGANIZATION 

The catalogue is divided into seven sections: I. 
"Symbolism and Origins"; II. "Cubo-Futurism"; 

III. "Matiushin and His School; Pavel Filonov"; 

IV. "Suprematism and Unovis"; V. "The Inkhuk 
and Constructivism"; VI. "Productivism and the 
Theater"; VII. "Parallel Trends: The Figurative 
and the Cosmic." 

Several of the artists naturally appear in more 
than one of these sections. Thus, for example, Ma- 
levich and Kliun are represented within "Symbol- 
ism," "Cubo-Futurism" and "Suprematism," 
Popova within "Cubo-Futurism," "Suprematism," 
"Inkhuk" and "Productivism," etc. The location of 
the work of any individual artist throughout the 
catalogue may be easily established through the 
use of the index, p. 319. 

Though the headings provide an important 
structure, they run the risk of suggesting a narrow 
definition of style and of theoretical foundation. It 
is our hope, however, that they will serve an addi- 
tional purpose, indicating in their conjunction with 
this group of works the difficulty inherent in such 
labels, and the essentially complicated nature of the 
movement as a whole. 



INSCRIPTIONS 

Inscriptions, unless otherwise indicated, have been 
translated from the Russian. Signatures and dates, 
unless otherwise indicated, have been transcribed 
from Cyrillic to Latin characters. The transliteration 
used is a modified version of the Library of Con- 
gress system, but the soft and hard signs either have 
been omitted or have been rendered by "i" (e.g., 
Vasilz'evich), and "x" has been substituted for "ks." 

DIMENSIONS 

Dimensions are given in inches and centimeters, 
height preceding width. 

INVENTORY NUMBERS 

The numbers appearing after the acquisition data 
refer to an inventory prepared by The Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum in connection with Mr. Co- 
stakis's loan of his collection to the museum. 

ST. PETERSBURG 

The city of St. Petersburg underwent a series of 
name changes: until 1914 it was St. Petersburg; in 
August 1914 it was renamed Petrograd; following 
Lenin's death, January 21, 19Z4, it received its pres- 
ent name, Leningrad. 

DATES 

Russian dates in the biographies and other text 
sections follow the so-called Old-Style calendar in 
use in Russia before January 1918 and are, there- 
fore, thirteen days behind the Western calendar. 



34 



ABBREVIATIONS 

Ginkhuk 

Gositdarstvennyi institut khodozhestvennoi kultury 

(State Institute of Painterly Culture [Leningrad]) 

Inkhuk 

Institut kbudozhestvennoi kultury (Institute of 

Painterly Culture [Moscow]) 

Lef 

Levyi front iskusstva (Left Front of the Arts) 

Narkompros (NKP) 

Narodnyi komissariat prosveshcheniia (People's 

Commissariat for Enlightenment) 

Obmokhu 

Obshchestvo molodykb khudozbnikov (Society of 
Young Artists) 

OST 

Obshchestvo khudozhnikov-stankovistov (Society 
of Studio Artists) 

Petrosvomas 

Petrogradskie gosudarstvennye svobodnye khu- 
dozhestvennye masterskie (Petrograd State Free 
Art Studios) 

Proun 

Proekt utverzhdeniia novogo (Project for the Affir- 
mation of the New) 

Svomas 

Svobodnye gosudarstvennye kbudozhestvennye 

masterskie (Free State Art Studios) 

Unovis 

Utverditeli (also Utverzhdenie) novogo iskusstva 
(Affirmers [also Affirmation] of the New Art) 
Vkhutemas 

Vyssbie gosudarstvennye khudozhestvenno- 
tekhnicbeskie masterskie (Higher State Art- 
Technical Studios) 

Zorved 

Zorkoe vedanie (See-Know, literally, "sharp- 
sighted knowing") 



LACMA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The 
Avant-Garde in Russia, 1910-1930: New Perspec- 
tives, ed. S. Barron and M. Tuchman, Los Angeles, 
1980. 

Lodder, Constructivism: Lodder, C. A., Construc- 
tivism: From Fine Art Into Design, Russia, 1913- 
1933, New Haven (in press) 

R., S., C, Costakis: Rudenstine, A. Z., S. F. Starr, 
G. Costakis, The Russian Avant-Garde: The George 
Costakis Collection, New York, 1982. A compre- 
hensive illustrated publication on the Costakis col- 
lection and its history. 

Women Artists of the Russian Avant-Garde: Co- 
logne, Galerie Gmurzynska, Women Artists of the 
Russian Avant-Garde/ Kiinstlerinnen der russischen 
Avantgarde 1910-1930, 1979. 



SHORT TITLES 

Bowk, Theory and Criticism: Bowlt, J. E., Russian 
Art of the Avant-Garde: Theory and Criticism, 
1902-1934, New York, 1976. 

From Surface to Space: Cologne, Galerie Gmurzyn- 
ska, From Surface to Space/Von der Flacbe zurn 
Raum, 1974. 

Khan-Magomedov: Khan-Magomedov, S. O., 
"Diskussiia v inkhuke o sootnoshenii konstruktsii 
i kompozitsii" ("The Inkhuk Discussion of the Re- 
lationship Between Composition and Construction 
[January-April 19Z1]"), Tekbnicheskaia estetika, 
no. 20, Moscow, 1979, pp. 40-78. 



35 



36 



I 



Symbolism and Origins 



Kliun and Malevich met in 1907, and in their work 
of 1907-1910 both demonstrated strong ties on the 
one hand to Russian Symbolism, and on the other 
to the palette of Gauguin and Matisse. 

In Kliun's Portrait of the Artist's Wife (cat. no. 
7), the frailty of her health (she would die of con- 
sumption) finds an expressive correspondence in 
the tracery of indeterminate natural forms against 
which she is silhouetted. There is a mysterious un- 
reality to this landscape in which a recumbent 
white haloed figure — the premonition of death — 
floats suspended in the middle distance, as if be- 
tween the present and the future, while the space 
behind them both is peopled with shadows which 
appear to come from another world. With an 
acutely Symbolist intention, Kliun has created a 
suggestive, equivocal floral setting which echoes 
and illuminates his melancholy subject. 

Malevich's Woman in Childbirth (cat. no. 2) 
depicts a mask-like female face framed by three 
disembodied forearms and hands and emerging 
from a red tapestry-like ground covered with 
images of minute, writhing fetuses. The allusion to 
the pain of labor, the felt but invisible aspects of the 
child-bearing experience, and the depiction of the 
internalized "idea" of childbirth rather than a 
realistic portrayal of it, combine to create an image 
of profound Symbolist sensibility. 

Kliun and Malevich were strongly influenced 
in these years by the Symbolist painters Mikalojaus 
Ciurlionis and Pavel Kuznetsov, and their debts to 
Matisse and Gauguin can be traced to the numer- 
ous works in the collections of Sergei Shchukin and 
Ivan Morosov and at the Golden Fleece exhibi- 
tions of 1908 and 1909. In Kliun's Family of 191 1 
(cat. no. 6), the treatment of the darkly outlined 
silhouettes against the vivid flat red background 
distinctly echoes Gauguin's treatment of color and 
space. In Malevich's self-portrait (cat. no. 3), the 
Symbolist echoes are still clearly present in the 
tapestried veils of color in the background and in 
the subtly differentiated shading of the flesh and 
eyes. In his later portrait (cat. no. 4), the starkly 
contrasting Fauve colors of the face, the dark black 
outlines and the vibrant unified ground are more 
clearly suggestive of Gauguin and Matisse. 

At this early stage of their friendship, the two 
artists already shared strong aesthetic affinities. 
These affinities were to grow and become even 
closer during the development of Suprematism 
from 1915. (See below, p. 111.) 



37 



KAZIMIR SEVERINOVICH MALEVICH 



Untitled. 1904-05 

Oil on board, 12% x -jYic" (30.8 x 19 cm.) 

Signed l.r.: KM 

Inscribed on reverse: K. Malevich N2-5P 

Acquired from the artist's brother, M. S. Malevich 

C508 




38 



K. S. MALEVICH 



Woman in Childbirth. 1908 

Oil and pencil on board, 9 u /irt x 10 Vie" (2.4.7 x 2.5.6 cm.) 

Signed and dated 1.1.: Kazimir Malevich 1908 

Acquired from the artist's brother, M. S. Malevich 

138.78 



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1 »» ,. 1 . 1 

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ft '• • ■ '».• .i r fV ^- 



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IT 



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39 



SYMBOLISM AND ORIGINS 



K. S. MALEVICH 



Self-Portrait. ca. 1908 

Watercolor and varnished gouache on paper, diameter 

97s" (2-5-1 cm 

Private collection 




K. S. MALEVICH 



Portrait, ca. 1910 

Gouache on paper, ioy g x 10%" (27 -7 x z 7-7 cm -) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, M. S. Malevich 

140.78 




41 



SYMBOLISM AND ORIGINS 



IVAN VASILIEVICH KLIUN (KLIUNKOV) 



Untitled. 1908 

Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 6 ll /u x 10" 

(17 x 25.3 cm.) 

Inscribed on the reverse by the daughter of the artist: 

J guarantee that this is the work of my father, 

I. Kliun. S.I. 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, Serafima Ivanova 

Kliun 

804.79 




42 



I. V. KLIUN 



6 



Family. 1911 

Oil on board, I8V4 x 14%" (46.4 x 36.3 cm.) 

Signed 1.1.: /. Kliun 

Signed, titled and dated on reverse: /. Kliun Family 1911 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

85.78 




43 



SYMBOLISM AND ORIGINS 



I. V. KLIUN 



Portrait of the Artist's Wife (Consumption). 1910 

Watercolor, charcoal and pencil on paper, I37i6 x 11V2" 

(34.2 X29.1 cm.) 

Dated I.e.: 1910 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

C549 




44 



VLADIMIR EVGRAFOVICH TATLIN 



8 



Nude. ca. 1910-12 

Pencil on paper, 16% x ioV6" (42.8 x 25.8 cm.) 

On reverse, a second nude (repr. R., S., C, Costakis, 

pi. 1105). 

Acquired from the artist's widow, A. M. Korsakova 

271.78 recto 




45 



SYMBOLISM AND ORIGINS 



LIUBOV POPOVA 1912-16 



II 



Cubo-Futurism 




fi g .b 

Umberto Boccioni 

Development of a Bottle in Space. 1912-13 

Bronze, 15 x 2.4" (38 x 61 cm.) 

Lydia and Harry L. Winston Collection 

(Dr. and Mrs. Barnett Malbin), New York 



Popova's development between 1912 and 1916 is 
characterized by the assimilation of several different 
influences and by her establishment of a mature 
style. If one examines the works produced during 
those years, certain dominant stylistic issues 
emerge, and it becomes possible to map out a plaus- 
ible chronology. 

The drawings datable to 1912-13 clearly be- 
tray French influence, especially that of Le Faucon- 
nier (see R., S., C, Costakis, pis. 754 and 771). But 
by the middle of 1914 Popova had embarked upon 
a more complex path, in which the combined influ- 
ences of Tatlin and Boccioni are dominant. 

Popova's relationship to the work of Tatlin 
has been noted by the art historian Dmitrii Sara- 
bianov, among others (see pp. 51-53). 1 Tatlin's for- 
mulation of the figure, with limbs hinged at the 
joints as if encased in armor, is echoed in Popova's 
studies of the nude of 1914-15. Moreover, Tatlin's 
use of structural planes governing the figure's shoul- 
ders and thighs in his work of ca. 19 13-14 recurs 
with regularity in Popova's work of the same period 
(see cat. nos. 9, 11, 12). In addition, however, her 
stylistic evolution is clearly indebted to the exam- 
ple of Boccioni, both in theoretical and visual terms. 

The 1912 Technical Manifesto of Futurist 
Sculpture was published in Moscow in 1914, and 
an article on Boccioni's sculpture appeared in Apol- 
lon in 1913. 2 Popova must have known these texts, 
and she almost certainly also saw important exam- 
ples of Boccioni's work at his one-man show in 
Paris in June- July 1913. 3 In Popova's Jug on the 
Table of 1915 (p. 47, fig. c), in a large series of 
nudes — some of which are exhibited here (cat. nos. 
13, 15-17) — and in Seated Figure (cat. no. 20), the 
full extent of Boccioni's influence is apparent. 

One of Boccioni's central concerns (clearly ar- 
ticulated in his manifestoes, as well as in his work) 
was the relationship between object and environ- 
ment. In the Manifesto on Painting, he wrote: "To 
paint a human figure you must not paint it; you 
must render the whole of the surrounding atmo- 
sphere. . . . Our bodies penetrate the sofas upon 
which we sit, and the sofas penetrate our bodies." 
In the Sculpture Manifesto, he spoke of sculpture 
becoming a "translation in plaster, bronze, glass, 
wood, or any other material of the atmospheric 
planes which bind and intersect things." He envis- 
aged "the absolute and complete abolition of defin- 
ite lines and closed sculpture," insisting instead on 
"breaking open the figure and enclosing it in its 
environment." 

In Boccioni's work of 1912-14 — for example, 
the painting Materia (p. 57, fig. d), the sculptures 
Development of a Bottle in Space (p. 46, fig. b) and 



46 



1 . See D Saraoianov, "The Painting of Liubov Popova!' in LACMA, p, 42 

2. Nakov, 2 Stenberg 2, London-Paris, 1975, p. 56, fn. 31. 

3- Ibid 

4. Repr J. C. Taylor, Futurism, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 
1961, p. 93. This work is destroyed. 



Head + Houses + Light, 4 and the series of works 
titled Horse + Rider + Buildings (p. 57, fig. e) — 
he managed to translate these theoretical concerns 
into pictorial and sculptural form. Thus, the Bottle 
in Space, with its complex and dynamic centrifugal 
motion, is literally and metaphorically opened to 
include surrounding space. The curved planes cre- 
ate both the environment and the object itself. 
Meanwhile, in Materia, and in Horse + Rider + 
Buildings, the large "planes which bind and inter- 
sect things" serve to integrate the central figures and 
their surrounding ambiance. 

Popova's 19 14-15 Portrait (cat. no. 18) and 
Traveling Woman (cat. no. 19) are still clearly de- 
pendent upon a Cubist formulation of space and 
form, 5 though the latter also suggests some response 
to Futurism. But in the drawings for Seated Figure, 
in the painting itself (cat. no. 20) and especially in 
its final version, 6 Boccioni's "atmospheric planes," 
including their painterly handling, have suddenly 
become a central factor in Popova's notion of com- 
position. The very title of this final version {Person 
+ Air + Space) is a clear reference to Boccioni's 
own terminology. Meanwhile the structure and 
method of articulation first used by Popova in Jug 
on the Table (fig. c), and the interlocking cones of 
light which constitute the shoulder, hip and knee 
joints of the figure in Person + Air + Space (as 
well as the curved planes throughout) reflect a fuller 
understanding of the Bottle in Space. 

In her immediately succeeding works, such as 
the now lost relief (fig. f), and Painterly Archi- 
tectonics (cat. no. 107), there are still traces of rec- 
ognizable objects (guitar, table, numerals, etc.), but 
these have now been substantially subordinated to 
the interplay of those dynamic planes which have 
clearly become the artist's major focus. Finally, in 
Popova's developed and mature style of 1916-19, 
the planes are unambiguously the actual subject 
matter of an art that is thoroughly nonobjective 
(cat. nos. 112-115 and 176). 

In short, by tracing Popova's work through its 
series of complex stages in the years 1914-16 it is 
possible to see that in addition to Tatlin's example, 
Boccioni's too provided her with a crucial catalyz- 
ing force: it was partially through an understanding 
of his art and its theoretical foundations that she 
was able to formulate her own powerful and fully 
mature style. 




fig. c 

Liubov Popova 

Jug on the Table (Plastic Painting). 1915 
Oil on cardboard mounted on wood with wood attach- 
ment, 23 x 17%" (58.5 x 45.5 cm.) 
Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, gift of George Costakis 
(repr. color R., S., C., Costakis, pi. 817, where evidence 
for the 1915 date of this work is offered) 




fig.f 

Liubov Popova 

Relief (early photograph owned by George Costakis). 

Medium, dimensions and present whereabouts 

unknown. 



5. Works such as Picasso's Bar Table (Bottle of Pernod and Glass) 

ol 1912 (P. Daix and J. Rosselet, Picasso, The Cubist Years. 1907-1916, 
Lausanne, 1979, no. 460) had been visible at Shchukin's since 1913 
and undoubtedly helped to shape Popova's Cubist style. 

6. Repr. color, C. Gray. The Great Experiment: Russian Art 1863- 1922. 
New York, 1962, p 185, Collection The Russian Museum, Leningrad. 



47 



LIUBOV SERGEEVNA POPOVA 



9 



Seated Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 8%,; x 6V2" (21.5 x 16.6 cm.) 

Acquired from rhe collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C70 recto 




L. S. POPOVA 



10 



Anatomical Study, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 6% x 8V2" (16.8 x 21.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C76 recto 



11 



Standing Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10V2 x 8V4" (2.6.8 x 21 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C78 










l* 







49 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



12 



Seated Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 8V2 x 6 5 /s" (zi.6 x 16.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

Page 62 from Sketchbook C313 




50 



L. S. POPOVA 



13 



Anatomical Study, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10V2 x 8Vs" (2.6.7 x zo -6 cm -) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C3 recto 





fig. a 

Vladimir Tatlin 

Page from a Sketchbook, ca. 1913-14 

Pencil on paper, iB 15 /^ x io'/S" (43 x 2.6 cm.) 

Central State Archives of Literature and Art, Moscow, 

fond 2089, Archive 1, no. 2.. 



51 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



14 



Standing Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10% x SYk," (26.5 x 20.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

Page 273 a from Sketchbook C2 



15 



Standing Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10% x 8%" (26.5 x 20.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

Page 274 from Sketchbook C2 

























Nv, 












\\ 












1 

i 




f?ff 


h^^4 


f?**« 










ld-~-i£ 


' \ 




if 


V A 


\v 






=*r^? 


\\ 


nCatd 


r 





\ 







52 



L. S. POPOVA 



16 



Standing Figure, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10V2 x SVu" (2.6.7 x 2 °-5 cm -) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C68 



17 



Anatomical Study, ca. 1913-15 

Pencil on paper, 10V2 x 8V6" (2.6.7 x 2.0.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C 4 





53 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



L. S. POPOVA 



18 



Portrait. 1914-15 

Oil on paperboard, z) 7 /\6X i67is" (59.5 x 41.6cm/ 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

183.78 



19 



Traveling Woman. 1915 

Oil on canvas, 61% x ifi 1 /^' (158.5 x 123 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

177.78 



A second version of this composition is in the collection 
of Norton Simon. One of the two appeared as cat. no. 
92. in the 0.10 exhibition of December 1915-January 
1916' and as cat. no. 151 in the exhibition The Store 
{Magazin), March 1916. The Simon picture appears in 
the installation photographs of Popova's posthumous 
exhibition of 1914 (and is no. 18 in the catalogue). The 
Costakis version may also have been shown in this 
exhibition, but documentation for its appearance has 
not yet been found. 



54 





55 



CUBO-FUTURISM 




56 



L. S. POPOVA 



20 



Seated Figure, ca. 1914-15 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 34'/^" (106 x 87 cm.) 

Collection Peter Ludwig, Cologne; formerly Costakis 

collection 

(Not in exhibition.) 




fig.d 

Umberto Boccioni 

Materia. 1912 

Oil on canvas, 88% x S9V4" (222.7 x 150.5 cm.) 

Gianni Mattioli Collection, Milan 




fig. e 

Umberto Boccioni 

Horse + Rider + Buildings. 1914 

Ink and watercolor on paper, 8 x 11 %" (20.3 x 30.1 cm.) 

Civico Gabinetto dei Disegni, Castello Sforzesco, Milan 



57 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



L. S. POPOVA 

21 

Landscape. 1914-15 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 27%" (105.2 x 69.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

184.78 

This work appeared in the artist's posthumous exhibi- 
tion of 1924 and is visible in the installation photo- 
graphs. For preparatory drawings, see R., S., C, Cos- 
takis, pis. 818, 819. 



58 







59 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



IVAN VASILIEVICH KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



22 



22 ii-v 



Study for Cubist at Her Dressing Table. 1 ca. 1914 

Pencil on paper, 3% x 3" (9.2 x 7.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, Serafima Ivanova 

Kliun 

293.80 A 



Studies for The Musician 

Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

ii, C552 b, 4% x 2.14" (n.i x 5.7 cm.); iii, C552 c, 4% x 

2%" (10.5 x 7 cm.); iv, C 559 d, 4V2 x 2%" (11.5 X7 cm.) 

v, C552 E, 4% x 1%" (10.5 x 7 cm.) 





60 



1 Cat nos. 22 and 24 i-iii belong to a series of sixteen double-sided sheets 
of mounted drawings, possibly constituting part of Kliun's personal 
oeuvre catalogue. For a discussion of these sheets and full reproductions 
of all of them with the drawings of their original positions, see Ft., S , C. 
Costakis, pp. 175-195 



In the years 1914-17 Kliun produced a number of sculp- 
tures, almost all of which have apparently been de- 
stroyed. Surviving are two strikingly original works: 
Landscape Rushing By of ca. 1914-15 (p. 63, fig. a, Tret- 
iakov Gallery, Moscow, formerly Costakis collection), 1 
and The Musician of 1917 (Tretiakov Gallery, repr. 
here, fig. b). 

The Landscape is a vivid combination of painted wood, 
metal, wire and porcelain, for which two studies are 
shown here (cat no. 23). The relief clearly evokes 
Futurist conceptions of speed and motion; moreover, 
through the inclusion of porcelain and wire — allusions 
to telegraph poles seen by a traveler speeding by — Kliun 
calls specific attention to the materiality of the sculpture 
while also introducing pictorially expressive juxta- 
positions. 

In the now lost Cubist at Her Dressing Table (fig. a) and 
in The Musician (fig. b), Kliun again achieves his effects 
partly through the handling and juxtaposition of unex- 
pected materials. Glass, metal, celluloid, copper, wood 
and porcelain are combined to create figures that are in 
various ways evocative both of Archipenko's and of 
Picasso's constructions, but which possess a strong 
stylistic identity of their own. 2 

Both Landscape Rushing By and Cubist at Her Dressing 
Table were exhibited (together with fourteen other 
sculptures by Kliun) at the December 1915 0.10 exhibi- 
tion. All trace of the other pieces has apparently been 
lost, and Kliun's clearly innovative contribution in con- 
struction is thus recorded only in the two surviving 
pieces and some drawings. His statement written on the 
occasion of the 1915 exhibition is revealing: "Before us 
sculpture was a means of reproducing objects. There 
was no sculptural art, but there was the art of sculpture. 
Only we have become fully aware of the principle: Art 
as an end in itself. . . . Our sculpture is pure art, free 
from any surrogates; there is no content in it, only 
form." 3 

Though the "content" was on one level obviously rec- 
ognizable, Kliun's interest was intensely focused upon 
the faktura and the tektonika of his medium. 



1 


h 1* 

1 


P 


1 


1 

1 




V 




|J V. 


jsi 


It' 






Lrm 


. 1 


«i 




JK f *I^B 


k 





fig. a 

I. V. Kliun 

Cubist at Her Dressing Table, ca. 1914-15 

Mixed media, dimensions unknown, presumed 

destroyed 




fig.b 

I. V. Kliun 

The Musician. 1917 

Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow. Dimensions and medium 

unknown. 

Documentary photograph owned by George Costakis. 
On reverse of photograph, the media are identified as 
glass, metal, wood, celluloid, copper. The photograph 
was taken in a hitherto unidentified exhibition. 



1. Repr color. R., S., C ., Costakis, pi. 135. 

2. Cubist at Her Dressing Table is most closely related to Archipenko's 
Woman in Front ol a Mirror (destroyed, repr M Rowell. The Planar 
Dimension. New York.The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, 1979. p. 21). 
Though Archipenko remained in close touch with his Russian colleagues 



alter his move to Paris in 1908. and was a corresponding member ol 
"Supremus:' the Suprematist group. Irom 1916. it has not hitherto been 
possible to establish the specific nature ol the interaction between him 
and Kliun during the years 1914-15. 

3. Trans. Bowlt. Theory and Criticism, p. 114. 



61 







fig. a 

I. V. Kliun 

Landscape Rushing By. ca. 1914-15 

Oil on wood, wire, metal and porcelain, 2.9V& x zz 1 ' i /ic" 

(74 x58 cm.) 

Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, gift of George Costakis 



62 



I. V. KLIUN 



23 i-ii 



Studies for Landscape Rushing By. ca. 1914-15 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
Left, i, 2.74.80: wash on paper, 6Yn x 5 1 %s" (16 x 14.! 
cm.); inscribed across the center: POKROV 
Right, ii, 273.80: ink on paper, 5 14 x 3 Kg" 
(13.4 x 8.7 cm.) 
Signed l.r.: /. Kliun 



' 




ft 




h 



1 



I 





63 



CUBO-FUTURISM 




m^t 



IV 



I. V. KLIUN 

24 i 

Untitled, ca. 1914-15 

Pencil on paper, 2 x 2" (5 x 5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

C368A 

24 ii 

Untitled, ca. 1914-15 

Pencil on paper, 3 3 *g x 3%" (8.6 x 8.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

C368B 

24 Hi 

Study for Self-Portrait with Saw. ca. 1914-15 
Watercolor on paper, 5% x 3V2" ( I 4-4 X 8.9 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
C559C 

24 iv 

Study for Self-Portrait with Saw. 1917 

Pencil on paper, 8% x y 1 /^ 1 (2.2.2 x 18.4 cm.) 

Signed 1.1.: l.K. 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

822.79 



64 



I. V. KLIUN 



25 



Whereas Kliun's constructions of the years 1914-15 bear 
no relationship to the contemporary work of Malevich, 
his painting and drawing of the period provide contin- 
ued evidence of a close rapport between the two artists. 
Kliun's drawings for The Woodsman (cat. nos. 24 i and 
ii), and for The Self-Portrait with Saw (cat. nos. 24 iii 
and iv), though much more explicitly Cubist in their 
conception of space and form, are reminiscent in many 
details of Malevich 's 191 1 Portrait of Kliun 1 and of his 
1913 Portrait of Matinshin. 2 The 1914 oil version of 
Self-Portrait with Saw (present whereabouts unknown) 
was followed in 1922 by a second version, which Cos- 
takis gave to the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow (R., S., 
C, Costakis, pi. 155). 



Untitled. 1915 

Pencil on paper, 6 l /i6 x 4^6" (154 x 11 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: /. Kliun 1915 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

267.80 




1, Russian Museum, Leningrad, oil on canvas. 43 ,5 / 6 x 27%" (111 5 x 
70 .5 cm), repr. T. Andersen. Malevich, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum. 
1970. p. 22. 

2. Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, gift of George Costakis, oil on canvas, 
41% x 42 5 /i 6 " (106 x 107.5 cm I. repr color R.. S.. C, Costakis, pi. 482. 



65 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



ALEXEI ALEXEEVICH MORGUNOV 



26 



Aviator's Workroom. 1913 

Gouache on canvas (relined), 2,8-% x 17%" 

(50.5 x 36 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter 

159.78 



According to V. Rakitin, this work was shown in the 

last Union of Youth exhibition (Soiuz molodezhi), St. 

Petersburg, December 13-January 1914 (cat. no. 85 

there); also in Tramway V, Petrograd, March 1915 (cat. 

no. 38 there). (Information from private archives, 

Moscow.) 

For information about the work of Morgunov, see 

O. Obolsina, "Zabytye stranitsy sovetskogo iskusstva," 

hkttsstvo, no. 3, Moscow, 1974, pp. 32.-37. 




66 



KAZIMIR SEVERINOVICH MALEVICH 



27 



Violin 

Oil on canvas, Z7 n /i<$ x ziVis" (70.3 x 53.4 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Mai 

Acquired by Costakis from A. A. Drevin, the son of 

Alexandr Drevin and Nadezhda Udaltsova 

282.78 



The attribution to Malevich is by E. Kovtun and the 
sister of Udaltsova. According to Kovtun, there is a 
closely related work, similarly signed on the reverse, in 
the collection of the Russian Museum, Leningrad. 




67 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



OLGA VLADIMIROVNA ROZANOVA 



28 i-iii 



Advertisements for three books by Kruchenykh illus- 
trated by O. Rozanova. 1913 
Lithograph and watercolor on paper, 7%6 x 9%" 
(18.6x14.5 cm -) 
Acquired from A. Kruchenykh 
301. 80c (a and B not illustrated) 

The advertisement is titled "New Books Take the Air." 
The three books advertised, all of 1913, are Duck's Nest 
of Bad Words, Forestly Rapid and Explodity. 
Folded at the center, pages of this design were bound 
into published copies of Duck's Nest of Bad Words, the 
advertisements appearing as the final page. 1 

The three books written by Kruchenykh advertised here 
were central to the early book production of the Rus- 
sian Futurist group. In her illustrations for Duck's Nest 
of Bad Words published by EUY (Kruchenykh's own 
imprint), St. Petersburg, June 12, 1913, Rozanova intro- 
duced a new use of color, which also occurs in the ad- 
vertisements: the black drawings and manuscript text 
were lithographed on gray paper, but the illustrations 
and the printed pages of text were separately colored. In 
the text of this book, as in that of the books Forestly 
Rapid and Explodity, the ambiguities of Khlebnikov's 
and Kruchenykh's zaum ("transrational") language, de- 
veloped during the summer of 1913, were given early 
expression. The intention was to create a universal lan- 
guage that would be "broader than sense" but not lack- 
ing in meaning; words or individual phonemes would be 
juxtaposed in bizarre, seemingly irrational combina- 



tions and by the very juxtaposition of them, new "mean- 
ings" would be established. Malevich and Morgunov, 
closely allied to the poets, concurrently developed their 
"alogical" style of painting. Thus, in Englishman in 
Moscow by Malevich and Aviator's Workroom by Mor- 
gunov (cat. no. 26), incongruous images are juxtaposed, 
with scale, context and perspective intentionally vio- 
lated, and the fragmentation produces a new form of 
"conceptual" illustration. (In the Morgunov, for exam- 
ple, the appearance of the airplane, out of scale, within 
the interior of the workroom, suggests the mental pre- 
occupations of the pilot as he prepares for flight.) 

In his illustrations for Khlebnikov's "Wooden Idols" 
(cat. no. 30) — Filonov's only contribution to the book 
production of the Futurists — the artist achieves a new 
level of originality in the relationship between text and 
illustration. He illuminates the letters (as well as creat- 
ing separate illustrations) and thus, with an expressive 
handwriting which is essentially phonic and ideo- 
graphic, he intensifies both the musical quality of the 
poetry and the visual associations of sound. 2 

The innovations in book production during the early 
Cubo-Futurist movement of ca. 1913-14 continued 
through the teens, when some of the most striking ex- 
amples were produced once again by the partnership of 
Kruchenykh and Rozanova. (See cat. no. 102.) She il- 
lustrated more than ten volumes for him alone — some 
of them in collaboration with Malevich, others on her 
own. 



68 



/ T W H £ > M It 3^ 6lWM^ "^ 

1 




K. S. MALEVICH 



29 



Prayer. 1913 

Lithograph, 6% x 4 , / 4" (17-5 x 11. 5 cm.) 

Signed and titled in the stone: Prayer K. Malevicb 

Gift of A. Kruchenykh 

C528 

Illustration for A. Kruchenykh's Explodity (Vzorval), 
znd edition, St. Petersburg, 1914 (identical with one in 
the first edition of 1913). 




1, A copy ol the book owned by the Leonard Hutton Galleries contains 
the tolded wrap as first and last page The Costakis examples were 
probably extra loose sheets rather than parts ot dismantled copies ot 
the book. 

2. "Varvara Stepanova's Anti-Book!' in From Surface to Space, p. 60. 



69 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



PAVEL NIKOLAEVICH FILONOV 



P. N. FILONOV 



30 i 



30 ii 



Drawing for "Wooden Idols" (Dereviannye idoly) by 

V. Khlebnikov. 1914 

Ink on paper, 7%s x 4%" (18.3 x 12..2 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's sister, E. N. Glebova, 

Leningrad 

58.78 



Drawing for "Wooden Idols" (Dereviannye idoly) by 

V. Khlebnikov. 1914 

Ink on paper, jY\& x 4 i yis" (18.4 x 11.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's sister, E. N. Glebova, 

Leningrad 

57-78 

The book, Selection of Poems 1907-1914 (Izbomik stik- 
hov 1907-14), in which these illustrations appeared, was 
published in March of 1914. 




M3"b KHHrn 

AEPEBflHHblE MAOnbl." 



*s 4- 



ou HHor^fl r/iflia i]poko,ieI\ 
H/in PbibflHb^ocipom 

m pymem HEcer n»xoprb 

Jft rUlECET t!vBU3b BfPETfl 



OPJHflJiCEHnE- 



Phi LLbfl 




70 



EL LISSITZKY 

(LAZAR MARKOVICH LISITSKY) 



31 



Cover design for The Spent Sun — Second Book of 

Poems (Solntse na izlete: vtoraya kniga stikbov, 1913-16) 

by K. Bolshakov. 1916 

Black ink on paper, 6% x sVis" (17-1 x 12.8 cm.) 

Dedicated along lower edge: To a friend, a poet, Konst. 

Arist. Bolshakov, a bundle of visions, as a memento — 

Lazar Lissitzky. 

Acquired from the widow of Alexei Babichev, 

N. Babicheva 

441.80 



The book was published in 480 copies (with a litho- 
graphic cover by Lissitzky) by Tsentrifuga, Moscow, 
1916. Dimensions of the book cover, printed in ocher 
and black on gray stock: 9V6 x j%" (23.4 x 18.8 cm.) 
(repr. color, S. P. Compton, The World Backwards, 
Russian Futurist Books, 1912-16, London, 1978, pi. 18). 

Lissitsky's style and imagery are clearly indebted to ex- 
amples of Italian Futurism, such as Carlo Carra's Kitini 
plastici of 191 1. 




,t« 



"'/Vi , v,' c 7 K 






71 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



IVAN ALBERTOVICH PUNI 



32 



Composition. 1915-16 

Pencil on paper, 6% 6 x 4%" (16.7 x 11.8 cm.) 

Inscribed along lower edge: The Understanding Court 

Acquired from a relative of the artist in Leningrad 

C295 




72 



I.A.PUNI 



33 



Untitled, ca. 1915-16 

Pencil on paper mounted on paper, 3%6 x 3%" 

(8.8 x9.6 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Good Old Time 

Acquired from a relative of the artist in Leningrad 

C196 



34 



Untitled, ca. 1915-16 

Pencil on paper, 6 x 4%" (15.3 x 10.5 cm.) 

Inscribed u.r.: Funeral of Sentiment 

Acquired from a relative of the artist in Leningrad 

C297 





73 



CUBO-FUTURISM 



MIKHAIL MATIUSHIN AND THE ENDERS 



Matiushin and His School 
Pavel Filonov 



The Costakis collection's important holdings from 
the Moscow Inkhuk (cat. nos. 184-208) are 
matched by a striking body of work produced in 
the years 1918-1927 by Mikhail Matiushin and his 
school at the Petrosvomas (Petrograd State Free Art 
Studios) and later at the Institute of Artistic Culture 
in Leningrad (Ginkhuk). While the former may be 
said to represent the early development of a Con- 
structivism based on principles of technology, on 
economy of expression leading to a utilitarian view 
of art, and hence to Productivism, the latter repre- 
sents a continuing and fundamental commitment to 
painting, a concentration on the study of nature 
and on the idea of organic form. 

Matiushin — composer, violinist, painter, the- 
oretician and publisher — was born in 1 861 , and 
was a mature artist in his fifties in 1912 when he 
became intimate friends with the much younger 
Malevich. They collaborated (in 1913) with Kru- 
chenykh on the revolutionary opera Victory Over 
the Sun. Malevich confided in Matiushin (and in 
him alone) as he struggled in 1915 to formulate the 
early theory and practice of Suprematism, and 
Matiushin published Malevich's first text on the 
subject at the end of that year: an intense series of 
letters from Malevich to his older colleague (writ- 
ten between 19 13 and 1917) bear witness to the 
importance he attached to this close relationship. 1 
It also seems likely that Matiushin's interest in the 
concept of a fourth dimension fostered Malevich's 
own ideas on this subject. They shared a view of 
the artist as visionary, although Matiushin's par- 
ticular emphasis — and contribution— lay in his 
concentration on the physical process of seeing, as 
well as on the physiological and psychological 
aspects of perception. 2 

In his studio of "Spatial Realism," with his 
students Nikolai Grinberg and the four Enders, 
Matiushin conducted elaborate experiments in- 
tended to expand man's capacity to see, partly 
through a physical retraining of the eye, partly 
through a kind of "clairvoyance" or an "inner 
gaze." The intended result was to be a "perspi- 
cacity and a penetration" of extraordinary power. 3 
His system, which in 1923 he named Zorved ("See- 
Know"), represented an effort to combine the 
powers of keen, physical sight with those of mental 
perception and cognition. The system depended on 
the study of physiology (especially of the relation- 
ship between retina, central brain and cerebral 
cortex) and on the psychological dimensions of 
perception. Thus, for example, Boris Ender in- 



74 



1. E. Kovtun published ten of the forty-nine letters in Centre Pompidou, 
Malevich, Actes du colloQue international, trial 1978, Centre Pompidou. 
Lausanne, 1979, pp. 171-189. See also C. Douglas, Swans of Other Worlds 
Kazimir Malevich and the Origins of Abstraction In Russia. Ann Arbor, 
1980, pp. 61-62, 71 ff, 

2 A Povelikhina, "Matiushin's Spatial System!' The Slructunst 
nos. 15-16. 1975-76. p. 65. This important article, part of a larger study, 
was the first analysis of Matiushin's work published either in the 
Soviet Union or the West. See also L. Shadowa, "II sistema cromatico 
di Matjusin'.' Rassegna sovietica. no. 1, 1975, pp. 122-30; M. Matiushin, 
"An Artist's Experience of the New Space" trans. C Douglas. The 
Structurist, nos. 15-16, 1975-76, pp. 74-77; Z. Ender Masetti, EC. Masetti 



and D A Perilli. Boris Ender. Rome, 1977; Z Ender and C. Masetti, 
"Gli esperimenti del gruppo di Matjusin;' Rassegna sovletica, no, 3, 1978, 
pp. 100-07, B. Ender, "Material! per lo studio della fisiologia della vista 
complementare" trans. C. Masetti, Rassegna sovietica. no. 3, 1978, 
pp. 108-25. All of these sources are based upon unpublished manuscript 
materials housed in The State Museum of History, Leningrad; The 
Manuscript Section, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), 
Leningrad; TsGALI (The Central State Archive of Literature and Art), 
Moscow, and in various private archives Probably the most important of 
these is Matiushin's manuscript Opyt khudozhmka novoi mery of 1926 
(TsGALI, fond 134. op 2. ed khr 21). 

3. A Povelikhina, p. 65 



vented a series of experiments in which — with his 
eyes blindfolded — he recorded his "visual" re- 
sponses to a new, totally unfamiliar physical 
setting. These results were then compared to sub- 
sequent responses recorded with the blindfold 
removed. A remarkable level of consistency in re- 
sponse was observed.' 1 Similarly, one of Matiushin's 
experiments required that two people walk toward 
one another, pass one another, and then describe 
one another's subsequent motions without turning 
their heads. This capacity to see "through the back 
of one's neck" — expanding one's field of vision by 
1 80° — could be learned, they felt, through a new 
understanding of the mechanism of perception. 5 

With this new and expanded vision, an artist 
would be able to depict (and the viewer to grasp) 
nature in an entirely new way: a "world without 
boundaries and divisions," one that encompassed 
what was behind as well as in front of an individual 
observer, above as well as below. As Matiushin 
wrote in 1926: "When you see a fiery sunset and for 
a moment turn around into the deep blue violet 
cold, you understand and feel the material influence 
[of both] on the organs of the central perceptions, 
and you will recognize and sense that they both act 
on you at once and not separately." 6 In effect, every 
person was believed to have the capacity to absorb 
and understand what was occurring behind him 
while actually observing what lay in front. The 
effect of these theories on the actual landscape paint- 
ings of these artists was in some instances a ten- 
dency to flatten the picture plane, to move the hori- 
zon line toward, or even beyond, the top of the 
canvas, and to establish a perceptual "center of 
gravity" near the middle of the canvas, so that some 
aspects of the landscape seem to be below and be- 
hind this center, others above and in front of it (cat. 
nos. 49-53). In some other instances, a series of re- 
ceding, spiraling forms created a new and intensi- 
fied sense of depth, of the limitlessness of space, in 
which "the fiery sunset and the deep blue-violet 
cold" were combined, as it were, in a single image. 
(See R., S., C, Costakis, pi. 679.) 

That Matiushin was a professional musician, 
and that the Enders were also accomplished in- 
strumentalists, undoubtedly contributed to their 
common desire to include acoustical perceptions in 
the general program to expand man's ability to 
grasp and depict his environment. They devised ex- 
periments to expand the sense of hearing as well as 
sight, and they painted pictures intended to be ac- 
tual "transcriptions of sound" (zapis zbuka). 1 
Matiushin wrote in 1916: "Sound has the same 
oscillation as color; the words 'a crimson tone,' a 



thin, thick, transparent, brilliant or dull sound, de- 
termine and show very clearly that our eye, as it 
were, can hear and our ear can see." g Boris Ender, 
meanwhile, had created a "table" of speech sounds 
for A. Tufanov's book K zaumi (1924), in which 
Matiushin's theories about the relationship between 
image and sound were described in some detail. 

"See-Know" — and the spatial theories that 
emerged from it — provided the foundation for an 
elaborately developed theory of color which was 
discussed at the Ginkhuk during the years 1923-26 
when Matiushin was directing the Department of 
Organic Culture. Color tables showing the results 
and conclusions of the experiments were drawn up 
with explanatory texts, and some of them were 
taken to Berlin by Malevich in 1927 (and are now 
in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam); others 
were published in Conformity of Changeability in 
Color Combinations. Reference Book on Color 
(Zakonomernost izmeniaemosti tsvetovykh so- 
chetanii. Spravochnik po tsvetu, Moscow and 
Leningrad, 1932). These were to be aids to textile 
designers, ceramicists, architects, etc., and were 
clearly pragmatic in their purpose. Boris Ender had 
considerable success as a designer of architectural 
interiors during the 1930s, moreover, and it is clear 
that his general practice was based upon the con- 
clusions reached with Matiushin during the pre- 
vious decade. 9 

Because of the collaborative nature of the 
Ginkhuk enterprise — in which the artists worked 
closely with one another to solve a set of common 
problems — and because few of their works are 
signed, it is often difficult to make confident indi- 
vidual attributions. The 156 works by these artists 
now in the Costakis collection, of which a selection 
is shown here, offer important new insights into 
the total contribution of the group as a whole. In- 
evitably, the individual attributions and dates of- 
fered here are to some extent tentative, and further 
study of the Ender, Grinberg and Matiushin hold- 
ings in the Soviet Union and elsewhere will be nec- 
essary in order to arrive at a clearer definition of the 
various hands. 10 



4. B. Ender, pp 108-25 

5. M. Matiushin. pp. 75-76; B. Ender. pp. 108-09. Also Mania Ender, 
unpublished report, "On Complementary Form!' Nov. 1927, Pushkin House 
Archives, Matiushin Archive 656. This manuscript, kindly drawn to my 
attention by Z Ender, contains a discussion of the concepts ot "visual 
perception" and "visual conception" 

6. M. Matiushin, p 76. 

7. See R., S., C, Costakis, pis 629, 631 . 

8. "Science in Art,' 1926-27, quoted by A, Povelikhina, "Matiushin!' 
The Structurist. p. 69. 



9 Boris Ender worked with his sister Mariia on the interior design ot the 
Soviet pavilion tor the Exposition internationale in Paris, 1937. and at 
the New York World's Fair. 1939. among other projects. He also worked 
extensively with architects during the 1930s on various questions 
relating to polychromy in architecture. See L. Shadowa. "II colore e 
lambiente cromatico secondo Ended' Rassegna sovietica, no. 6. 1975. 
pp. 81-87, a trans, by C. Masetti from Tekhnicheskaia estetika, 
no. 11. 1974. pp. 5-8. 

10. For color reproductions ot all ot the works by these artists in the 
Costakis collection, see R.. S., C .. Costakis. pis. 526-682. 



75 



MIKHAIL VASILIEVICH MATIUSHIN 



35 



Painterly-Musical Construction. 1918 
Oil on board, 20V16 x 24^1 <s" (51 x 63 cm.) 
Acquired from the Ender family, Leningrad 
155.78 

According to V. Rakitin, this work and cat. no. 36 were 
exhibited at the First Free Exhibition at the Winter Pal- 
ace in Petrograd, 1919. (Information from private ar- 
chives, Leningrad.) 




76 



M. V. MATIUSHIN 



36 



Painterly-Musical Construction. 1918 

Gouache on cardboard, 20 VS x 25 Mf/' (51-4 x 63.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the Ender Family, Leningrad 

154.78 




77 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



ELENA GURO (ELEONORA 
GENRIKHOVNA VON NOTENBERG) 



37 



Untitled, ca. 1908-10 

Ink on paper mounted on paper, 9% x 6V2" 

(Z3.9X 16.5 cm.) 

Acquired from N. Khardzhiev who dated it 1908. 

Rakitin has dated it ca. 1910. 

63.78 

For information on the life and work of Guro see 
N. Khardzhiev, "E. Guro," Knizbnye nouosti, no. 7, 
Moscow, 1938; E. Kovtun, "Elena Guro. Poet i khudo- 
zhnik," Pamiatniki kultury. Novye otkrytiia, Ezbegod- 
nik, 19J6, Moscow, 1977, pp. 317-316; K. B. Jensen, 
Russian Futurism, Urbanism and Elena Guro, Arhus 
(Denmark), 1977. 




78 



BORIS VLADIMIROVICH ENDER 



38 



Movement of Organic Form. 1919 

Oil on canvas, 40^1 <; x 39%" (104 x 100 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

13.78 recto 

On reverse, Abstract Composition, ca. 1921, repr., color, 

R., S., C, Costakis, pi. 534 




S 



79 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



B. V. ENDER 



39 



Untitled 

Watercolor on paper, lyVlc, x iz%" (43.4 x 32.2. cm.' 

Inscribed on reverse in the hand of Andrei Ender: 

Boris Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

45.78 




80 



B. V. ENDER 



40 



Untitled 

Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10%" (35.7 x 2.7.6 cm.; 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C287 





81 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



B. V. ENDER 



41 



Extended Space. 1922-23 

Oil on canvas, 27^6 x 38V2" (69.1 x 97.8 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: Boris Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

14.78 

This work appeared in the 1924 Venice Biennale, cat. 
no. 1456, as "Spazio allargato." 




82 



B. V. ENDER 



42 



Untitled. 1924 

Pencil on paper, 7% x 7V2" (20.1 x 19.2 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: 19 July 1924 B. Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C272 










3S>% 



T 









83 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



NIKOLAI IVANOVICH GRINBERG 



43 



Composition. 1920-21 

Gouache on cardboard, nVs x zo 15 /ir" (28.4 x 53.2 cm.) 

Acquired from rhe Ender family 

61.78 




84 



KSENIA VLADIMIROVNA ENDER 



44 



Untitled 

Oil on canvas, i5 n /ns x n 3 4" (39-8 x 29.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

15.78 




85 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



45 



Untitled 

Oil on canvas, 12. Vs x i^Yu" (30.9 x 40.1 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

20.78 




86 



K. V. ENDER 



46 



Untitled, ca. 1924-25 

Watercolor on paper, 11V2 x 11V4" (29.4 x 28.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

25.78 




87 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



47 



Untitled. 192.5 

Watercolor on paper, 13% x i}Yi6" (34.1 x 33.6 cm.' 

Dated on reverse: 24 July 1925 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

36.78 




88 



K. V. ENDER 



48 



Untitled. 192.5 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 13V2 x 13%" 

(34-3X33-7 cm.) 

Dated on reverse: 24 July 1925 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C271 



\ 



\ 









89 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



49 



Lake. 1925 

Watercolor on paper, 9%s x io 5 / 8 " (24 x 27 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Tarchovka Lake 1925 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

43.78 




90 



K. V. ENDER 



50 



Lake. 1925 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, ^/xc x 10V2" 

(24 x z6.8 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Tarcbovka Lake 1925 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

44.78 




91 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



51 



Lake. 1925 

Watercolor on paper, 9Y16 x 10%" (24 x 27 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Tarchovka Lake 192J 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C269 




92 



K. V. ENDER 



52 



Lake. 192.5 

Watercolor on paper, 8-% x 10%" (22.2 x 27 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Tarchovka Lake, 19Z5 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

21.78 




93 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



53 



Lake. 192.5 

Watercolor on paper, 9%6 x 10%" (2-4-4 x 2 7-7 cm -) 

Inscribed on reverse: Tarchovka Lake 192J 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

31.78 




94 



K. V. ENDER 



54 



Untitled 

Watercolor on paper, 7V2 x 6" (19. 1 x 15.4 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

27.78 




95 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



55 



Untitled. 1914-16 

Paper collage on paper, 15% x 13%" (39 x 34.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

Cm 




96 



K. V. ENDER 



56 



Untitled. 1924-26 

Paper collage on paper, 15% x 13%" (40.3 x 34.6 cm.] 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C122 




97 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



57 



Untitled. 1924-26 

Paper collage on paper, ioYg x jYs" (26.5 x 18.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

37-7S 




98 



K. V. ENDER 



58 



Untitled. 1914-26 

Paper collage on paper, iiVis x 6%" (28.7 x 17.4 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

38.78 




99 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



K. V. ENDER 



59 



Vntitled. 1924-26 

Paper collage on paper, 12V2 x io ll A& (31.8 x 27.2 cm.) 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C120 






100 



K. V. ENDER 



K. V. ENDER 



60 



61 



Designs for a Cigarette Case. 1926 

Paper collage on paper, sheet: 9 x 15" (23 x 38 cm.); 

each image: ^/\f, x 3 1 /i,s" (n x 7.8 cm.) 

Dated u.l.: January 1926 

Inscription: Government Decorative [Arts] Institute. 

Dept. Organic Culture. "Cigarette Box." Work by the 

artist Ksenia Ender. Teacher M. Matiusbin. 

January 1916. 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

40.78-41.78 



Designs for a Tobacco Box. 1926 

Paper collage on paper, 4>4 x 10%" (2-3-5 x z 7-7 cm -) 

Dated u.l.: January 1926 

Inscription: Government Decorative [Arts] Institute. 

Dept. Organic Culture. Work by the artist Ksenia 

Ender. "Tobacco Box." Teacher M. Matiusbin. 

January 1926. 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

39-78 









mm JvtHUU . vu)i P 
.XA&AKF-PKA' 






101 



MARIIA VLADIMIROVNA ENDER 



62 



Untitled. 1920 

Watercolor on paper, 13 x ^/x" (33 x 24 cm.) 

Dated u.l.: Dec. 2, lyzo 

Signed on reverse: M. Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C429 




«r— — 



102 



M. V. ENDER 



63 



Untitled 

Watercolor on paper, 10 x 8Yi 6 " {z$-S x 2.1. 1 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: M. Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C281 




103 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



M. V. ENDER 



64 



Untitled 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 10% x n%" 

(25.8 x 29.9 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: M. Ender 

Inscribed on reverse: To Natasha from Mulenki.Nj6. 1 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C462 




104 



1. The inscription was added at a later date by one ot the daughters 
of Ksenia Ender. 



M. V. ENDER 



65 



Untitled 

Watercolor on paper mounted on board, 12 x 8 n /i6" 

(30.5 x zz. 1 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: M. Ender 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C457 




105 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



M. V. ENDER 



66 



Untitled 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, ioVk x 14%" 

(25.8 x 37.6 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: Martyshkino/M. Ender 

Inscribed: To Galia from M. N19. 1 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C424 




^ 



106 



1 The inscription was added by one of the daughters of Ksenia Ender. 



M. V. ENDER 



67 



Untitled. 1927 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 9V2 x i2. l Yi 

(24.1 x 32.9 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: Odessa 1927 

Acquired from the family of the artist 

C260 



IV,." 




107 



MATIUSHIN AND HIS SCHOOL 



PAVEL NIKOLAEVICH FILONOV 



68 



Head. 1925-26 

Oil and gouache on paper backed with cardboard, 

34V16 x 237s" (86.7 x 60.7 cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the artist's sister, E. N. Glebova, 

Leningrad 

59-78 






m 

Safe-- 



108 




PAVEL FILONOV 



P. N. FILONOV 



69 



Pavel Filonov, like Matiushin and Tatlin, directed 
one of the departments of the Museum of Painterly 
Culture in Petrograd, which was established under 
Malevich's direction in 192.3. He remained in the 
position only a few months, and differed with all of 
his colleagues on matters of artistic policy. More- 
over, he is in almost all respects impossible to place 
within a specific group, though he did for some 
time work in the same environment as Matiushin, 
Malevich and Pavel Mansurov. 1 His own "Collec- 
tive of Masters of Analytical Art" (the filonovtsy) 
was initially set up in 1925 within the framework 
of the Academy of Arts in Leningrad, but from 
1927 to 1932 it was run as an independent venture, 
and it became the center for his own exploration of 
a "Theory of Analytical Art," as well as for his 
teaching of painting. 

While recognizing the fundamental differences 
between the art of Filonov and that of Matiushin, 
Charlotte Douglas has drawn attention to certain 
compelling similarities between the theoretical 
thinking and aesthetic convictions of the two. 2 Both 
artists were committed to easel painting, and they 
therefore found the Productivist program alien. 
Both viewed the creative process as analytic in na- 
ture, rejecting the notion that it depended on emo- 
tional or intuitive inspiration, and insisting rather 
on its extraordinary intellectual and even physical 
aspects. Thus, Matiushin's new way of seeing and 
depicting nature required a complete retraining of 
the eye, and of the mental processes behind the eye. 
Filonov's pictorial aims, meanwhile, demanded 
exhaustive attention to detail — a "control" and 
"exactness" in the handling of the minutely worked 
surface of the painting — in order to realize the goal 
of "madeness" (sdelannost) which he strove to 
achieve. The physical presence of the work of art, 
and the deliberateness of the craft involved in its 
production, were thus intimately bound up with 
Filonov's notion of content. The lapidary detail of 
his intricately built-up forms, and the actual phys- 
ical process of creating them on the canvas were — 
in Filonov's eyes — both a part of the actual sub- 
stance of his art. 

Although the analogy between Filonov and 
Matiushin should not be pressed too far, it is clear 
that they both viewed the art of painting as a com- 
plex process involving highly self-conscious analy- 
sis and an emphasis on the actual physical process 
of creative work: the goal in both cases was an in- 
tegration or fusion of the intellectual and the physi- 
cal in order to achieve new ways of "seeing" or new 
ways of "making." 



Untitled 

Ink on paper, 10% x 8V2" (26.4 x 21.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's sister, E. N. Glebova, 

Leningrad 

203.80 






Kjffc 








1 . See J. E. Bowlt. "Pavel Filonov!' Russian Literature Triquarterly. 

no. 12, 1975, pp. 371-392; idem. "Pavel Filonov: An Alternative Tradition.' 
Art Journal, no. 34, 1975, pp. 208-216. See also T. Andersen, "Pavel 
Nikolaievich Filonov,' Signum, Copenhagen, 1963, no. 9, J. Kriz, 
Pavel Filonov. Prague, 1966 

2. "The Universe Inside & Out New Translations of Matyushm and 
Filonov;' The Structunst. nos. 15-16, 1975-76, pp. 72-74. 



109 



PAVEL FILONOV 





e 



C7P P E M>/ 




vnPEM^i)-? 



IV 
Suprematism and Unovis 



fig. a 

Liubov Sergeevna Popova 

Cover Design for Supremus, Periodical of the "Su- 

premus" Society of Painters. 1916-17 

Ink on paper, 3V2 x 3 Vis" (8.8 x 7.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

Pavel Sergeevich Popov 

C752 

In the months following the December 1915 0.10 exhi- 
bition, the "Supremus" group, including Malevich, Ro 
zanova, Popova, Udaltsova, Exter, Kliun, Pestel, Mikhail 
Menkov and Natalia Davydova, began to take shape. 1 
Plans to publish a Suprematist periodical, with Male- 
vich as the editor, were developed during the winter of 
1916-17, when the group met fairly regularly. However, 
the publication never materialized. Popova made sev- 
eral designs for the cover, some of which bear the date 
1917. 2 



110 



1 Pans, Centre Pompidou, Malevich, Acles du collOQue Internationale. 
mai 1978, Lausanne, 1979, pp. 181, 187-88. 

2, For other examples of these designs in the Costakis collection 
see R„ S., C, Costakis, pis. 824-25. 



Kliun's friendship with Malevich, which had 
started in 1907 (see p. 37), became especially close 
in 1915-18 when Kliun was a strong supporter of 
Suprematism. His work of this period (see, for 
example, cat. nos. 70-79) is concerned with the de- 
piction of clearly articulated form and pure color. 
The relationship between his work of 1916-17 and 
that of Popova is in some instances strikingly close, 
and the nature of their overlapping concerns re- 
quires further study and elucidation. (See, for 
example, cat. nos. 79 and 106.) 

By 1919, however, after Kliun had been pro- 
fessor at the Svomas for a year, his development 
had become more complex. His Suprematist style 
had reached full maturity (see, for example, R., S., 
C, Costakis, pis. 145-151, 163) and he began to ex- 
plore the possibilities of what one might call a Su- 
prematist Constructivism. A group of drawings in 
the Costakis collection (cat. no. 85 iii-vii) record 
Kliun's plans for a series of hanging constructions, 
formulated out of purely Suprematist planar ele- 
ments. Whether he actually made any of these "mo- 
biles" is not known. 1 Certainly they must be seen 
within the context of Klucis's contemporary experi- 
ments with hanging constructions (see p. 195), and 
those of Rodchenko (cat. no. 172). But in a funda- 
mental sense Kliun's constructions differ from both: 
far from arising out of a Constructivist aesthetic, his 
are conceived entirely in planar, and indeed pic- 
torial, terms. Seen beside studies for his contem- 
porary paintings (cat. nos. 84 and 85 Hi) they 
reveal the firmly pictorial nature of his sensibility. 



At about the same time, Kliun's treatment of 
color and form underwent profound changes. 
Color in his work from about 1920 on is often 
characterized by a sfumato technique, a blurring of 
the edges of his forms which creates shimmering, 
atmospheric effects. In many of his paintings of this 
period his concern is with overlapping veils of trans- 
parent color, and the Suprematist juxtaposition of 
pure elements has disappeared. In a statement writ- 
ten for the catalogue of the Tenth State Exhibition: 
Nonobjective Creation and Suprematism, which 
opened in January of 1919, he wrote: "In Color 
Art the colored area lives and moves, affording 
color the utmost force of intensity. And the con- 
gealed, motionless forms of suprematism do not 
display a new art but reveal the face of a corpse 
with its eyes fixed and dead." 2 

Kliun's break with Suprematism as Malevich 
defined it was certainly complete, though he con- 
tinued to evolve his own formulation of it, and 
indeed exhibited several works with the title Su- 
prematism in the 1919 exhibition. His growing con- 
cern during the early 1920s was to depict the move- 
ment of light through a color mass, and even when 
working in a limited color range, this issue ab- 
sorbed him. In his 1924 painting Composition 
(p. 1 26, fig. a), an image that Malevich and Ilia 
Chashnik had conceived in opaque color and artic- 
ulated outline, Kliun's distorted form, transparency 
of color and shimmering outline seem almost to 
offer a critique of Suprematism as originally 
conceived. 



1. Five ol Kliun's entries in the 1919 Tenth State Exhibition were 
"nonobjective sculptures!' No evidence apparently survives to identify 
these works, hut it cannot be ruled out that they were hanging constructions 
based on these drawings. 

2. Trans. Bowlt. Theory and Criticism, p 143 



111 



IVAN VASILIEVICH KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



70 



71 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Oil on paper, 10% x 8%" {27 x 22.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, Serafima Ivanova 

Kliun 

90.78 A 

According to V. Rakitin, cat. nos. 70-76 were exhibited 
in the 1917 jack of Diamonds {Bnbnovyi valet) exhibi- 
tion in Moscow. (Information from private archives, 
Moscow.) 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Oil on paper, 10% x 8%" (27 x 22.5 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
90.78 B 



72 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Oil on paper, 10% x 8%" (27 x 22.5 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
90.78 c 





\ \ 



112 



I. V. KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



73 



75 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Oil on paper, 10% x 8%" (27 x 22.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

86.78 



Untitled, ca. 19 17 

Oil on paper, io'/s x 8%" (z-7 x 22.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

88.78 



74 



76 



Untitled, ca. 19 17 

Oil on paper, 10% x 8%" (27 x 22.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

87.78 



Untitled. 



ca. 1917 



Oil on paper, io 5 /s x 8%" (27 x 22.5 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
89.78 







113 



I. V. KLIUN 



77 



1/ 



Suprematism: 3 Color Composition, ca. 1917 
Oil on board, 141/15 x I3 13 /i<5" (35-7 x 35- cm -) 
Signed and titled on reverse: I.Kliun I Suprematism/ 
3 color composition 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
82.78 A 

According to Rakitin, this work and cat. nos. 78-82 
appeared in the 1917 Jack of Diamonds exhibition in 
Moscow. (Information from private archives, Moscow.) 



.<y 



/ 





i 



114 



n 



I. V. KLIUN 



78 



Snprematism. ca. 1917 

Oil on panel, l$ ls /i6 x 14%" (35-3 x 35- 8 cm -) 

Inscribed on reverse, probably not in the artist's hand: 

Kliun I Snprematism I z e 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

76.78 




^A^ 



115 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



79 



Suprematism. ca. 1917 

Oil on panel, 14 x 14V16" (35-6 x 35.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

77-78 





116 



I. V. KLIUN 



80 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Watercolor and ink with pencil on paper, 12 x 10%" 

(30.5 x 26 cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

75-78 




117 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



81 



Suprematism: 3 Color Composition, ca. 1917 

Oil on board, 14^ x 13%" (35.7 x 35.2 cm.) 

Signed and titled on reverse: 7. Klinn I Suprematism I fJ"^ 

3 color composition 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

82.78 B 



•sm I ( 




118 



/ 



/ 



I. V. KLIUN 



82 



Untitled, ca. 1917 

Gouache, ink and watercolor on paper, 12% x 8%" 

(31.3 x z.2.5 cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Khun 

74.78 







119 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



83 



Untitled. 191 8 

Gouache on paper, 12.% x iiVii (30.8 x z8.8 cm.' 

Signed and dated: 1918 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

177.80 



x=& 







120 



I. V. KLIUN 



84 i-ii 



Untitled, ca. 1918-19 

Left, 255.80: watercolor and pencil on paper, 7% s y.0/% 

(18.3 x 16.2 cm.) 

Right, C559 A: watercolor on paper, 5V2 x 3V2" 

(14 x 8.9 cm.) 1 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 




Ife 



.-r^ 3 




1. This drawing and cat nos 85. 87. 88, 89 are from the oeuvre 
catalogue sheets, see p 60. fn 1 



121 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



-A 






r ___ 






122 



I. V. KLIUN 



85 i-vii 



Seven Drawings. 1918-19 
Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Khun 
Clockwise from u.l.: i, C552 A: 6 l /s x 3%" (15.6 x 9.5 
cm.); ii, C559 B: 5*4 x 3V2" (13-3 x 8.9 cm.); iii, C563 A: 
4X 3%" (10.2x9.5 cm 0; i y > C563 D: 2V2 x 4 1 / 4" (6.4 x 
10.8 cm.); v, C672: 4 x 2%" (10.2 x 6.7 cm.); vi, C563 C: 
4V8 x 2%" (10.5 x 7.3 cm.); vii, C563 B: 3I/8 x 31/3" 
(8x8 cm.) 



Ill 





^ 



£.Z£» 




V 



123 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



86 i-ii 



Two Designs for a Monument to Olga Kozanova. 

1918-19 

Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

Left, 294.80: 6 i y L 6 X47i s " (17.7 x 11. 2 cm.) 

Right, 252.80: 7 3 / 8 x6%" (18.3 x 17.5 cm.) 



Kliun's close friend Rozanova died November 8, 1918, 
of diphtheria. A posthumous exhibition of her work 
was held in Moscow in January 1919, and then again 
later in the year, within the context of the Tenth State 
Exhibition: Nonobjective Creation and Suprematism. 
Kliun wrote the obituary for the catalogue, which in- 
cluded 270 works, and he made a series of designs for 
a memorial to her (these two works and cat. no. 87 i-v). 
His final entry in the exhibition catalogue was "Project 
for a Memorial to O.V.R. [Olga Vladimirovna Rozan- 
ova]. The memorial was apparently never built. 

Several of the drawings for the memorial make explicit 
visual reference to the imagery of Rozanova's Bicyclist, 
the construction of 1915 (see pp. 138-139), indicating 
his sense of that work's significance in her oeuvre. 



^-! 




124 



I. V. KLIUN 



87 i-v 



Five Drawings for a Monument to Olga Rozanova. 
1918-19 
Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
Clockwise from u.l.: i, C551 A: 2% x 2" (7 x 5.1 cm.); 
ii, C551 B: z% x 2.%" (6.8 x 5.7 cm.); iii, C563 E: 3V2 x 
2.%" (8-9 x 6.8 cm.), inscribed l.r.: N 11; iv, C551 D: 
2.5/8 x zVa" (6.8 x 5.7 cm.); v, C551 C: 2% x 1 %" (7.3 x 
4.8 cm.) 



\ 



• 



C 





^J 




125 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 






fig. a 

I. V. Kliun 

Composition. 1924 

Oil on cardboard, 16^/4 x 1614" (41.1 x 41.2 cm.) 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (formerly Costakis collection) 



126 



I. V. KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



88 i-iii 



Three Drawings. 1918-19 

Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

Left to right: i, C551 E: 2 n /i<s x 2. Vis" (7.3 x 5.2. cm.); if 

C551 F: 3I/8 x l"/ifi" (8 x 4.1 cm.); iii, C551 G: 3 x zV s " 

(7.6 x5.4 cm.) 



89 i-iii 



Three Drawings. 1919-1920 

Pencil on paper 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

Left to right: i, C553 A: ^/g x 3" (8.6 x 7.6 cm.); ii, C552 

d: 3 7 /i6 x 3 5 /i 6 " (8.8 x 8.4 cm.); iii, 284.80 A: 4 y 8 x ^/g" 

(11. 1 x n. 1 cm.) 



It cannot be ruled out that these three drawings are also 
related to Kliun's preliminary ideas for a memorial to 
Rozanova. 



Closely related to Kliun's Suprematist paintings and 
gouaches of 1919-1920, these studies combine planar 
with more decorative linear elements, the pencil shading 
and cross-hatching suggestive of Kliun's constant experi- 
mentation with the interaction of texture and form. 



0' 



^ 






127 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



90 



Untitled, ca. 1919-1921 

Gouache on paper, 15 x n^r," (38 x 29.3 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Khun 

178.80 



i 




128 



I. V. KLIUN 



91 



Untitled, ca. 1919-1921 

Gouache and watercolor on paper, i^Yk, x io 1 /^" 

(35.4 x 26.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

179.80 



^ 







s* 



129 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



92 



Untitled, ca. 1919-1921 
Charcoal and gouache on paper, 10 x ioyg" 
(25.4 x17 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
181.80 




130 



I. V. KLIUN 

93 

Untitled. 1921-22 

Pencil and colored pencil on graph paper, 4% x 3I/8" 

(11.1 X7.9 cm.) 

Signed 1.1.: KL 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

265.80 

94 

Untitled. 1920 

Watercolor on paper, 6 u /ig x 4%" (17 x 11. 2 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: /. Kliun XX 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

261.80 




X\ 



it.iyitoit 



131 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



95 i-iii 



96 



Three Drawings 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

Left, i, 800.79: dated l.r., 1920, colored pencil on paper, 

7Vl6 x 5 5 /i6" (18-2- x 13.5 cm.) 

Middle, ii, C554 A: ca. 1921, pencil on paper, 

4 n /i6X 3 y 2 " (11.9x8.9 cm.) 

Right, iii, C554 B: dated in pencil l.r., 1921, pencil on 

paper, $% 6 x 3%" (13.2 x 9.8 cm.) 



Untitled, ca. 1920-21 

Oil on board, 29 x 24" (73.6 x 60.9 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

81.78 



These drawings of 1920-21 are typical of Kliun's 
sfumato style as he moved away from Malevich's 
much more rigorously outlined definition of form. 





132 






r 






133 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



y 




S 



I. V. KLIUN 



97 



Untitled, ca. 1911-25 

Oil on canvas, z%Y\6 x 17%" (71-5 x 43.5 cm.) (sight) 

Signed l.r.: 7. Kliiin 

80.78 

The date of this work is suggested by Rakitin. 






V 



M, ,-,- 



134 



I. V. KLIUN 



98 



Red Light, Spherical Composition, ca. 19Z3 
Oil on canvas, 17V4 x zjVs" (69.1 x 68.9 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
84.78 



ppk 



*&y 



«*> 






"d"jr 







135 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. V. KLIUN 



I. V. KLIUN 



99 



100 



Spherical Siiprematism. ca. 1923-25 

Oil on canvas, 40% x 27%" (102. 1 x 70.2 cm.) 

Signed 1.1.: Kliun 

Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 

71.78 

The title is inscribed on the reverse, though not in the 
artist's hand. 

According to Rakitin, this work was exhibited in 1925 
at the first exhibition of OST (the Society of Studio Art- 
ists). (Information from private archives, Moscow.) 



Spherical Non-Objective Composition. 1922-25 
Oil on canvas, 40% x 27%" (101.8 x 70.7 cm.) 
Signed, titled and dated on reverse: /. Kliun, Spherical 
nonobjective composition, VI I 1922-/Z / 192J 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
83.78 








136 




-. 




137 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



OLGA VLADIMIROVNA ROZANOVA 

101 a 101 b 

Preliminary Sketch for the Construction Automobile. Preliminary Sketch for the Construction Bicyclist. 1915 

I 9 I 5 Both: pencil on paper, 5%^ x 4" (13.5 x 10.1 cm.) 

C353 recto and verso 







Mi 




■ 



•?> 



w -' 

■ - 

: 

3 J: 5 ? 3 



.iiIiULVL£xAiA-i.i^- , 




v v 






- - 




I ■ 



' ' 







-> w. 



. i >' . ■ < ■ 






- 



' 



138 




^v***"*"*""*" 






u c ? 

2^1 







^ au ;> 



sS*:Si 



«* 



.^/^V* 






fig. a 

Diagrammatic rendering of Automobile sketch. 




Cyclisl 

sketchboard pant 
en-face 




white disc set 1 


T prpdle 






W 




wood Painty 




^ 




wood / ^v] 


% 






Painted blaS^CS 








\ J^ 9 ,ee " 


pa><* 



ota^9 e 



plane 



pivot 



fig.b 

Diagrammatic rendering of Bicyclist sketch. 



These two pages of sketches (recto and verso of a single 
sheet) are the only known surviving record in Rozan- 
ova's hand of the two constructions she exhibited at 
o.io (December 19, 1915-January 19, 1916). 1 In addi- 
tion, the lower portion of each page shows a sketch for 
another, otherwise unknown construction. 
The two exhibited constructions (nos. 121 and 122 in 
the 0.10 catalogue) were Automobile and Bicyclist, and 
they were reproduced in a review of the exhibition pub- 
lished on January 3, 1916 (fig. c). Though they became 
famous at the time, they have long since been lost, and 
the Costakis drawings provide the first clear evidence of 
the materials used and the actual appearance of the ob- 
jects. Composed partly of raw materials (unpainted 
wood, tin, glass), partly of painted elements (black, 



white, green and red), and partly of found objects (a 
rubber ball, a brick or cobblestone), Rozanova's images 
suggest on the one hand her strong adherence to the 
Suprematist principles of Malevich's contemporary 
painting, but also her interest in an iconography that is 
more systematically related, though in a complex and 
allusive way, to actual objects in the world. It is this 
original combination of tendencies — the fusing of ab- 
stract form with a nonrepresentational and elliptically 
referential vocabulary — that Rozanova continued to 
develop in 1916 and 1917. (See cat. nos. 102-05.) ft > s 
interesting to note that when her close friend Ivan Kliun 
designed a memorial after her death in 1918, he 
returned specifically to the imagery of the Bicyclist in 
his search for a suitable motif (cat. nos. 86-87). 



O.IO" — noen-fcflHflit Bw«raBK« <$>y ry pn«ro«» a> n<rporo*dV 




-Hfrt«c»n» M Ty»jWT«ik». 2) rBuwevmiht. 1) < PMW<w i t, 4) ilWpMMl^ua. 5) «MwiM awnt 



1 


■ 


■ 


■ 


■ 


. 




■ 


•.'.lirT&Jll 


■ ■ 


1 »r-T41j- 








1««UI 1 


■ 



. - . ■ \ 4inj*.juti.i r* olptlnii Ukii »6tm 



fig. c 

A page from Ogonek, Jan. 3, 1916, illustrating works in 
the 0.10 exhibition. On the far left, Kliun's Cubist at Her 
Dressing Table; in the center, the two Rozanova con- 



structions, Bicyclist (top) and Automobile (bottom); on 
the right, Puni's Barbershop and Window Dressing 
(bottom). 



1. For a discussion of several important aspects of this exhibition see 
C. A. Douglas, "0.10 Exhibition!' in LACMA, pp. 34-40. 



139 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



O. V. ROZANOVA AND 
ALEXEI KRUCHENYKH 

102 

The Universal War (Vselenskaya voina). Petrograd, 

January 1916 

Paper and fabric collage on paper, printed covers, 2 pp. 

printed text, n pp. collage illustrations. Published in an 

edition of 100 handmade copies. 

Each page: 8Vs x n%6" (21x29 cm.); book: 8 u /i,5Xi3" 

(22 x 23 cm.) 

Gift of A. Kruchenykh 

130.80 

Rozanova's illustrations to Kruchenykh's The Universal 
War demonstrate the striking originality and coloristic 
purity of her nonobjective style of 1916, and Kruch- 
enykh's preface to his book stresses the innovative na- 
ture of her experiments. His invention of a zanm 
language, in which the sound of a word is exploited 
apart from its contextual meaning, was clearly echoed 
in the new pictorial language which Rozanova created 
to illustrate the volume's twelve poems (predicting the 
outbreak of a universal war in 1985). Originality per se 
was clearly of great importance to her. In an essay on 
"Suprematism and Criticism" published in Anarkhia, in 
March 1918, she wrote: "The greatest satisfaction in 
creativity is to be unlike anything else. . . . Only he can 
create who feels that he is new, unlike anything else." 

As Hubertus Gassner has argued, though the various 
collages carry titles borrowed from the text, the works 
themselves are clearly lacking in "subject matter." 1 The 
particular stress on asymmetry and dissonance repre- 
sents a clear departure from the carefully calculated 
equilibrium of Malevich's contemporary Suprematist 
compositions. 



140 



1 . "Olga Rozanova!' Women Artists of the Russian Avant-Garde.^ p. 235. 
This article contains a discussion ol Rozanova's contributions in the 
field of book production 





141 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 




142 




O. V. ROZANOVA 



103 



Untitled. 1916-17 

Collage on paper, 8 n /i6 x 13" t- 2 - x 33 cm 

Acquired from A. Kruchenykh 

253.78 



104 



Untitled. 1916-17 

Paper collage on paper, 8% x 13V6" (2-1-9 x 33-4 cm -) 

Acquired from A. Kruchenykh 

254.78 

This collage, and cat. no. 103, must originally have been 
intended as illustrations for the book The Year 1918 
(1918 god), a miscellany by Vasilii Kamensky, Kruch- 
enykh and Kirill Zdanevich, published in Tiflis in 1917. 
The book was handmade, and each copy included indi- 
vidual collages by Rozanova. A copy of the entire book 
in the collection of Alexandre Polonski includes col- 
lages which are on paper that is identical in nature 
(color, texture, size) to that used as the ground in the 
present two works. In addition, the paper of the actual 
collage elements (including the turquoise embossed 
paper used in cat. no. 103) is identical to that used for 
collage elements in the Polonski book. 

It is not clear whether the two collages in the Costakis 
collection derive from a dismembered copy of the 1917 
book, or whether they were simply extra pages that re- 
mained unused. 



143 



SUPRE.MATISM AND UNOVIS 



O. V. ROZANOVA 

105 

Untitled {Green Stripe). 1917 

Oil on canvas, 27^16 x 20%" (71 x 53 cm.) 

Gift from I. Kachurin, who acquired it from a close 

friend of Rozanova 

251.78 

According to Rakitin, this work was included in 
Rozanova's posthumous exhibition, held in Moscow in 
1919, which included twenty-two "Suprematist non- 
objective compositions." Ivan Kliun wrote the catalogue 
preface. Rakitin has also drawn attention to the exis- 
tence in a Soviet collection of a similar work with a 
yellow stripe on a white ground. These unusual com- 
positional experiments demonstrate yet again Rozan- 
ova's emphasis on innovation, originality and the break- 
ing of new ground. As early as 1913, she had written: 
Each moment of the present is dissimilar to a mo- 
ment of the past, and the moments of the future will 
contain inexhaustible possibilities and new revela- 
tions. . . . There is nothing more awful in the World 
than repetition, uniformity. Uniformity is the apothe- 
osis of banality. There is nothing more awful in the 
world than an artist's immutable face, by which his 
friends and old buyers recognize him at exhibitions 
— this accursed mask that shuts off his view of the 
future. . . . x 

In Rozanova's collages of 1916, Suprematist forms are 
arranged upon a ground that is clearly distinct from 
them, and the forms appear suspended in a large pic- 
torial space. In this painting, however, and presumably 
in others of this moment, Rozanova destroys the notion 
of a ground as such. The green, interpenetrated at its 
edges by the white, exists on the same plane with it and 
the entire surface of the canvas thus becomes a flat 
juxtaposition of color masses. Though Rozanova still 
regarded herself as a Suprematist painter, she — like 
Kliun — was developing an independent formulation. 
(Seep, in.) 



144 



1. "The Bases of the New Creation and the Reasons why it is misunder- 
stood" (Osnovy novogo tvorchestva 1 pnchiny ego neponimaniya). 1913. 
trans. Bowlt, Theory and Criticism, p. 109. 




p:„- 



145 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



146 



LIUBOV SERGEEVNA POPOVA 



106 



Painterly Architectonics. 1916-17 

Oil on canvas, 17% x jyVn" (43-5 x 43-9 cm -) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

182.78 




^ 




yu<-K 




c^> 



^^^■■H 



147 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



L. S. POPOVA 



107 



Painterly Architectonics. 1917-18 

Oil on canvas, 37V16 x 30" (94.1 x 76.3 cm.) (sight) 

From A. Vesnin to D. Sarabianov; acquired from Sara- 

bianov 

176.78 



According to Rakitin, this work and cat. no. 106 both 
appeared in Popova's posthumous exhibition of 192.4. 




148 



L. S. POPOVA 



108 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Paper collage on paper mounted on paper, 13 x 9%(j" 

(33 x -4-3 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

186.78 




149 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



L. S. POPOVA 



109 



Cover Design for a Set of Linocuts. ca. 1917-19 
Linocut on paper, 16% x 11%" (41-7 x z 9-9 cm -) 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 
188.78 



Several of Popova's linocuts appeared in her posthu- 
mous exhibition of 1924 and are visible in the installa- 
tion photographs. 




150 



L. S. POPOVA 



110 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Gouache and pencil on paper, n 15 /i6 x 9 9 /u" 

(32.9x24.3 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

187.78 




151 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



L. S. POPOVA 



111 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, 13% x io^tg" (34.1 x 16.1 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

189.78 




152 



L. S. POPOVA 



112 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, I2i5/ 16 x 9 y 16 » ( 32-9 x 14 cm _) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C390 




153 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



L. S. POPOVA 



113 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, I3%s x lo% 6 " (34.5 x 25.9 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

192.78 




154 



L. S. POPOVA 



114 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, 13% x 10%,;" (34.4 x Z5.9 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

193.78 




155 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



L. S. POPOVA 



115 



Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, I3%6 x 10%,;" (34.5 x 26 cm.) 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 

191.78 




156 



NADEZHDA ANDREEVNA UDALTSOVA 



116 



Untitled, ca. 1920 

Gouache on paper, z^Yie, x lyVz" (64 x 44.5 cm.) 

Acquired from A. A. Drevin, son of Alexandr Drevin 

and Udaltsova 

ATH.80.18 




157 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



N. A. UDALTSOVA 



117 



Untitled. 



ca. 19Z0 



Gouache on paper, 18% x 15 yU" (48 x 38.5 cm.' 



Acquired from A. 
and Udaltsova 
ATH.80.19 



A. Drevin, son of Alexandr Drevin 




158 



N. A. UDALTSOVA 

118 

Untitled, ca. 1920 

Gouache on paper, iz 1 ^ x 97i6" (32-5 x 24 cm.) 

Acquired from A. A. Drevin, son of Alexandr Drevin 

and Udaltsova 

ATH.80.20 





* 




159 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



KUDRIASHEV IN ORENBURG 

After the Revolution, Ivan Kudriashev was admit- 
ted to the Free State Art Studios in Moscow 
(Svomas), where he studied with Malevich and also 
met Kliun, Gabo and Pevsner. In 1919 he was sent 
to Orenburg to establish the Svomas there, main- 
taining his contact with Malevich through corre- 
spondence and occasional visits, and in 1920 he 
organized an Orenburg branch of Unovis. 1 Oren- 
burg's theater, dating from 1856, was renamed — in 
1920 — The First Soviet Theater, and Kudriashev's 
Suprematist designs for its interior decoration 
were exhibited in that same year. 2 It has not been 
possible to establish whether the designs were ever 
carried out. 





v\ 









,sf V 



160 



1 An unpublished letter Irom Malevich to Kudriashev. addressed to him 
in Orenburg and dated Vitebsk. April 14. 1921 , bears witness to a 
continued shared interest in the development and dissemination ot 
Suprematist ideas and principles (Costakis collection, 143.80) 
Malevich writes about his own activities, about the progress of the 
Suprematist movement, about attitudes towards the Unovis movement and 
about Kudriashev's work ("Your mural is good -it must be really good in 



the original, and luminous" He presumably had a photograph ot part ot 
the theater decoration.) 

2 For an installation photograph, see R.. S., C , Costakis, pi 406 

For color reproductions of these designs, and of an additional oil for the 

project now in the Tretiakov Gallery. Moscow, see ibid., pis 407-10 



IVAN ALEXEEVICH KUDRIASHEV 



119 



Design for The First Soviet Theater in Orenburg. 1920 

Pencil and gouache on paperboard, 13 x 41" 

(33 x 102.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist 

127.78 



' ,x 




^ 





h 




161 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



I. A. KUDRIASHEV 



120 



Design for The First Soviet Theater in Orenburg. 1920 

Watercolor, gouache and paper collage on paper, 

5 3 /l<;X 15%" (13.3 x 39 cm.) 

Inscribed on mount: Foyer/lateral wall 

Acquired from the artist 

132.78 





162 



I. A. KUDRIASHEV 



121 



Design for The First Soviet Theater in Orenburg. 1920 
Watercolor, ink and pencil on paper on board, 8yic,x 2.1" 
(21.2x53.4 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist 
133.78 






163 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



ILIA GRIGORIEVICH CHASHNIK 



122 



Suprematist Cross. 1923 

Oil on canvas, $z 7 /i6 x 52V2" (l33-l x 133.4 cm ) 

Signed, dated and inscribed on the reverse: Unovis 11. 

Chashnik, 23 

Acquired from a private collection in Leningrad 

795-79 



For information on the life and work of Chashnik see 
S. von Wiese, A. B. Nakov, et al., Ilja C. Tschascbnik, 
Kunstmuseum Diisseldorf, 1978; llya G. Chashnik, 
New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, 1979. 







164 



KAZIMIR SEVERINOVICH MALEVICH 



123 



Black Quadrilateral 

Oil on canvas, 6 n /\6 x 9 7 /i6" (17 x 24 cm.) 

Gift from a close friend of the artist 

ATH.80.10 

Malevich exhibited his first black quadrilaterals at the 
0.10 exhibition in Moscow, December 1915. A rectan- 
gular form on a light ground was also exhibited on that 
occasion and is visible in the installation photographs. 1 

Malevich's radical break with the pictorial traditions of 
the past, represented by these 1915 compositions, has 
been widely discussed in the literature. 2 As both Crone 
and Marcade have pointed out, Malevich specifically 
described these works as "quadrilateral" (chetyreugol- 



nik), rather than as square, and indeed none of them 
can be described as conforming strictly to a geometrical 
form; rather they are quadrilaterals tending towards the 
square or the rectangle. It was the "quadrilaterality" 
that concerned Malevich, and as such they represented 
a departure from a "triangularity" which until then had 
been historically seen as a symbol of the divine. He 
wrote: "the form of modernity is the rectangle. In it four 
points triumph over three points." 3 The specificity of 
his references to the "icon" in his writings of the period 
further intensifies this association. Thus the works func- 
tion on one level as extreme examples of the absolute 
planarity of the pictorial surface; on another as "non- 
figurative" expression of the "nonobjective world" ren- 
dered visible. 4 










1. A. B. Nakov, Kazimir S. Malevic: Scrim. Milan. 1977, p. 153. The 
dating ol these works is often difficult to establish, since Malevich 
himself continued to produce variants well into the 1920s and several 
were produced in his studio at the Inkhuk. On this point, see T. Andersen. 
Malevich, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1970, p. 40. fn. 13. 

2. See, for example, J. Golding, "The Black Square!' Studio International. 
vol. 189, no. 974, Mar-Apr. 1975, pp, 96-106; L. Henderson. "The Merging 
of Time and Space: 'The Fourth Dimension' in Russia from Ouspensky 
to Malevich!' The Structurist. nos. 15/16. 1975-76, pp. 97-108: 

S. Compton, "Malevich's Suprematism and the Higher Intuition',' Burlington 
Magazine, no. 118. Aug. 1976, pp. 577-585; E. Kovtun, "The Beginning 
of Suprematism!' Kasimir Malewitsch: zum WO. Geburtstag. Galerie 
Gmurzynska, Cologne, 1978, pp, 196-231 ; R. Crone. "Zum Suprematismus 
-Kazimir MaleviJ, Velimir Chlehnikov und Nicolai Lobacevskij!' 
Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch. vol. XL, 1978, pp. 129-162: J.C. Marcade, ed.. 



Malevich. Actes du collogue international (Centre Pompidou. Paris. May 4 
and 5. 19781, Lausanne. 1979; idem, "K. S. Malevich: From Black 
Quadrilateral (1913) to White on White (1917); from the Eclipse of Objects 
to the Liberating Space!' LACMA, pp. 20-24; C. Douglas, Swans of 
Other Worlds: Kazimir Malevich and the Origins of Abstraction in Russia. 
Ann Arbor, 1980. 

For Malevich's own writings on Suprematism see A. B. Nakov, Kazimir 
S. Malevic: Scrim, Milan. 1977; J. C. Marcade, "An Approach to the 
Writings of Malevich!' Soviet Union, vol. 5, pt. 2, 1978. pp. 225-240. 

3. Quoted by J. C. Marcade, LACMA. p. 21 . from an otherwise unpublished 
manuscript in a private archive in Leningrad. 

4. For a discussion of this point see J. C. Marcade. LACMA. pp. 21-22; 
E. Martineau. preface to K. Malevich. Ecrits. II. Le Miroir Suprematiste. 
Lausanne. 1977, p, 33. 



165 



K. S. MALEVICH 



K. S. MALEVICH 



124 



125 



Single Page Autograph Manuscript, dated July i, 1916 

Colored inks, crayon and pencil on paper, 10^5 x 6%" 

(26.3 x 16.2 cm.) 

Page numbered u.r.: p. 27 

Acquired from the collection of S. Lissitzky-Kiippers, 

Novosibirsk 

164.80 

This single page in Malevich's hand is apparently part 
of a longer manuscript or diary. Some passages are rec- 
ognizably taken from Malevich's essay "From Cubism 
and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in 
Painting," which appeared for the first time in connec- 
tion with the December 1915 0.10 exhibition and was 
published in its most complete form (third edition) in 
Moscow, January 1916. Other passages are closely re- 
lated to Malevich's concepts and ideas of the period. He 
was drafted into the armed forces in the middle of July 
and apparently did not write again for some time. 

For the most detailed discussion and publication of 
Malevich's writings see A. B. Nakov, Kazi?nir S. Male- 
vie: Scritti, Milan, 1977; J. C. Marcade, K. Malevich, 
Ecrits, Le Miroir Suprematiste, 1 vols., Lausanne, 1977. 



1 ...1 V frl 



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r >, . . :i>.w l-. v ' ■.'.'■' ... 

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' I .J*.' 



Front and Back Program Covers for the First "Confer- 
ence of the Committees for Peasant Poverty, Northern 
Region 191S" 

Color lithograph on heavy folded paper. Page: 19V16 x 
25V2" (48.5 x 64.8 cm.), recto image: 11% x 11%" 
(29 x 29 cm.), verso image approx.: 7 l Y\c, x 7%" 
(20.1 x 19.7 cm.) 

Signed in the stone within the image, l.r.: KM 
Front cover: Conference of the Committees for Peasant 
Poverty, Northern Region 191S. 
Back cover: Proletarians of all nations unite! 
C161 

The creation of the Committees for Peasant Poverty in 
late 1917 and early 1918 marked the beginning, in 
Lenin's words, "of the Revolution in rural districts." 
The first Conference took place November 3-8, 1918 in 
Petrograd and the pamphlet designed by Malevich 
originally contained three texts: the speech made at the 
Congress by Grigorii Zinoviev (pseud. Radomylsky, 
1883-1936) who was head of the Party and Soviet 
organization for Petrograd; the speech delivered by 
Anatolii Lunacharsky, the Commissar of Popular En- 
lightenment, on behalf of the workers of Petrograd; and 
instructions to the village and country Soviets on 
peasant poverty. 1 

The size of the edition is unknown, but less than half a 
dozen copies of this cover are recorded. N. Khardzhiev 
has suggested that the pamphlet, which was printed on 
unusually fine paper, was destined only for the official 
delegates, and that it would thus have been printed in 
a very small edition. Bowlt states that the lithographed 
pamphlet was produced in an edition of ten or twelve 
copies, and he attributes the rarity of the document to 
the participation of Zinoviev: because the latter was an 
enemy of Stalin and an ally of Trotsky, copies of the 
pamphlet were, by the mid 1920s, being seized or 
destroyed. 

Malevich's lithographic cover had an extraordinary 
impact on the development of typography and design 
in the years following its 1918 publication. (For 
discussion and bibliography see R., S., C, Costakis, 
pis. 497-98). 



166 



1. "The 'Vasari' Diary!' Art News, vol 75. no 5, May 1976. p. 25, reporting 
information supplied by J E Bowlt. 





167 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



AGITPROP DESIGNS 



K. S. MALEVICH 



During the 1920s and early 1930s, the artists of the 
avant-garde produced an extraordinary range of 
"agitational" posters, designs for decorating agit- 
prop trains and trams and other materials to be used 
in the battle against capitalism, against illiteracy 
and for the progress of the Revolution. The trains 
traveled across the country during the civil war, 
distributing Bolshevik propaganda, and although 
Malevich has not hitherto been identified with the 
decoration of such trains, he did participate in 
the propaganda effort starting in 1918. (See Agi- 
tatsionno-massovoe iskusstvo . . . , Moscow, Izda- 
telstvo iskusstvo, 1971, p. 96; L. Shadowa, Suche 
und Experiment, Dresden, 1978, pis. 174, 176.) 



126a 



Sketch for Agitprop Train, ca. 1920 
Pencil on paper, 7 x 87i<s" (17.9 x 2r.5 cm. 
Acquired as a gift from I. Kudriashev 
C525 recto 



126 b 



Sketch for Agitprop Train, ca. 1920 
Pencil on paper, 7 x % 1 /\" (17.9 x 21.5 cm.] 
Acquired as a gift from I. Kudriashev 
C525 verso 



- 
















—*■- 












— 






, 




53 •.. 










































- 























168 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



127 



128 



Revolutionary Propaganda 

Lithograph, 7 x 17%" (17.9 x 45.4 cm.) 

Text: Proletariat of the World Unite. Organization of 

Production Victory Over a Capitalist Structure 

Acquired from the collector, Evgenii Platonovich Ivanov 

139.80 



Revolutionary Propaganda 

Lithograph, 8% x 23 n /i6" (2.2.2 x 60.1 cm.) 

Text: Create the Week of the Red Gift Everywhere 

Acquired from the collector, E. P. Ivanov 

276.78 



> 



flPOAETAPM* BCEX CTPAH ujEJHHA «r£(".b' 



0praHM3aijHfl npoH3Bo/icTBa 



HaA . .nklTA/lHCTMHECKH 



BB M 




CTPOEM 











169 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



UNOVIS IN VITEBSK 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



The following eight drawings are stylistically re- 
lated to the work of the Malevich school in Vitebsk 
and were probably produced there in about 1920— 
2.1. The penciled notations on the drawings ("1st 
room," "2nd room," "3rd room," "ceiling," etc.) 
identify the series as studies for a Suprematist inte- 
rior. A 1919 manuscript by Malevich outlines prin- 
ciples for the decoration of "a wall, a surface, an 
entire room, or a total interior according to the sys- 
tem of Suprematism." 1 It is clearly within this con- 
text that the present series was created. Malevich 
and his students Chashnik, Vera Ermolaeva, Niko- 
lai Suetin and Lazar Chidekel also produced designs 
for the decoration of rostrums (tribunes) and other 
Revolutionary festival structures; the hands of the 
various participants in these projects are difficult to 
distinguish. 2 



129 



Untitled 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 14% x n %g" 

(37.5 x 28.7 cm.) 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C200 



130 



Untitled 

Gouache and pencil on paper, i^Ms x n%" 

(37.8 x 28.9 cm.) 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C201 



'<•*? 



fc&'A 




' ' 


• 


• .. " 









170 



1 Partially published by L. Shadowa. Suche und Experiment, Dresden. 
1978, p. 317. 

2. See. for example, ibid., pis. 157, 162-63, 166-67, 173 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



131 



132 



Untitled 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 14% x 2.2.%" 

(37-4 x 57-7 cm 

Inscription: 1st room 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C20Z 



Untitled 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 14% x n'lV 

(37.5 x 57.6 cm.) 

Inscription: 1st room 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C2.06 






i fr-..iniy.V*ft_ 



• 4 M ■ ' 










mr 






















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' ficjirtfiit. 





, 






w 






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1 

11 V 






tS»'S5J^g 


w 











171 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



133 



Untitled. 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, i4 l Yu x 22%" 

(37.7.x 57.8 cm.) 

Inscription: 1st room ceiling 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C207 



\ 




; 



... J 



172 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



134 



Untitled 

Gouache and pencil on paper, I4 1 5 / i6 x 22%" 

(37.9x53.6 cm.) 

Inscription: ind room 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C203 



135 



Untitled 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 14% x 21%" 

(37.8x53.6 cm.) 

Inscription: 3rd room 

Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C204 



™ 


■ 


- 


1 

















• 

• 1 

• • 




■ 
■ 



173 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



ARTIST UNKNOWN 



136 



Untitled 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, I4 15 /is x 2.2 u /ks" 
(37.9x57.6 cm.) 
Inscription: is; room 
Acquired from I. Kudriashev 

C105 








174 



LISSITZKY AND KLUCIS, 1919-1922 

Addressing the Inkhuk in 192.4, Lissitzky said: 
In continuing to paint with brush on canvas, we 
have seen that we are now building and that the 
picture is burning up. We have seen that the sur- 
face of the canvas has ceased to be a picture. It 
has become a construction and, like a house, you 
have to walk around it, to look at it from above, 
to study it from beneath. The picture's one per- 
pendicular axis (vis-a-vis the horizon) turns out 
to have been destroyed. We have made the 
canvas rotate. And as we rotated it, we saw that 
we were putting ourselves in space. Space, until 
now, has been projected onto a surface by a 
conditional system of planes. We began to move 
on the surface of the plane towards an uncondi- 
tional distance. . . - 1 

When Lissitzky moved to Vitebsk in the sum- 
mer of 1919 at the invitation of Chagall, he clearly 
did so in order to work more closely with Malevich 
(whom he had met in 1918) and to absorb and 
develop what he perceived to be the possibilities of 
Suprematism. He was invited to teach in the Studio 
of Graphic Arts, Printing and Architecture at the 
Popular High School of Art, and his program, as he 
defined it, involved teaching the students "the basic 
methods and systems of architecture and . . . the art 
of giving graphic and plastic expression to their 
constructional projects (working on models)." 2 It is 
clear that his concept of "Proun" was developed 
within this context, and that architecture played a 
crucial role in Lissitzky's development of the idea. 
He wrote: 

The painter's canvas was too limited for me. The 
connoisseur's range of color harmonies was too 
restricted; and I created the Proun as an interme- 
diary station on the road between painting and 
architecture. I have treated canvas and wood 
panel as a building site which placed the fewest 
restrictions on my constructional ideas. 3 

In works such as Proun 6 B (cat. no. 148), and 
Proun 1 (cat. no. 141), Lissitzky gave expression to 
his desire to destroy the limitations imposed by the 
format of the painter's canvas: the work is to be 
seen from all four sides, to be rotated. In Proun 1 E , 
The Town (cat. no. 142), the viewer is to be pro- 
jected into space and made to look down "at it 
from above." 

The architectural thinking articulated in the 
Prouns was part of a more general movement 
around 19ZO. Many artists (only some of whom 
were architects) became involved with the ideologi- 
cal effort to create new "architectural" forms that 



would embody the aspirations of the Revolution. 
For example, Tatlin's "Monument to the Third 
International," Anton Lavinsky's "City for the 
Future," Malevich's studies in volumetric Suprem- 
atism and Lissitzsky's own "Wolkenbiigel," all in 
different ways shared the Utopian characteristics of 
this phase of Constructivism: they were all in some 
sense seeking cosmic paradigms for the new age. 

Klucis's Dynamic City (cat. no. 150) and his 
drawings and prints of these years (cat. nos. 151-57) 
belong to the same tendency. They are essentially 
visionary and imaginative conceptions of techno- 
logical developments rather than practical, struc- 
turally feasible designs. Like Lissitzky, Klucis 
clearly intended his ideas to have an impact on the 
society in which he lived: Valentina Kulagina wrote 
in her diary in 1922, "Gustav . . . intends to rebuild 
the world and the universe. . . " 4 But the results 
were more symbolic and aesthetic than truly func- 
tional. In his strikingly original constructions of this 
period (p. 195, fig. a, and p. 196, fig. a) Klucis 
created coherent spatial formulations which greatly 
impressed his contemporaries, 5 and which — seen in 
conjunction with their pictorial counterparts (p. 
195, fig. b) — have extraordinary resonance. Klucis's 
photomontage Dynamic City (p. 189, fig. a), with 
"workers of a future society" placed at strategic 
places on its perimeters, is on one level a purely 
Utopian fantasy, but a fantasy based on the notion 
that architecture is the fundamental language of the 
future. As Lissitzky had written: "It is in architec- 
ture that we move today. It is the central issue of 
modern times." 6 

The dating and chronology of Klucis's work of 
1919-1922 and the contemporary work of Lissitzky 
pose certain problems. The artists certainly knew 
one another by 1918, and both were, by then, ad- 
mirers of Malevich. From 1919 to 192.1, when Lis- 
sitzky was in Vitebsk, Klucis (who first studied at 
the Moscow Svomas, then became a member of the 
Inkhuk and of the Vkhutemas) remained in close 
touch with Malevich, and even exhibited with the 
Unovis group in Vitebsk in 1920. As he and Lissit- 
zky developed their independent Suprematist 
idioms during these years, it is clear that similari- 
ties of approach existed, and that each learned 
important things from the other. Until further evi- 
dence emerges to elucidate the nature of these 
mutual influences, however, only tentative efforts 
can be made to establish the chronology of their 
separate careers during these years. 7 



1. El Lissitzky. lecture delivered at the Inkhuk. October 24. 1924. trans 
J. E. Bowlt. in Cologne, Galerie Gmurzynska. Lissitzky. 1976, p. 66. 

2, Journal of the Governmental Soviet ot Peasant Red Army Worker and 
Labourer Deputies, no. 169. July 17, 1919, p. 3. quoted by V, Rakitin, 
"El Lissitzky!' Architectural Design. Feb, 1970, p, 82, 

3 S. Lissitzky-Ku'ppers, £1 Lissitzky. London, 1980. p. 325 

4, Quoted by V, Rakitin, "Gustav Klucis Between the Non-Objective 
World and World Revolution:' in LACMA, p. 61 



5. ibid. 

6. Lecture at the Inkhuk, October 24. 1924, trans, in Bowlt, Lissitzky. p. 71 . 

7. For additional information on Klucis see V. Kalmykov and A. Sarabianov, 
Sto pamiatnykh dat. Moscow. 1974, pp. 17-20; N. Lapidusova, "Gustav 
Klucis:' Umenia remesla (Prague), no. 3. 1977, pp. 24-28; H. Gassner 
and E, Gillen, eds,. Zwischen Revolutionskunst und Sozialistischen 
Realismus: Dokurnente und Kommentare Kunstdebatten in der Sowjetunion 
von 1917 bis 1934. Dusseldorl, 1979. 



175 



EL LISSITZKY 

(LAZAR MARKOVICH LISITSKY) 



137 



Promt 1 c . 19 19 

Oil and collage on wood, 16% x z6%" (67.5 x 67.5 cm. 

Titled, signed and dated on reverse: Proun l c El Lis- 

sitzky 1919. Painted on reverse, a red square within a 

circle; inscribed below the square: UNOV1S 

Collection Antonina Gmurzynska, Cologne, formerly 

Costakis collection 

Acquired from the collection of Sophie Lissitzky- 

Kiippers, Novosibirsk 

(New York only) 



vA 



cT 



y> 



i 

•a 
r 




176 




ELLISSITZKY 



138 



Untitled. 1919-1920 

Gouache, pencil and ink on paper. Page: 3% x 3%" 
(10 x 10 cm.); image: 3^x3%" (9.7 x 9.7 cm.) 
Written across center of black square, barely visible: 
Rosa Luxemburg 

Acquired from the collection of S. Lissitzky-Kiippers, 

Novosibirsk 

440.80 



A larger version of this composition, lacking the Rosa 
Luxembourg inscription, is in the collection of the Van 
Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (gouache, 52 x 50 cm., no. 
2.0271. L24). As part of the Plan for Monumental 
Propaganda initiated by Lenin in May 1918, artists 
were encouraged to create monuments of all kinds to 
major revolutionary figures. In this connection a 1919 
issue of Art of the Commune (hkusstvo kommuny) 
carried the announcement of a competition for a monu 
ment to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg who 
were assassinated that January. The present gouache 
may have been destined for the cover of a memorial 
brochure dedicated to Luxemburg, either arising out 
of the competition or some other context. Later Lissit- 
zky apparently abandoned the project and painted out 
her name. 




177 



SUPREMATISM AND UN'OVIS 



EL LISSITZKY 



139 



Cover Design for Proun Portfolio. 1921 

Gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper. Page: i9Vi<; 

x 14" (48.5 x 35.7 cm.); image: 6V4 x 6V2" (16 x 16.5 cm.) 

Signed 1.1. in gray within composition: El 

Acquired from the collection of S. Lissitzky-Ktippers, 

Novosibirsk 

146.78 



140 




Design for cover of the publication Proitns: A Lecture 
Read at the General Meeting of hikhuk, September 23, 

Black and red gouache, ink and pencil on gray folded 

paper. Page: 14% y-^/i" (37.7 x 24 cm.); diameter of 

image: 4V2" (11.5 cm.) 

Inscribed in gray ink around edge of circle: May the 

overthrow of the Old World be imprinted on the palms 

of your hands 

Signed in black ink: El Lissitzky 

In parentheses along diameter line in black ink: 

In overcoming art 

Below title in black ink: Lecture read at the general 

meeting of Inkhuk Sept. 23 1921 

Acquired from the collection of S. Lissitzky-Ktippers, 

Novosibirsk 

C518 



fA A 



He*. 




/ J 




Lissitzky's lecture on the Proun {"Proekt ntverzhdeniia 
novogo," "Project for the Affirmation of the New") was 
delivered at the Inkhuk on September 23, 1921. The 
original Russian text has apparently not survived, 
though the existence of this cover design confirms the 
fact that publication was planned. Lissitzky did publish 
essays based on the lecture in Vesch/Gegenstand/Objet 
and De Stijl in 1922. (For further information see 
R., S., C, Costakis, p. 244.) 



178 



EL LISSITZKY 



141 



Froan 1. 1919-1921 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper. Page: 13V2 x 
17%" (34-4 x 45-5 cm -); image: 10 x 13I/2" (25.5 * 
34.4 cm.) 

Inscribed in pencil, one word on each of three sides: 
Along the path of a circle; 1.1.: P 1 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
148.78 




179 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



EL LISSITZKY 



142 



Promt 1 E , The Town. 1910-21 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper. Page: 13%^ x 
1814" (34.4 x 46.1 cm.); image: 8 7 / 8 x ioi% 6 " (22.5 x 
27.4 cm.) 

On mount 1.1.: P J E ; l.r.: Plan of a city square 
Included in the first Proun portfolio, Moscow, 1921 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
151.78 



~' E "T'S5: 







180 



EL LISSITZKY 



143 



Proun 2 B . 1919-1921 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper. Page: 13%^ x 

17%" (34-5 x 45-5 cm.); image: 10V2 x 8 3 /i 6 " (26.7 x 

20.9 cm.) 

Inscribed in pencil on mount 1.1.: P 2 B 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

147.78 







181 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



' 




182 



EL LISSITZKY 



EL LISSITZKY 



144 



145 



Proun 2 D . 1919-1921 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper. 

Page: i8 3 /i6 x 13V2" (46.1 x 34.4 cm.); image: i4Vi 6 x 

834"( 3J .8xz2..4cm.) 

Inscribed in pencil on mount: P 2 D 

Included in the first Proun portfolio, Moscow, 1911 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

149.78 



Promt 3 A . 1919-1921 

Lithograph on paper. Page: n^gx io 1 ^" (28.5 x 

27.8 cm.); image: 10% x loYic," (27.6 x 26.2 cm.) 

Inscribed 1.1. in pencil below image: P 3 A 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

142.78 




183 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



EL LISSITZKY 



146 



Proun 5 A . 1919-192.1 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper. Page: 18%^ x 

i3 9 /ns" (46.1 x 34.4 cm.); image: iol 3 /i6 x 10%" (27.5 x 

26.1 cm.) 

Inscribed 1.1. in pencil on mount: P S A 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

145.78 




184 



EL LISSITZKY 



147 



Sketch for Proun 6 B . ca. 1919-1921 

Gouache and pencil on paper. Page: 13% x i7%<s" 

(34.6 x 44.7 cm.); diameter of image: 9 n /i&' (24-6 cm -) 

Signed: el Lissitzky 

Penciled title in three places: P 6 B (indicating that the 

work should be viewed from all directions) 

Acquired from the collection of S. Lissitzky-Kiippers, 

Novosibirsk 

438.80 



The circular painting that closely follows this study was 
exhibited at the International Art Exhibition in Dresden 
in 1926, and then entered the collection of Ida Bienert. 
It is presumed lost (repr. S. Lissitzky-Kiippers, El Lissit- 
zky, London, 1980, p. 2.6). The lithograph was included 
in the first Proun portfolio of 1921. 




185 



SUI'REMATISM AND UNOVIS 



EL LISSITZKY 



148 



Proun 6 B . ca. 1919-1921 

Circular lithograph on paper mounted on paper: 

diameter of image: 9%" (2.5.2 cm.) 

Inscribed in pencil on mount: 1.1.: P 6 B 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

150.78 




186 



EL LISSITZKY 



149 



Proun 10°. ca. 1919-1921 

Gouache and pencil on buff paper. Page: io li /i6 x 9 Vie" 
(27.9 x 23.1 cm.); image: 8 5 /ic x 7I4" (21. 1 x 18.5 cm.) 
Inscribed in pencil u.L: No 21; 1.1.: Proun 10° 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
439.80 



Though this design was undoubtedly intended for 
realization in lithographic and/or painted form, 
Lissitzky never carried it out. The gouache remains a 
unique example of the image. 




187 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



yvZss *&>&* 




188 



GUSTAV GUSTAVO VICH KLUCIS 



150 



Dynamic City. 1919-1921 

Oil with sand and concrete on wood, 34I4 x 25%" 

(87 x 64.5 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: G. Kinds 

Acquired from the artist's wife, Valentina Ivanova 

Kulagina 

94.78 

According to Rakitin, this work was shown at the 
Moscow Unovis exhibition of 1921. 




fig. a 

Documentary photograph (printed from Klucis's own 
negative owned by Costakis) of photomontage. Pres- 
ent whereabouts unknown. Ca. 1919-1920. 



V 




fig.b 

Documentary photograph (printed from Klucis's own 
negative owned by Costakis) of an ink, pencil and 
gouache (?) drawing, signed l.r.: G. Kinds. This hith- 
erto unpublished drawing (collection Riga Museum) 
appears in an installation photograph of Klucis's one- 
man exhibition held in Riga in 1970. Though its dimen- 
sions are not known, its juxtaposition in the installation 
with works of known size implies dimensions of ca. 
i8 n /i^x20%" (47.5 X53 cm.). Its chronological relation- 
ship to the Dynamic City has not been established, 
though it probably dates from approximately the same 
time. 



189 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



G. G. KLUCIS 



151 



Construction, ca. 1910-21 

Pencil and gouache on paper, n%s x 9Y\& (-8-5 x 2.3.7 

cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

95-78 




190 



G. G. KLUCIS 



152 



Construction. 1920-21? 

Colored ink and pencil on paper, ii^^x 14%" 

(28.5 x 37.9 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I, Kulagina 

99.78 




191 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



G. G. KLUCIS 



153 




Architectural Drawing, ca. 1921? 

Pencil and red crayon on paper, 9^ x io%s" (23.5 x 

26.9 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

C480 



154 



Architectural Construction, ca. 1921-22? 

Pencil on paper, 17 x 13%" (43-2 x 33.3 cm.) 

Signed l.r.: Klucis 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

102.78 




192 



G. G. KLUCIS 



155 



Construction, ca. 1921-22 

Ink, gouache, pencil and watercolor on paper, ioVi x 

8%" (26.8x21.3 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

98.78 




193 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



G. G. KLUCIS 



156 



Construction. 1922-23 

Lithograph on paper, 6Vie x 8 n /i<s" (i5-5 x 12»I cm -! 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

121.78 




194 




fig. a 

Gustav Klucis 

Construction. 1920-22 

Dimensions and whereabouts unknown 

Photograph Costakis collection, printed from Klucis's 

negative 




fig.b 

Gustav Klucis 

Construction. 1920-22 

Lithograph, 7% x $ l Y l6 " (19.7 x 15 cm.) 

Acquired from V. I. Kulagina 

C476 



195 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



G. G. KLUCIS 



157 




Construction Project, ca. 1921-23 
Linocut on paper, 8^5 x 5%" (21.5 x 14.2 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
122.78 



. 




196 



fig. a 

Gustav Klucis 

Construction, ca. 1920-22 

Dimensions and whereabouts unknown 

Photograph Costakis collection, printed from Klucis's 

negative 



SERGEI YAKOLEVICH SENKIN 



158 



Construction of Three Forms, Unovis. 1919 
Oil on plywood, i9 5 /s x i6V 8 " (49.8 x 41 cm.) 
Signed and dated l.r.: S. 19; on reverse: Senkin 1919 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's daughter, 
N. S. Senkina 
255.78 

According to Rakitin, this work was executed in 
the winter of 1919-1920 during Senkin's first visit to 
Vitebsk where he joined the Unovis group. He became 
close friends with Klucis and they later shared a work- 
shop in photomontage at the Unovis. 




197 



SUPREMATISM AND UNOVIS 



The Inkhuk and Constructivism 



198 



VLADIMIR EVGRAFOVICH TATLIN 



159 



Drawing for a Counter-Relief(?) ca. 1915 
Pencil on paper, 6Y\c, x 9V4" (15.7 x 23.5 cm.] 
300.80 



W 



it- 



-if 



199 



V. E. TATLIN 



160 



161 



Drawing for a Corner Counter-Relief, ca. 1915 
Charcoal on brown paper, ^Y\6 x 0/\" (2.3.3 x I 5-7 cm -) 
299.80 

Preparatory drawings for Tatlin's corner reliefs are 
almost unknown. This drawing may be an initial study 
for the relief shown at the December 1915 0.10 exhibi- 
tion and reproduced in the journal that was distributed 
on that occasion (cat. no. 161). 



Neiv Magazine for Everyone (Novyi zhurnal dlya 
vsekh.) Petrograd, December 17, 1915 

4 PP-, i4?is" x 10%" (37.1 x 27 cm.) 
140.80 

This printed brochure about Tatlin was distributed at 
the 0.10 exhibition. 



Bjiap,MMip-b EBrpa<fcOBMH-b 
TATJIHHT.. 



- 






200 



V. E. TATLIN 



162 



Wing strut for Letatlin. 1929-1932 
Willow and cork, length: 94V2" (240 cm.) 
Purchased from K. Zelinsky's widow 
273.78 

Tatlin worked on his invention the Letatlin for several 
years, starting in 1929. His intention was that the "air 
bicycle" (propelled by man, not by motor) would be 
put into general production and used by ordinary 
people. The Letatlin — a word coined by the artist out 
of the Russian verb "to fly" (letat) and his own name — 
was thus conceived simultaneously as a utilitarian con- 
struction and as a work of art. Tatlin was utterly 
persuaded of both its practicality and its aesthetic 
quality: "Now art is entering into technology." He 
based his technical solutions on his observations of 
birds, specifically a group of young cranes that he kept 
and watched closely, and probably on a set of calcula- 
tions by the leading pioneer in rocket research, K. E. 
Tsiolkovsky. 1 Upon its completion in 1932, the Letatlin 
was exhibited in Moscow at the State Museum of Art 
(Pushkin Museum). 

As the pilot K. Artseulov wrote in 1932, the materials 
were chosen with extreme care entirely on the basis of 
their flexibility and their ability to function. The willow 
wood was split rather than sawed or cut, so that the in- 
ternal fibers were preserved full length. With the help 
of steam, the long strips of wood were then molded, 
pressed and twisted into complicated octagons of bent 
wood, giving them strength, elasticity and powers of re- 
sistance to the rotation and movement of the wings. The 
ratio of the weight of the wings to the weight of the en- 
tire mounted machine was 1:6 — corresponding to the 
ratio of wing to body in most birds. 
Tatlin's projects for utilitarian objects throughout the 
1920s show a consistent involvement with organic form 
as opposed to technological design. This wing strut, an 
eloquent example of this concern, is the only part of the 
construction that has apparently survived. 




1. See Troels Andersen, in Stockholm, Moderns Museet, Vladimir Tallin. 
July-Sept, 1968, pp. 9-10, 

For important information on Tatlin see also V E Tallin Zasluzhennyi 
deyatel iskusslva RSFSR Katalog vystavki proizvedenii. Moscow, 1977 




THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



ALEXANDR MIKHAILOVICH 
RODCHENKO 



163 



Nonrepresentational Construction of Projected and 

Painted Surfaces of a Complex Composition with 

Colors. 1917 

Varnished watercolor and gouache with pencil on paper, 

14I/2 x n 1 /." (36-8 x 29.2 cm.) (sight) 

Signed and dated l.r.: A. Rodchenko 191 j 

Gift of Varvara Fedorovna Stepanova 

242.78 



The titles of this and the following work (cat. no. 164) 
were supplied by Rakitin, and are based on material in 
the Rodchenko Archive in Moscow. According to notes 
in that archive, both works were included in the Fifth 
State Exhibition (From Impressionism to Nonobjectiv- 
ity) held in Moscow in 1919. 




202 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



164 



Nonrepresentational Construction of Projected and 
Painted Surfaces of a Complex Composition with Col- 
ors, Circle and Line Composition. 1917 
Gouache, ink and watercolor on paper, 10 7k; x 8" 
(26.6 x zo.3 cm.) (sight) 
Signed and dated 1.1.: A. Rodcbenko 1917 
Gift of V. F. Stepanova 
243.78 




203 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 




-J 

1 

Xr 



204 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



165 



Untitled. 1917 

Charcoal on paper, z6 l /i x 20V2" (66.7 x 52 cm.) 

Signed lower edge: Rodchenko 

Gift of the artist's daughter, Varvara Alexandrovna 

Rodchenko 

246.80 



This drawing is closely related in style and composition 
to some of Rodchenko's designs for the Cafe Pittor- 
esque, 1 though it seems unlikely that it was preparatory 
to any functional aspect of that project. Though lacking 
the decorative surface treatment of works such as cat. 
nos. 163 and 164, it does share some of their formal 
vocabulary and probably dates from not much later. 



166 



Composition: Two Circles. 19 18 

Varnished oil on paperboard, 10 x 8%" (25.4 x 21.3 cm.) 

Gift of the artist 

245.78 

According to notes in the Rodchenko Archive in Mos- 
cow, this work appeared in the Nineteenth State Exhi- 
bition in Moscow (December 1919) and the Exhibition 
of Four (Moscow, 1920). 2 

During the course of debates held at the Inkhuk Janu- 
ary-April 1921 (see below, pp. 226-227), a painting by 
Rodchenko entitled Two Circles (closely related in 
composition to this work, though painted in enamel) 
was discussed at length, as an example of construction 
in painting. Rodchenko commented that in order to 
achieve construction in painting, materials should 
always be used with extreme sensitivity to their natural 
properties. Though he was cautious about accepting the 
definition of "construction" for this painting, preferring 
to describe it as "striving towards construction," several 
other members of the group felt it did achieve its goal, 
and it was brought up again for further discussion at 
a later session. 

Rodchenko's desire to achieve a "halo" of sfumato light 
around each circle apparently resulted in his explora- 
tion of the potentialities of various media. His experi- 
mental approach to matters of style and technique 
intensified considerably during the years 1918-1920, 
and he produced works of such diversity during those 
years that the establishment of a chronology or a sense 
of stylistic development becomes almost impossible. 
(See below, cat. nos. 167-171.) 




1 See, lot example. G Karginov. Rodchenko. London. 1979, pis. 69 and 70 

2. No detailed information on this exhibition has been found. According 
to Rakitin, it included the work of Kandinsky, Rodchenko, Stepanova and 
Siniezubov. but whether a catalogue exists has not been established. 



205 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



167 



The Clown Pierrot. 1919 

Gouache and ink with pencil on paper, 2.0 x 14" 

(50.8 x 35.6 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: Kodchenko i<)i<) 

Gift of the artist 

244.78 



One of seventeen costume designs for the revue We 
planned by Alexei Gan. Gan never actually wrote the 
revue, and the costumes were thus not produced. 

According to notes in the Rodchenko Archive, the de- 
signs were all shown at the June 1923 exhibition in Mos- 
cow, Moscow's Theatrical Art: 191S-1923. They were 
subsequently included in the 1925 Exposition Interna- 
tionale des arts decoratifs et industriels modernes in 
Paris (cat. nos. 141-157, "dessins de costumes pour 
Nous autres de A. Gann" [sic]). 





206 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



168 



Composition No. nj. 1919 

Oil on canvas, 15% x l^/u" (40.3 x 35.1 cm.) 

Stenciled signature and date on reverse: Rodcbeuko 

1910; in black ink: N. iij 

Purchased from the artist 

239.78 



According to Rakitin, the title and date correspond to 
those recorded in the Rodchenko Archive in Moscow, 
which also indicates that the painting appeared in the 
Nineteenth State Exhibition of December 1919, and in 
the Exhibition of Four (Moscow, 1920; see above cat. 
no. 166, fn. 2). The stenciled date on the reverse was 
thus presumably added later. 

Gustav Klucis saw this canvas in the 1920 exhibition, 
and in a letter to Kudriashev spoke of a work "by Rod- 
chenko ... a black picture with little dots of color . . . 
a work of extraordinary genius." 1 




1. According to Costakis. the letter is preserved in a provincial museum 
in the USSR. 



207 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



169 



Construction on White (Robots). 1920 
Oil on wood, 56 n /i6 x 37%" (144 x 94.3 cm.) 
Stenciled signature on reverse: Rodchenko 
Gift of the artist 
2-49-78 



According to notes in the Rodchenko Archive, this work 
was shown at the Nineteenth State Exhibition in Mos- 
cow (December 1919) and at the Exhibition of Four 
(Moscow, 192.0; see above cat. no. 166, fn. 2). 



208 




A. M. RODCHENKO 



170 



Composition no. izj. 1920 

Oil on canvas, 54 x 37 u /is" (137-2 x 95.7 cm.) 

Stenciled signature and date on reverse: Rodchenko 

1920; in ink: N. I2J 

Purchased from the artist 

248.78 



According to Rakitin, the title corresponds to that re- 
corded in the Rodchenko Archive in Moscow, which 
also indicates that the painting appeared in the Exhibi- 
tion of Four (Moscow, 1920; see above cat. no. 166, 
fn. 2). 




209 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. M. RODCHENKO 

171 

Linearism. 1920 

Oil on canvas, 40V2 x 27 7 /is" (102.9 x 69.6 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: Rodcbenko I 1920 I 

No. 104 

Purchased from the artist 

240.78 

Rodchenko's paper on Line 1 prepared for the Inkhuk in 
the autumn of 1921, reflects his commitment at that mo- 
ment to the essential significance of line within the en- 
terprise of "construction." This polemical position, 
which claimed for line a "victory" over the very nature 
of painting (color, tone, faktara and plane), was taken 
at a moment when discussions about the theoretical for- 
mulation of Constructivism were at their height. 

Linearism and Oval Hanging Construction, no. 12 
illustrate clearly the theoretical basis of Rodchenko's 
Constructivist thinking. They are, however, only a part 
of what constituted his actual practice during these cru- 
cial years. A. Nakov has written cogently about the 
radical nature of stylistic change within the entire chron- 
ological development of Rodchenko's oeuvre. 2 But 
equally striking is the coexistence within a few short 
months (in 1920) of these Constructivist tendencies with 
painterly works in which color, tone, faktura — the very 
process of making art — are essentially the subject of 
the work. 3 In 1943 Rodchenko's continued preoccupa- 
tion with such issues is manifested in a single composi- 
tion consisting entirely of elaborately interwoven skeins 
of color (see cat. no. 173). 

The complexity of Rodchenko's restless experimental 
career, and his ambivalence about the "death of paint- 
ing" require considerable further study. Elucidation of 
many aspects of these issues may lie in the surviving 
notebooks, diaries, drawings and gouaches in various 
archives in the USSR. 



The manuscript of this essay, which was never published in Russian. 



' '" is in a private archive in Moscow. For information on the English 

translation, see Rowell, pp. 24-25. fn. 21 . 



2 "Stylistic changes: Painting without a referent!' Museum of Modern 
Art. Oxford, Rodchenko, 1979, pp. 56-57. 

3 See for example, Painting no 125. cat. no. 1 70, or Abstraction (Rupture) 
of late 1920, repr. color. R„ S„ C„ Costakis. pi. 1020. 




211 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



172 



Oval Hanging Construction, no. iz. ca. 1920 
Painted plywood and wire, 32% x 23 x 17 Vis" 
(83.5 X58.5 x 43.3 cm.) 
Gift of the artist 
246.78 



173 



Expressive Rhythm. 1943-44 

Gouache on paper, 24 x 68" (61 x 172.7 cm.) 

Signed in monogram l.r.: A. R. 

Gift of the artist's daughter, V. A. Rodchenko 

241.78 



Between 1918 and 1920, Rodchenko executed several 
freestanding and hanging constructions, which reflect 
an interest in manipulating forms in real space. The 
identification of this piece as Oval Hanging Construc- 
tion, no. iz was found in the artist's archives. 1 

The hanging constructions, probably executed in 1919- 
1920, are based on the principle of repetition of a single 
form: a rhomboid, circle, hexagon, oval, etc. The oval 
construction was made from a single sheet of plywood 
which the artist cut in concentric bands from the outer 
circumference to the center. 2 Closed, the structure rep- 
resents a flat oval plane, whereas opened, it becomes a 
skeletal structure of graduated linear ellipses revolving 
around a central axis. Tiny bits of wire hold the open 
ribs in place. 

Whereas in Rodchenko's earlier constructions, the art- 
ist appears to have placed more emphasis on materials,' 
the constructions of ca. 1920 represent a linear modeling 
of space. That one face of the object is painted silver 
further testifies to Rodchenko's waning interest in the 
real substance of materials and contributes to the dis- 
embodied effect of the whole. 

Rodchenko's hanging constructions were shown for the 
first time at the Third Obmokhu exhibition in May 1921 
in Moscow (see fig. 16, pp. 28-29). This piece is thought 
to be the only hanging construction to have survived. 



The work appears in a wedding photograph of Rod- 
chenko's daughter and on this basis is datable no later 
than 1944. 




1 Information supplied by V Rakitin According to J E Bowlt, there were 
ten treestanding and six hanging constructions ("The Construction ot 
Space" in From Surface to Space, p. 9) 

2. Photographs from the period suggest that this method was not 
followed in the other constructions 

3. See C. Gray, The Great Experiment Russian Art 1863-1922, 
New York, 1962.pl. 175, p. 257. 



213 



VARVARA FEDOROVNA STEPANOVA 



174 



Two Figures. 1920 

Oil on board, IsYux zS 7 A 6 " (89.4 x 72.3 cm.) 

Purchased from the artist 

266.78 

According to Rakitin, this work appeared in the Nine- 
teenth State Exhibition held in Moscow, 1920. (Infor- 
mation from private archives, Moscow.) It was also 
shown in 5 x 5 = 25, Moscow, September 1921 (cat. no. 
4 or 5 in that catalogue); and at the Galerie van Diemen, 



Berlin, at the Erste russische Knnstausstellung, 1922 
(cat. no. 211 in that catalogue). 

For information about Stepanova's theory of painting, 
see V. Agrarykh (Stepanova), "Bespredmetnoe tvor- 
chestvo," 10-ya Gosndarstvennaia vystavka, Moscow, 
1919, trans, into English and German in 'Women Artists 
of the Russian Avant-Garde, pp. 272, 276. See also Step- 
anova, Varvara Fedorovna 1S94-195S, Katalog, Kos- 
troma, 1975. 




214 



SOLOMON BORISOVICH NIKRITIN 



175 



The Connection of Painting and Architecture: Tectonics 

1919 

Oil on canvas, 68 l Yn x 51%" (175. 1 x 131.1 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse: 19 19, S. Nikritin, Composition 

Acquired from the artist's widow 

163.78 



The title above is given by Rakitin, who dates the work 
1910-21. 




215 



LIUBOV SERGEEVNA POPOVA 



176 



Painterly Architectonics. 1918-19 

Oil on canvas, 17% x 2.2%" (70.8 x 58.1 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, Pavel Sergeevich 

Popov 

178.78 



216 




L. S. POPOVA 



177 



Painterly Architectonics. 1918-19 

Oil on canvas, 28% x iS^Aa" (73.1 x 48.1 cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

180.78 



According to Rakitin, this work and cat. no. 176 ap- 
peared in Popova's posthumous exhibition of 1924. 



<^\^CrX^~ 




217 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



178 



Untitled. 1919-1921 

Gouache and watercolor on paper, I3 1 %6 x io7ks" 

(35.1 x 26.5 cm.) 

Dated on reverse in Vesnin's hand: 1921 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

195.78 




218 



L. S. POPOVA 



179 



Untitled. 1920-21 

Crayon on paper, io 1 ^ x W\(" (2.70 x zo -6 cm.) 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 

C73 



Probably a study for the painting formerly in the Cos- 
takis collection, now in the Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow. 
A closely related drawing in a private collection (colored 
pencil on paper, io 1 ^,-, x 8 Vis", 17.5 x 20.5 cm.) is re- 
produced in Women Artists of the Russian Avant- 
Garde, p. 194, no. 71. It is said to be dated on reverse 
1922, though this could be in Vesnin's hand. 




219 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 




220 



L. S. POPOVA 



180 



Spatial Force Construction. 1920-21 

Oil with marble dust on wood, 44M6 x 44%" 

(112.6X 112.7 cm.) 

Dated on reverse: 1921 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

175.78 



This work and cat. no. 182 appeared in Popova's post- 
humous exhibition of 1924 and are visible in the instal- 
lation photographs. 



181 



Spatial Force Construction. 1921 

Ink on paper, 17 x io 1 ^" (43.2 x 27.5 cm.) 

Dated on reverse: 1921 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

196.78 

According to Rakitin, this work was also shown in 
Popova's posthumous exhibition of 1924. 




221 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 




182 



Spatial Force Construction. 1921 

Oil with marble dust on plywood, 27'%;; x 25 Vk" 

(71 x 63.9 cm.) 

Dated on reverse: 192 r 

Acquired from the artist's brother, P. S. Popov 

179.78 

Popova's contributions to the hand-made catalogues for 
the 1921 exhibition 5 x 5 = 25 include a linocut (fig. a), 
closely related to the present painting. Several other 
Spatial Force Constructions of 1921 are variations on 
this imagery. (See R., S., C, Costakis, pis. 872-73.) 



fig- a 

L. S. Popova 

Linocut from catalogue for 5x5 

(see cat. no. 216). 



25, page 8, 1921 



222 




223 



THE 1NKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



V. F. STEPANOVA 



183 



Gaust Chaba. 19 19 

Handmade book: paper collage and watercolor on 

newspaper; 14 pp. 

Each page: io* 3 /^ x 6%" (27.5 x 17.5 cm.) 

Eight poems, six collages, plus cover. The newspaper 

carries the date 1918. 

Gift of A. Rodchenko 

C489 



The book appeared in Moscow in 1919 in an edition of 
fifty numbered copies, plus four separately numbered, 
priced at fifty rubles each. The present copy is number 38. 

Starting in 1912 with books such as Worldbackwards by 
Khlebnikov and Goncharova, the Futurists in Russia 
had initiated an assault on the accepted notion of the 
book as a richly ornamented and printed aesthetic ob- 
ject. They substituted handwritten texts for printed ones 
and used lithographic presses, cheap stock and wood- 
block illustrations. 1 In Gaust Chaba, Stepanova added a 




- 







S8g_igft! 



■ -"■ = — = 5 t: _ a\ 

■ - ■ 
! : 

P S 3 H — 'y = - fc 






U 





: 



.Ik 

gfislf ?gl=i s BEf 
Si= :'»?! = -=* 

fg| |e| "1 f 



: 5 3 ;-: 






.-<»» 



■ - 

' - 



§ : 2 i 3 - 3 = -3 6 

? ? ? 2 f •= .5 I » S 1 






if ■ . : ; b ;- 

ISfa?|ls»l^ts - 
I a iff 1 ' : 



224 



1 See above, cat no. 28. 



new dimension to this process and created what Evgenii 
Kovtun has described as an "anti-book." 2 Her "stock" 
was newspaper — a choice that in itself sets up a series 
of antitheses. Thus, the typeset newspaper text was 
denied its own communicative function by the super- 
imposition of Stepanova's manuscript text. Her poems 
were explicitly zaum, while the underlying newspaper 
text was, of course, thoroughly prosaic. While the 
latter might — with difficulty — still be "read," it was 
made essentially incomprehensible by being placed lat- 
erally in relation to the viewer holding it in a conven- 



tional way. Meanwhile, collages and poems were diag- 
onally superimposed upon it. The poems in turn were 
written in a language that was — to the ordinary reader 
— incomprehensible, although it was intended ultimately 
to carry a larger meaning. Some of the collages were 
themselves made from typographical elements, thus 
converting words into pictures. As a final inversion, 
Stepanova placed the title page at the back of the book; 
as Kovtun observed, all that remained of a "book" in the 
conventional sense was the fact that its pages could be 
turned. 










2. From Surface to Space, p. 57. 



225 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



INKHUK PORTFOLIO 

The following group of drawings and watercolors 
(cat. nos. 184-208) were acquired from the collec- 
tion of Alexei Babichev and date from his asso- 
ciation with the Inkhuk (histititt khudozhestvennoi 
kultury, the Institute of Painterly Culture). 1 

The Inkhuk was founded in May 1920, initially 
under the direction of Kandinsky. Its original aim 
was to formulate an ideological and theoretical 
approach to the arts based upon scientific research 
and analysis. Kandinsky's program, published in 
Moscow in 1920, 2 was detailed and ambitious. 
It clearly reflected his own convictions about 
the psychological implications of art, and the es- 
sentially subjective nature of aesthetic experience. 3 
This led to disagreements with other founding 
members of the Institute, and by the end of 1920 he 
had left. The administration was then reorganized 
by Rodchenko, Stepanova, Babichev and Nadezhda 
Briusova — the nucleus of what was to become the 
Working Group of Objective Analysis. 

Babichev, a sculptor and theoretician who had 
been trained first in mathematics and then in art, 
drew up the new program:' The subjective, psycho- 
logical issues were rejected. Instead, the program 
was rooted in an objective analysis of form, and its 
essentials were framed under two headings: 

1. Theoretical: the analysis of the work of art, 
the conscious definition of the basic problems 
of art (color, faktura, material, construction, 
etc.). 

2. Laboratory: group work according to inde- 
pendent initiative or according to a task. For 
example, all members were presented with 
work on the theme "composition and con- 
struction." 

It is within the context of the Institute's Labor- 
atory section, and specifically in connection with 
the theme of "composition" and "construction," 
that the present group of drawings must be studied. 5 

Eighteen of the drawings carry on their verso 
an Inkhuk stamp, with a handwritten number be- 
tween 2 and 27 (e.g., cat. no. 187); the two draw- 
ings by Ladovsky carry a circular Inkhuk stamp 
with no number. Gaps in the numbering indicate 
that the portfolio is incomplete, and in fact a list of 
the entire original group of drawings, said to be 
preserved in the archive of the Group of Objective 
Analysis, cites thirty works. 6 

During the four months January-April of 1921, 
the Working Group of Objective Analysis held nine 
sessions during which the issues of "composition" 



and "construction" were discussed (January 1, 21, 
28, February n, 18, March 4, 18, 25, April 22). 
Shorthand reports of these sessions were kept, re- 
cording the positions taken by various participants. 
The drawings themselves were apparently used for 
analysis at the final session on April 22. 7 The record 
of the theoretical discussions, together with the 
visual evidence provided by the drawings, throws 
important new light on the developing theory of 
Constructivism and ultimately that of Productivism 
as they were being formulated at the Inkhuk during 
1921. 

Attendance at the sessions fluctuated, but al- 
most all of the artists represented in the portfolio 
participated with some regularity. There were con- 
siderable differences of opinion regarding the cate- 
gories under discussion. The architect Nikolai 
Ladovsky, for example, stated that "the chief sign 
of construction [is] that there be no superfluous ma- 
terials or elements in it. The chief distinction of 
composition is hierarchy, coordination." He defined 
technical construction (as opposed to pictorial con- 
struction) as "the union of shaped material elements 
according to a definite scheme for the achievement 
of a force-effect." 

The sculptor Babichev gave a slightly different 
definition: "Construction is the organic unity of 
material forms attained through the exposure [rev- 
elation] of their [intrinsic] functions. . . ." Accord- 
ing to his view, it is possible in "composition" to 
encounter situations in which the material itself dic- 
tates and prescribes the form; in construction, how- 
ever, it is essential to dominate the material. 

Bubnova and Popova at one point prepared a 
joint definition according to which construction is 
characterized by necessity, whereas composition is 
characterized by the regular, tasteful arrangement 
of elements. Popova, adopting the essence of La- 
dovsky's definition for technical construction, also 
applied it to painting, stating that if the material 
elements in their combination achieve the goal set 
by the artist, and if there is nothing redundant in the 
work, construction is achieved. She thus expressed 
the view, shared by others, that one of the central 
issues for construction was the ability to create in 
such a way as to make efficient and economical 
forms that were absolutely consistent with the in- 
trinsic nature of the materials being used: there 
should be nothing merely added, nothing super- 
fluous. 

Rodchenko, focusing on construction in paint- 
ing, distinguished between the construction of the 
forms themselves, independent of their placement 



226 



1. Six works— three by Bubnova, two by loganson. one by Popova- 
were acquired by Costakis with the Inkhuk portfolio and are therefore 
included in this context, though they carry no Inkhuk stamp (and in the 
case of the logansons postdate the group as a whole). Similarly, two 
works by Khun and one by Rodchenko, all dating from the same Inkhuk 
period, are included here. All of the works not specifically part of the 
Inkhuk numerical series are identified with an asterisk. 

2. 1, Matsa, Sovetskoe iskusstvoza 15 let Materialu 1 dokumentatsiia, 
Moscow. Leningrad, 1933, pp 126-39 

3. E.g., while Kandinsky included physics, physiology, optics and 
medicine under the study of color, he did so in order to intensify his 
examination of the deeper emotional effects that he believed colors to 



have upon the psyche Similarly the study of form and line was to be 
based upon rigorous mathematical and geometrical analysis, but only in 
order to arrive at conclusions about the power of certain linear and 
formal combinations to evoke feeling and sensation A questionnaire he 
devised early in 1920 and circulated at the Inkhuk included such 
questions as "Describe bow certain colors affect you"; "Don't you think 
that a triangle has a greater sense of humor than a square?" etc 
See R., S., C , Costakis. pis 63-64 

4, Published in Russkoe iskusstm. nos. 2-3, 1923. pp 85-88 For 
extensive information on Babichev. see D. Sarabianov, Alexei Babichev 
Khudozhnik, teoretik. pedagog. Moscow. 1974. Also A. Babichev, "0 
Konstruktsu i kompositsii'.' Dekorativnoe iskusstvo SSSR no, 3 1967 
pp. 17-18 



on the canvas, and the construction of the work as 
a whole. He went so far as to suggest that since au- 
thentic construction was "utilitarian necessity," the 
achievement of such construction in painting was 
probably impossible. One could try to approach it 
by creating "constructive compositions"— composi- 
tions in which the materials are used with particu- 
lar regard for their appropriateness and for their 
intrinsic properties, but the overriding aesthetic 
considerations in painting may well present insur- 
mountable obstacles. Babichev, meanwhile, rejected 
a highly restrictive notion of "utilitarian necessity." 
He felt that the categories applicable in technology 
were not strictly applicable in art, and that the two 
should be kept separate. He suggested that a law of 
"mechanical necessity" and a law of "plastic neces- 
sity" could coexist in the same work. 

Stepanova's views were similar to— but also 
slightly different from— those of other members in 
the group. She agreed with Ladovsky's basic dis- 
tinction between composition and construction, 
but stated the dichotomy even more strongly. In 
construction, she felt, there is an unequivocal ne- 
cessity for economy in the use of materials and 
elements, while in composition the actual reverse 
is true, since "everything rests precisely on the 
excessive. . . . The flower on a teacup is absolutely 
unnecessary for its constructive appropriateness, 
but it is necessary as an element of taste, a compo- 
sitional element. . . ." The essential distinction be- 
tween the two concepts could, Stepanova argued, 
rest upon the fact that if one part of a "composi- 
tion" is deleted, the whole does not lose its mean- 
ing; it merely requires rearrangement of the 
remaining parts or the addition of some others. In 
construction, on the other hand, the removal of 
a single part entails the destruction of the whole. 

In time, discussions at the Institute focused 
increasingly on construction perse (rather than its 
relation to composition) and the majority gradu- 
ally came to the conclusion that construction could 
not be achieved in painting. Rodchenko, clearly 
moving toward the questions that were to become 
the basis of Productivist theory, summarized the 
issues in the following manner: "Technical con- 
struction cannot be brought into painting. Our 
attraction to construction is an expression of the 
modern consciousness, which comes out of indus- 
try." He defined construction "as a goal or task 
executed according to one definite system in 
which the organization of materials accounts for 
the specifics of their purpose, their appropriate use, 
and the absence of a single redundant element." 



The process of formulating definitions for 
"construction" and "composition" forced the vari- 
ous participants to refine their individual theoreti- 
cal convictions and thereby to clarify the differences 
among them. Thus, on March 18, 1921, the "First 
Working Group of Constructivists" emerged as a 
unit and held their first meeting (Rodchenko, Ste- 
panova, Medunetsky, Karel Ioganson, and the 
Stenberg brothers). On March 26 the "Working 
Group of Architects" was formed with Ladovsky, 
Vladimir Krinsky, and others. On April 8, Korolev 
announced the formation of a group of sculptors, 
and on April 1 5 the "Working Group of Objec- 
tists" (Drevin, Udaltsova and Popova) held their 
first session. To some extent, therefore, the draw- 
ings discussed at the final session on April 22 re- 
flect the more strongly defined tendencies of these 
different groups. 3 For example, Kliun's "construc- 
tion" (cat. no. 191) was conceived by him as the 
collision of two states: the static (in the back- 
ground) and the dynamic (in the foreground). The 
color of the different elements (not indicated in 
the drawing), as well as the precise placement of 
the forms, would be determined by the different 
functions they performed in expressing the basic 
static-dynamic theme of the work. 9 Nevertheless, 
the essentially pictorial nature of Kliun's "con- 
struction" does suggest, in spite of his analysis, the 
degree to which his own sensibility was quite alien 
to that of the Constructivists, and it is not surpris- 
ing that he left the Inkhuk shortly after the April 
1921 sessions. By contrast, Medunetsky and V. 
Stenberg— both of whom exhibited constructions 
at the Third Obmokhu exhibition in May 1921 — 
produced work that consistently showed a strong 
correlation between Constructivist theory and 
actual artistic practice. Indeed, they were, with 
Babichev, the only members of the group to submit 
"constructions" that were feasible designs for the 
creation of actual objects in space. 

At one point, the Inkhuk group developed 
plans for a publication (From Figurativeness to 
Construction) summarizing their conclusions and 
presenting examples of their works, but the project 
was never realized. Nonetheless, the surviving ma- 
terials do give extremely important insights into 
the development within the Inkhuk and the 
Vkhutemas of the theoretical issues that led these 
artists to move from pictorial concerns to Con- 
structivist ones, and finally to "production art." 



5. In connection with this subject, see Khan-Magomedov, pp. 40-79. 
Also Lodder, Constructivism Both Khan-Magomedov and Lodder base 
their discussion on the unpublished records of the sessions held at the 
Inkhuk during this period: the present discussion ot the theoretical 
issues is entirely indebted to their researches. 

6 Khan-Magomedov refers to this list, though he does not publish it. 
He reproduces all of the drawings in the Costakis group, in addition he 
includes seven others: two by V. Krinsky, one by G Stenberg a second 
work by Popova (formerly owned by Costakis). a second work by 
Rodchenko, a third work by both Korolev and Tarabukin, Of the original 
thirty on the list, missing works are, according to Khan-Magomedov, by 
Drevm, G Stenberg. Udaltsova (one each), and Bubnova (two). In the case 
of Bubnova, it cannot be ruled out that the drawings reproduced here 
(cat. no. 186), which were acquired by Costakis with the portfolio, originally 



formed a part of the group, though they carry no stamp or number. 
For color reproductions of all the works in the Costakis portfolio, see 
R.. S.. C, Costakis. pis. 65-90. The hypothetical presentation of the 
portfolio in the latter publication is attributable to the fact that the 
material published by Khan-Magomedov was not available when the 
book went to press. 

7. Identical pinholes at the top of each of the drawings in the Costakis 
portfolio suggest that they were tacked to the wall during the discussion. 

8. The April 22. 1921 session was attended by Babichev. Bubnova. 
Drevin. Ioganson. Kliun. Korolev. Krinsky. Ladovsky, Medunetsky. Popova. 
Rodchenko. V. and G. Stenberg, Stepanova, Tarabukin and Udaltsova 

9. Khan-Magomedov, records of the April 22 meeting. 



227 



ALEXEI VASILIEVICH BABICHEV 



184 



Composition. April 22, 1921 
Pencil on paper, i^'/i x 13%" (49.5 x 34.5 cm.) 
Dated on reverse: April 22, 1921; Inkhuk stamp no. 19 
Inscribed on reverse by N. Babicheva: According to 
the Inkhuk Archives this work is entitled "Composi- 
tion" and is dated iz/iv/zi. 
Acquired from Natalia Babicheva 
C170 



228 



A. V. BABICHEV 



185 



Construction, ca. 1911 

Ink, gouache and pencil on paper, Z0V2 x nVs" (52-1 

x 28.2. cm.) 

On reverse, Inkhuk stamp no. zo 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C169 



F 








229 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



VARVARA DMITRIEVNA BUBNOVA 



V. D. BUBNOVA 



186 i 



186 ii 



"'Untitled 

Ink on paper, 14 x 8 n /i 6 " (35-6 * zz cm -) 

Signed 1.1.: V.B. 

Numbered u.L: J 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C184 
*See p. 2.26, fn. 1. 



"Untitled 

Ink on paper, 14 x 8 u /k;" (35.6 x 11. 1 cm.' 
Signed l.r.: V.B. 
Numbered u.L: 11 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C183 



/ 




230 




fig. a. 

V. D. Bubnova 
"Untitled 

Ink on paper, 8% x 14" (21.9 x 35.6 cm.) 
Signed 11: V.B. 
Numbered u.L: /// 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C182 



KAREL IOGANSON 



187 



Composition. April 7, 192.1 

Colored pencil, ink and pencil on paper, 9V2 x I2 u /i6" 

(14.1 x 32.3 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: Karel loganson, April 7, 

1921; Inkhuk stamp no. 18 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C186 recto 



Verso of Composition 

Inscribed: Plan for a composition: Nature-Morte. I 

The composition on a plane and in space is their 

geometrization. I Objects: Apple, bottle, glass, table, 

and fabric 

C186 verso 




188 



Construction. April 7, 192.1 

Colored pencil and pencil on paper, 12V2 x 9 9 /\c" (31.8 

x 24.3 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: Karel loganson, April 7, 

1921; Inkhuk stamp no. 17 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C185 recto 



^ 



' 



Verso of Construction 

Inscribed: The graphic representation of a construction 
of a complete cold structure in space./ Construction! 
The Construction of a complete cold structure in space 
or any cold combination of hard materials is a cross 
(A) either right-angled (a' a" a"") or obtuse and acute- 
angled (a'") 
C185 verso 







■ < - . , . 



I'l 



i t • / Q 

• • ■ ■ ■ / ■ ' - "j "/ 



• <M' 



a « 9 



— - .-,,- -V ' 






231 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



K. IOGANSON 



189 



''Construction. February 13, 1921 
Paper collage, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 
i7 15 /i(5 x i3 5 /ifi" (45-5 x 33-7 cm.) 
Signed and dated 1.1.: Feb. 13, 1912 
Inscribed at top: Construction by loganson/ Depiction; 
on reverse: loganson. 23.//. Moscow 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
196.80 



2"HXTiVtj l<--U,U L luitl/HCO-i-O- / 




232 



K. IOGANSON 



190 



''Electrical Circuit (Depiction). February 13, 1922 
Paper collage, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 
1715/16 x 1314" (45.4 x 33.6 cm.) 
Signed and dated 1.1.: February 23, 1922; on reverse: 
Karel Ioganson 23 II. 22 

Inscribed at top: Electrical Circuit /Depiction 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
197.80 



These two additional drawings by Ioganson, also ac- 
quired with the Inkhuk portfolio but dating almost a 
year after the debates, probably relate to a teaching 
project, though an almost total lack of biographical 
information about Ioganson makes it difficult to pin- 
point the precise context. 



3_/i_e icr p -a, %. t l ',-c a. ji -t^e-fv t, 





233 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



IVAN VASILIEVICH KLIUN 



191 



Work no. 2 for the Task Construction, ca. 1920 

Pencil on paper, 9V16 x y^Ai (23 x 19.8 cm.) 

Inscribed u.L: Work no. 2 for the task Construction; 

l.r.: Ivan Kliun 

On reverse, Inkhuk stamp no. 25 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

180.80 



An almost identical work, similarly inscribed, but of 
slightly different dimensions (7% x 7") is in the collec- 
tion of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. Kliun's studies 
for a memorial to Olga Rozanova, and the related 
studies for constructions, are closely linked to this 
work. (See cat. no. 86 ii.) 




234 



I. V. KLIUN 
192 i-ii 

Two Drawings. 1910 
Pencil on paper 

Each inscribed along lower edge: Wire sculpture 1920 
Acquired from the artist's daughter, S. I. Kliun 
i, 254.80: 6 13 /i6X4 3 /i6" (17-3 x 10.6 cm.) 
ii, 257.80; 415/16 x 6Ju" (12.6 x 16.6 cm.) 



235 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



BORIS DANILOVICH KOROLEV 



193 



Composition. April 8, 1921 

Pencil and pen on paper, 6% x 4Yi(s" (16.1 x 10.6 cm.) 

Signed l.r.: signed and dated on reverse: April 8, 1921; 

Inkhuk stamp no. 3 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C176 

For information on Korolev see L. Bubnova, Boris 
Danilovich Korolev, Moscow, 1968. 




236 



B. D. KOROLEV 



194 



Construction. April 19, 1921 

Pencil on paper, I3 15 /i6 x 10%^" (35.4 x 25.9 cm.) 

Signed l.r.; inscribed, signed and dated on reverse: 

Construction for Inkhuk, B. Korolev, 19 April 21; 

Inkhuk stamp no. 4 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C177 



_^r_^~3^ ■ -*- ^?7 




237 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



NIKOLAI ALEXANDROVICH LADOVSKY 



195 i 



Example of a Composed Structure. April 15, 1921 
Ink, pencil and wash on cardboard, i^y^x 10%" 
(38x27.5 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: 15 April 1921; on reverse, circular 
Inkhuk stamp with no number 

Inscribed u.l.: Scheme of the structure of the composi- 
tion; c.r.: Example of a composed structure; 1.1.: The 
entire structure is governed by the rectangle A which 
generates geometric similarities and displacements for 
which A is the center 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C175 

Ladovsky, who was on the architecture faculty at the 
Vkhutemas, had already developed the basis for a 
theory of architecture by October of 192.0, when he 
formulated a series of problems on this subject. He 
introduced the theory with the statement: 

Architectural rationality based on economic prin- 
ciples is very similar to technological rationality. The 
difference lies in the fact that technological ration- 
ality is an economy of labor and material for the 
creation of an expedient structure, while architectural 
rationality is the economy of psychic energy for the 
perception of the spatial and functional qualities of 
a structure. The synthesis of these two rationalities in 
one structure is rational architecture. 1 

Ladovsky 's contributions to the debates on "composi- 
tion" and "construction" arise directly out of his general 
program at the Vkhutemas and are consistent with his 
emphasis, shared by others in the group, on the need 
for economy, functionalism, expediency. 2 



195 ii 



Model of a Constructive Structure. April 15, 1921 
Ink, pencil and wash on cardboard, i^Yu x 10%" 
(38x27.3 cm.) 

Signed and dated 1.1.: ij April 1921; on reverse, circular 
Inkhuk stamp with no number 
Inscribed u.r.: Given z planes A and B, forming a bi- 
planar angle, it is necessary to make a constructive 
structure which reveals both the angle and the given 
properties of each of the planes; 1.1.: A model con- 
structive structure; l.r.: Scheme of the structure 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C174 



238 



1. Trans Judith and Steven Wolin, The Institute for Architecture and 
Urban Studies, New York. Art and Architecture. USSR. 1917-1932. 
1971. p. 15 

2. For further information on Ladovsky see M. Barkhin and Yu_ Yaralov, 
Masters sovetskoi arkhitektury ob arkhitekture. vol. 1 Moscow 1975 
pp. 337-364. 



KONSTANTIN KONSTANTINOVICH 

MEDUNETSKY K. K. MEDUNETSKY 

196 197 

Composition. 1920 Construction. 1920 

Pencil and orange crayon on paper, io% 6 x 9^/4" Brown ink on paper, ioVs x 7%" (27 x 19. 1 cm.) 

(26.8 x 23.4 cm.) Signed, titled and dated l.r.: 1920 

Signed l.r.; on reverse, Inkhuk stamp no. 26 On reverse: Construction 1910; Inkhuk stamp no. 27 

Acquired from N. Babicheva Acquired from N. Babicheva 

Cl 79 C178 



> 



239 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 




240 



L. S. POPOVA 



L. S. POPOVA 



198 



199 



Composition. 1 1921 

Gouache on paper, 13V2 x io 1 ^" (34.3 x 27.5 cm.) 

Signed and titled on reverse: L. Vopova Composition; 

Inkhuk stamp no. 2 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

190.80 



'■'Untitled. December 1921 
Red and black crayon on paper, 10% x 8 3 /i6" 
(27.6 x 20.7 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: L. Vopova XU 21 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C188 



Popova's second work for the Inkhuk portfolio formed 
part of the Costakis gift to the Tretiakov Gallery and, 
according to Khan-Magomedov, its title is "Represen- 
tation of a Spatial Organization (Construction)." 2 
Whether this work carries an Inkhuk stamp on its 
reverse is not known. In addition, a third work, almost 
identical to cat. no. 198 and dated 1921, was given by 
Costakis to the Tretiakov (repr., color, R., S., C, 
Costakis, pi. 866). 



1 



1 . Khan-Magomedov gives the title as "Representation of a Spatial 
Organization (Composition)!' p. 74. 

2. Ibid This work is reproduced in color in R., S.. C, Costakis. pi. 81 . 
gouache on cardboard, 13 3 /i 6 x 10%" (33.5 x 27 cm.). 



241 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



200 



Composition. 1917 

Pencil and colored crayon on paper mounted on paper, 

10I/2 x SV2" (2.6.6 x 2.1.5 cm -) 

Signed and dated l.r.: Kodchenko 1917; Inkhuk stamp 

no. 11 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C171 

This drawing is one of a series of designs for lamps that 
Rodchenko made for the Cafe Pittoresque in 1917. 
Georgii Yakulov supervised this project, which was 
intended as a synthesis of fine arts, literature and the 
theater. 1 Rodchenko's decision to submit this earlier 
work in the context of the "construction" and "com- 
position" debate at Inkhuk becomes plausible in the 



light of his comments during the debate. In arguing for 

"construction" in real objects he said: 

Let's take a lamp. You could examine it as a com- 
position together with all its decorations and base, 
but there are expediently built lamps — that is, lamps 
in which goal and use are exposed as constructively 
as possible; such a lamp permits construction alone 
without the aesthetic compositional combining of 
goal with the decorative moment. 2 

The Construction published by Khan-Magomedov as 
Rodchenko's second work for the portfolio, described 
by him as a "project for a lamp," precisely illustrates 
this more explicitly "constructive" or expedient 
approach. 






242 



1 . See R„ S., C, Costakis. pi. 1168- Also G. Karginov, Rodchenko. 
London 1979, pp. 91 and 92 



2. Khan-Magomedov. p 51 . 



A. M. RODCHENKO 



201 



"Untitled. October 192.1 
Red and blue wax crayon on paper, 19 x 12.%" 
(48.3 x 32.4 cm.) 

Signed lower edge: Rodchenko N3 1921 X 
C198 




243 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



VLADIMIR AVGUSTOVICH STENBERG 



202 



Composition. 1920 

Colored pencil on paper, 8*4 x 5V2" (21 x 13.9 cm.) 

Signed, titled and dated on reverse: Composition 1920 

V. Stenberg; Inkhuk stamp no. 5 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

182.80 




244 



V. A. STENBERG 



203 



Construction. 1920 

Ink on paper, 10 x 7%" (25.4 x 19.3 cm.) 

Signed l.r.; Inkhuk stamp no. 6 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C165 




R.CtEHJj£FF 



245 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



V. F. STEPANOVA 



204 



Composition, ca. 1920-21 

Gouache on paper mounted on gray paper, S l Y\& x 

7 5 /l S " (22.3 x 18.5 cm.) 

Signed 1.1. on mount: Varst; Inkhuk stamp no. 15 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C172 



205 



Construction, ca. 1920-21 

Collage on paper, 14V8 x 9" (35.9 x 22.9 cm.) 

Signed on reverse: Varst; Inkhuk stamp no. 16 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C173 







'$$ 



246 




247 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH TARABUKIN 



N. M. TARABUKIN 



206 



207 



Linear Composition, ca. 1921 

Pencil on paper, 8 u /i<; x 7 Vis" ( 22 x *7-9 cm -) 

Signed l.r.: N. T. 

On reverse, in N. Babicheva's hand: N. Tarabukin; 

Inkhuk stamp no. 13 

Inscribed along lower edge: Linear composition 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C181 

In his 1923 essay "Toward a theory of painting" ("Opyt 
teorii zhivopisi"), Tarabukin has a section on "Com- 
position and Construction," which elaborates upon the 
position taken by him during the debates. (Trans, into 
French in A. B. Nakov, ed., Nikolai Taraboukine. 
Le dernier tableau, Paris, 1972, pp. 124-27.) 



Static-dynamic, planar-volumetric compositional 
constructiveness. ca. 1921 

Pencil on paper, 14V8 x 8%" (35.8 x 22.2 cm.) 
Signed l.r.: N.T.; Inkhuk stamp no. 14 

Inscribed along lower edge: Static-dynamic, planar- 
volumetric compositional constructiveness 
Acquired from N. Babicheva 
C180 





■ 



.• . 



248 



NADEZHDA ANDREEVNA UDALTSOVA 



208 



Untitled 

Blue ink and pencil on paper, 13% x ioVis" 

(34.5 x 25.5 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse, in N. Babicheva's hand: 

Vdaltsova; Inkhuk stamp no. 24 

Acquired from N. Babicheva 

C189 




249 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



ANTONINA FEDOROVNA SOFRONOVA 



209 



Untitled. 1922 

Ink and watercolor on paper, 8Vi x SYk," 

(21.6 x 21. 1 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r.: 22 

Acquired from the artist's daughter 

264.78 



Sofronova taught at the State Art Studios in Tver (now 
Kalinin) from 1920 to 1921, but in the fall of 1921 she 
moved to Moscow and for two years worked on a large 
series of Constructivist drawings in pencil, charcoal 
and colored inks. During these years she became a close 
friend of Nikolai Tarabukin, and in 1923 designed the 
cover for his book From the Easel to the Machine 
(Ot molberta k mashine). 




250 



A. F. SOFRONOVA 



210 



Untitled. 1922 

Ink and watercolor on paper, 8% x 7V&" 

(22.2 x 18.2 cm.) 

Signed l.r.: AFS (in monogram) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter 

261.78 




-a. 



251 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



A. F. SOFRONOVA 



211 



Untitled. 1922 

Charcoal on paper, 8% x 6 Vie" (u-3 x J 5-4 cm 

Acquired from the artist's daughter 

257.78 




252 



A. F. SOFRONOVA 



212 



Untitled. 1912 

Charcoal on paper, j u / i6 x 6'/\ ( " (19.5 x 15.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's daughter 

260.78 




253 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



KONSTANTIN ALEXANDROVICH VIALOV 



213i-ii 



Two Designs for Constructions. 1922 

Pencil on paper, mounted on paper 

Left, i, 815. 79B: 9V8 x 4%" (23.2 x 12. 1 cm.), dated 1922 

Right, ii, 815.79A: S x 3 5 / s " (20.4 x 21.3 cm.), dated 1922 

Purchased from the artist 



During the late teens Vialov studied under Lentulov 
and Morgunov at the Svomas, but from about 1921 
he was at the Vkhutemas, where all of the students 
were required to take the Basic Course. His theatrical 
designs (cat. nos. 261-62), as well as his construction 
projects, were clearly indebted to the Vkhutemas 
training in "the fundamentals of spatial relationships.' 
(See S. Bojko, "Vkhutemas," in LACMA, pp. 78-83; 
Lodder, Constructivism.) 




/ 



V' 



V 



254 



K. A. VIALOV 



214 



Design for Construction of Theater Set (?) 1923 
Gouache and pencil on paper formerly mounted on 
purple paper, ioVs x 6V»" (25.7 x 16.2 cm.) 
Signed and dated l.r. on mount: 1923 K. Vialov 
Purchased from the artist 
816.79 




r .L _ 






255 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



V. F. STEPANOVA 



5*5 = 25 



215 



S x 5 = 25 Exhibition Catalogue. Moscow, Sep- 
tember 1921 

Handmade catalogue with cover by Stepanova and 
original works by Popova, A. Vesnin and Stepanova. 
Numbered on upper left of cover and title page: 146 
Paper collage, gouache, hectography and ink (10 pp. 
including cover). Cover: 7^6X4%" (18.6 x iz cm.); 
interior sheets: 7 x 4%" (17.8 x 11.2. cm.) 
Gift of Alexandr Rodchenko 
146.80 



In September of 192.1, an exhibition took place 
under the auspices of the Inkhuk on the premises 
of the All-Russian Union of Poets Club (VSP). The 
five artists who participated — Popova, Rodchenko, 
Stepanova, Exter and Vesnin, each represented by 
five works— conceived it as a "farewell to pure 
painting." 1 Stepanova declared the end of the con- 
templative role of art, and Popova described her 
works as "preparatory experiments towards con- 
crete material constructions." 2 



lustrated: cover (left); Popova collage (right) 





a n 



256 



1 Rodchenko. text in catalogue 5x5 = 25. n.p 

2 Ibid 



ALEXANDR ALEXANDROVICH VESNIN 



Within the context of the Inkhuk debates, the 
exhibition was an important turning point. By 
November of that year, Osip Brik's resolution 
proclaiming a Productivist aesthetic doctrine was 
adopted by the Constructivist group, the majority 
of whom produced no further paintings. 

The catalogues for the exhibition were hand- 
made, each artist contributing original works, and 
every copy having a unique identity. The size of 
the edition is not known. Of the two copies exhib- 
ited here, cat. no. zi 5 lacks the works by Rod- 
chenko and Exter. The inclusion in it of a collage 
by Popova (instead of the more commonly used 
linocut) may be unique. 



216 



5 x 5 = 25 Exhibition Catalogue. Moscow, Sep- 
tember 192.1 

Handmade catalogue with cover by Vesnin and original 
works by Stepanova, Vesnin, Popova, Rodchenko and 
Exter 

Dedication on verso title: to Costakis from Varvara 
Rodchenko 

Charcoal and colored crayons, gouache, ink, linocut, 
pencil and hectography (14 pp. including cover). 
Cover: 8 u /i6 x 4 l yic" (zz x 12.5 cm.); interior sheets: 
7x4%" (17-8 xii. 2. cm.) 
Gift of Varvara Rodchenko 
145.80 



Illustrated: cover (left); Rodchenko drawing (right) 




■ 




257 



THE INKHUK AND CONSTRUCTIVISM 



PETR VASILIEVICH MITURICH 



217 



Ten Cubes. 1919-1921 

Cardboard cubes with gouache; each approx. 7?/\(, x 

xVu, x 2% 6 " (5.6 x 5.6 x 5.6 cm.) 

Gift of M. Miturich, son of the artist 

313.80 

Miturich's cubes, each of which is constructed out of 
only three sides, all decorated with gouache designs, 
are closely related to his "spatial" paintings of the same 



period. In both sets of works, he explores the relation- 
ship between volume and space and the means by which 
graphic elements interact with those which are experi- 
enced spatially. Since each of the cubes is painted on 
all three sides, a constantly shifting relationship be- 
tween the viewer and the objects in their various 
combinations occurs. 

(For a discussion of Miturich and his career see N. 
Rozanova, Petr Vasilievich Miturich, Moscow, 1973; - 
also Lodder, Constructivism.) 







\ 



\ 




258 



VI 



Productivism 



GUSTAV GUSTAVOVICH KLUCIS 

Working at the Inkhuk as a member of the Pro- 
ductivist group in the summer and autumn of 
1922, Klucis designed a group of "Radio Orators" 
or loudspeakers in connection with Moscow's 
preparations for the Fourth Comintern Congress 
(Congress of the Communist International). 
Closely adhering to Constructivist principles (and 
differing, therefore, from the essentially Utopian 
conceptions of 1920-22), the kiosks were designed 
with maximum economy of material and efficiency 
of construction. They were to be lightweight and 
collapsible, made of wood, canvas and rope, with 
every nut and bolt exposed. Skeletal cages were to 
hold the propaganda apparatus. There were loud- 
speakers for the broadcasting of speeches by Lenin, 
Zinoviev and others; screens for the projection of 
newsreels and slides; speakers' rostrums; and sign- 
boards for the display of posters and other propa- 
ganda. 

Only two of the kiosks were actually built, 
including the "International" which was installed 
on Tverskoi Boulevard outside the Hotel Nerenzee, 
where the Comintern delegates were staying. 1 
Wood and paper models of the others were pre- 
pared for the convening of the congress in Novem- 
ber 1922, and the designs for all the constructions 
were published in separate lithographic editions. 

There is a striking structural and conceptual 
relationship between Klucis's designs and the 
"KPS" structures shown by the Stenberg brothers 
at the Third Obmokhu exhibition in 1921, 2 and it 
is likely that Klucis was influenced by the Stenberg 
example as he developed the ideas for his own 
Comintern project of 1922. 



1 L. Oginskaia. "Khudozhnik-agitator Dekorativnoe iskusstvo. „__ 

no. 5. 1971. p. 27. 259 

2. Konsiruktsiia pcostranstvennogo sooruzhenna (construction ol a 
spatial apparatus); A. B. Nakov. 2 Stenberg 2. London-Paris. 1975. 
See esp. "KPS 13" and Its stand and "KPS 6" 



G. G. KLUCIS 



218 



Designs for Loudspeakers. i^az 

Ink and gouache on paper, 7 x ^/\" (17.8 x 24.3 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, Valentina Ivanova 

Kulagina 

100.78 A-B 





260 



G. G. KLUCIS 



219 



Design for Loudspeaker. 1922 

Ink and gouache on paper, 6^A& x s^/u" 

(17.7x13.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

ico.78 D 




261 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



220 



Design for Loudspeaker no. 7. 1922 
Gouache, ink and pencil on paper, 10%,? x 6!%s" 
(26.9 x 17.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
106.78 B 




262 



G. G. KLUCIS 



221 



Design for Loudspeaker no. 3. 192Z 

Watercolor and ink on paper, 7V16 x 5^" 

(17.9x13.5 cm.) 

Inscribed: Speech of Comrade Zinoviev 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

C385 




263 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



222 



Design for Screen-Loudspeaker no. 5. 1922 
Colored inks and pencil on paper, loVi x 5 %" 
(26.6 x 14.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
106.78 c 




264 



G. G. KLUCIS 



223 



Design for Screen, Rostrum and Propaganda 

Stand. 1922 

Watercolor, pencil and ink on paper, 131/2 x 7%" 

(34.3x18.9 cm.) 

Inscribed in pencil along lower edge: Screen-Rostrum 

IV Comintern Congress, 1922 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

109.78 




265 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



224 



Design for Screen. 1912. 

Watercolor and ink on paper, 9 5 / 8 x 6V2" 

(24.6 x 16.5 cm.) 

Signed and dated 1.1.: G. Kinds 1922 



In Klucis's hand on reverse: Screen— Rostrum— Kiosk I 
for the jth anniversary of the October Revolution and 
the IV Congress of Comintern. I Size: height 6 m; with 
the screen {in vertical position) = y.2 m\ width 2.1 m. 
Material: wood, rope, canvas. 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
116.78 




/ tiM/yuj; TC : 



266 



G. G. KLUCIS 



225 



Design for Rostrum. 1921 

Ink, pencil and gouache on paper, 10V2 x 6 l Yic" 

(2.6.7 x i7-<> cm -) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

114.78 




267 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



226 



Design for Propaganda Kiosk. 1921 

Ink and gouache on paper, io 5 /i6 x 6 l Yi6" 

(26.3 x 17.4 cm.) 

Inscribed: Down with art, Long live agitational 

propaganda 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

111.78 




268 



G. G. KLUCIS 



227 



Design for Propaganda Kiosk. 1921 
Ink and gouache on paper, 6% x 4%" (17.4 x 12.6 cm.) 
Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
100.78 c 




269 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



228 



Design for Propaganda Stand. 1922. 
Ink and gouache on paper, 10% 6 x 6%" (16.5 x 17.2. cm.' 
Inscribed: Agitprop for Communism of the pro- 
letariat of the ivhole world 
Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
113.78 




270 



G. G. KLUCIS 



229 



Design for Speaker's Platform. 1922. 

Gouache and colored inks on paper, ioVi x & xx /\" 

(26.8 x 17 cm.) 

Slogan on the platform: Long live the anniversary of 

the October Revolution 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

112.78 




271 



PRODUCTIVISM 



G. G. KLUCIS 



230 



Design. 192.2. 

Gouache, ink and pencil on paper, 10% x 7" 

(27.1 x 17.8 cm.) 

Inscribed across cenrer of circle: International 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I, Kulagina 

110.78 




272 



G. G. KLUCIS 



231 



Principles for the Scientific Organization of Labor. 

mid-i920S 

Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper, 19% x 23 V2" 

(50.5x59.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

C479 

The "wheel" is divided into four sections titled 
"Entertainment," "Daily Life," "Advertising" and 
"Agitprop." The "Principles of NOT" (the "Scientific 



Organization of Labor" group, Nauchnaia organizatsiia 
truda) indicate those spheres of the new Communist 
society in which the artist can make useful contribu- 
tions. 1 Although the purpose of this diagram is not 
precisely known, it probably dates from the time of 
Klucis's agitprop work at the Vkhutemas. In the dia- 
gram he lists the artist's potential roles in each section, 
reflecting his own strong Productivist conviction by 
this date. 




1 . For a lull translation ot the wheel, see R.. S.. C, Costakis, pi. 974. 



273 



PRODUCTIVISM 



KLUCIS'S PHOTOMONTAGES 



G. G. KLUCIS 



During the 1920s and 1930s Klucis was actively 
involved in the agitprop work of the Productivist 
movement. At the Vkhutemas— where he proposed 
the creation of a single "Workshop of the Revo- 
lution" to replace traditional faculties— he designed 
posters, 1 exhibition installations, books and post- 
cards, often using his powerful gifts in the field of 
photomontage. Published in connection with the 
sports event known as the All Union Spartakiada 
under the Central Communist International of 
the USSR, the set of postcards in the Costakis 
collection is essentially ideological, identifying the 
success of the Revolution with physical prowess, 
youth and the working class. 



232 



Photomontage Postcard. 1928 

Color printing on postcard, 5^x3 %" (14.6 x 9.1 cm.) 
Signed as part of image: Klucis. Text: Spartakiada I 
Moscow I 192S. Printed on reverse: CWy in the country 
of the proletarian dictatorship does physical culture 
completely serve the interests of the workers 
Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
1089.80 



232 ii 




Photomontage Postcard. 1928 

Color printing on postcard, 6V16 x 4" (15.3 x 10.1 cm.) 

Signed as part of image: Klucis. Text: For healthy 

tempered youth I Moscow I Spartakiada, 1928. Printed 

on reverse: All Union Spartakiada. A bloiv to the 

bourgeois sport movement 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

1088.80 



232 iii 



Photomontage Postcard. 1928 

Color printing on postcard, 5% x 4" (14.9 x 10.2 cm.) 

Signed as part of image: Klucis. Text: Our physical 

cultural greetings to the worker sportsman from all 

over the world I Spartakiada I Moscow I 192S. Printed 

on reverse: For the United International of Workers' 

Sport 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

1087.80 



232 iv 



Photomontage Postcard. 1928 

Color printing on postcard, 5 ! %s x 4%/' 

(15. 1 x 10.6 cm.) 

Signed as part of image: Klucis. Text: Every sportsman 

must be a sharpshooter I Moscow 1928 I Spartakiada. 

In German: Every worker-sportsman I must be a I 

soldier of the Revolution. Printed on reverse: Physical 

culture is the means of preparing the work and defense 

of the Soviet Unions 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 

1090.80 



232 v 



Photomontage Postcard. 1928 

Color printing on postcard, ^ n /i6 * jYa" 

(14.4x9.4 cm.) 

Signed as part of image: Klucis. Text: Spartakiada I 

Moscow I 1928. Printed on reverse: The physical 

culture of the ivorker is the kernel of socialist 

construction 

Acquired from the artist's wife, V. I. Kulagina 
1091.80 



274 



1. A number of these posters, which belong to the Riga Museum, were 
included in Klucis's one-man exhibition in Riga in 1970, (SeeKafatog 
vystavki omizvedenii Gustava Klutsisa. Riga, Gosudarstvennyi 
khudozhestvennyi muzei, 1970). Several are visible in the installation 



photographs For Klucis's own concept ot the role of photomontage in 
agitprop contexts, see G. Klucis, "Fotomontazh kak novyi vid agitatsionnogo 
iskusstva!' Izofmnt klassovaya borba na fronte prostranstvennykh 
iskusstv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939, pp 119 ff. 




Ill 





CnRPTHKHHflH 




275 



PRODUCTIVISM 



LIUBOV SERGEEVNA POPOVA 



TEXTILE DESIGNS 



233 



Design for a Banner for the All-Russian Union of Poets. 

ca. 1921 

Wash and wax crayon on paper, 6% x 37%" 

(16.9x95.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C52 



234 



Design for a Banner for the All-Russian Union of Poets. 

ca. 1921 

Colored pencil and wax crayon on paper, 5% x 29%" 

(14.9x74.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C53 

The All-Russian Union of Poets Club (VSP) was located 
at 18 Tverskoi Boulevard in Moscow. It was organized 
by 1921 and remained in existence for approximately 
six years. Ivan Aksenov, its chairman, was a close friend 
of Popova, and undoubtedly was the person who com- 
missioned her to design banners to hang over the 
entrance to the building. Other members of the club 
were Andrei Bely, Riurik Ivnev, Anatolii Mariengof, 
Mikhail Kuzmin and Georgii Chulkov. It was under the 
sponsorship of this group, and on the premises of the 
club, that the 5 x 5 = 25 exhibition was held in 
September 1921. (See cat. nos. 215-16.) At least two 
other designs for banners by Popova have survived 
(LACMA, cat. nos. 252, 253). 



Popova's textile designs, of which a few examples 
are shown here, date from the final stages of her 
career. Both she and Stepanova regarded textile 
design and clothing design as natural outgrowths 
of their commitment to Productivism, and during 
1922-23 they formulated a theory and methodol- 
ogy linking the two. First and foremost they em- 
phasized the functional aspects of clothing, and 
while they clearly invested a good deal of imagina- 
tion in the execution of their designs, they rejected 
what they considered to be purely "aesthetic" 
considerations. 

Probably late in 1923 or very early in 1924, 
though the date is a matter of some dispute, they 
actually entered the industry, taking jobs at the 
First Textile Printing Works in Moscow, where 
fabrics were being produced. 1 An article had 
appeared in Fravda describing the need for artists 
in the textile industry but they and Rodchenko 
were the only three who responded. 2 They started 
work at once, and although they met with some 
resistance, they ultimately succeeded in their desire 
to be involved in the industrial part of the process. 
Their designs were an unprecedented success. 3 





V 



if p 




w 



276 



1. Brik. in an article in Lei, no. 2, 1924, p. 34, states that they were 
invited by the director of the factory, but gives no date, A. Abramova, 
"Odna iz pervikh" Dekorativnoe iskusstvo, 1963, no, 9, p. 19, states that 
it was in i924; J. E. Bowlt, "From Pictures to Textile Prints!' The Print 
Collector's Newsletter, no. 1, 1976, pp. 16-20, suggests late 1922; 
T. Strizhenova, Iz Istorii sovetskogo kostiuma, Moscow, 1972, suggests 
1921; Lodder, Constructivism, gives no precise date but implies a 
preference for late 1923. For important information on the history of 
textile and clothing design within Productivism, see all of the above. 



2. Abramova She does not give the date of the Pravda article. 

3. Abramova For further information on the textile design of this period, 
see Varst (Stepanova), "Kostium segodniashnego-dnia-prozodezhdai' Lei, 
no. 2, 1923, pp. 65-68; V. Stepanova, "Of kostiuma k risunku i tkani" 
Vecherniaia Moskva, February 28, 1929 (reference supplied by Lodder. 
Constructivism) 



NADEZHDA ANDREEVNA UDALTSOVA 

235 

Textile Design, ca.192.1f?) 

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 10% x 7%" 

(27. 6 x 20 cm.) 

Acquired from A. A. Drevin, son of Alexandr Drevin 

and Udaltsova 

198.80 



r 




v 



V V 



277 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



L. S. POPOVA 



236 i 



Textile Design, ca. 1923-24 

Gouache on paper, 6 1/1 6 * 2. 15 /i6" Us-5 x 6 -9 cm -) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

241.80 recto 



236 ii 



Textile Design, ca. 1923-24 

Gouache and ink on paper, $Yi^ x 2" (13.6 x 5.1 cm.) 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 

240.80 



■ 

I 



u 









278 



L. S. POPOVA 



237 



Textile Design, ca. 1923-24 

Ink on paper, 7 11 /i<; x 5 V2" (19.6 x 14.1 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C44 

This work appeared in the artist's posthumous exhibi- 
tion of 1924 and is visible in the installation photo- 
graphs. 





279 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



238 



Design for Embroidered Book. ca. 1913-24 
Colored inks on paper, 6% x i%" (17.3 x 4.8 cm.) 
Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 
C84 



239 



r*^% 




Embroidered Book Cover, ca. 1923-24 

Silk thread on grosgrain, Tj li A& x 12%" 

(45.3x31.5 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C164 



280 




281 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



L. S. POPOVA 



240 



241 



Textile Design. 1923-24 

Gouache on paper, 6 l A x i2% s " (16 x 31.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C47 

This work appeared in the artist's posthumous exhibi- 
tion of 1924 and is visible in the installation photo- 
graphs. 



Textile Sketch. 1923-24 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 13% x 11" (35 x 28 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

223.78 

This work appeared in the artist's posthumous exhibi- 
tion of 1924 and is visible in the installation photo- 
graphs. 




282 




283 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



242 



Textile Design. 08.1923-24 

Gouache and ink on paper, 9*4 x 5%s" (23.5 x 14.2 cm.' 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C46 




284 



L. S. POPOVA 



243 



Textile Design, ca. 1923-14 

Watercolor and ink on paper, 5% x 6 n /i& 

(13.7 x 17 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P S. Popov 

C377 





285 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



244 



Design for a Poster (?) Long Live the Dictatorship of 

the Proletariat. 1922-23 

Paper collage, gouache and ink on paper, 8 x ^Yis" 

(zo.i x 25.1 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C59 



3APABCTBH:r 






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286 



L. S. POPOVA 



245 



Design for Cover of Periodical Film Performers z 

(Artisty Kino z). ca. 1922 

Gouache on board, yYu, x GVii' (2.3.4 x J 5-8 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

C58 




' 



i 




287 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



L. S. POPOVA 



246 



247 



Catalogue of the Posthumous Exhibition of the Artist- 
Constructor L. S. Popova. Moscow, 19x4 
21 pp. with color lithographic cover, 6% x $Vu" 
(17.1 x 14. 1 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 
147.80 



Poster Announcing the Opening of Popova's Posthu- 
mous Exhibition. December 21, 1924 
Color lithograph in red and black, 36^6 x z^/ii' 
(92.6 x 62.4 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 
486.80 



The cover of this catalogue is said to have been designed 
by Rodchenko. (C. A. Lodder, in conversation, April 
1981.) 




288 



IIT.UM III) JE.I.ill ll );HKII 1. 1 USUI. 'I, II llll'KOH III'on, 

'unit jkhmhcM 




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Kyj!LT7PLl M ' E!T3m 



L 11. 



nOCMEPTHAH 



^ypHCHHKA-KOHCTPVKTOPA a 




OTKPWTHE 



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ABPH 



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1EAIPLMIIE IBKCffitt 



289 



PRODUCTIVISM 



THEATER 



ALEXANDRA ALEXANDROVN/ EXTER 



248 



Costume Design for Oscar Wilde's Salome (?) 1917 
Gouache on cardboard, 27% x 15%" (70.2 x40cm.) 
Acquired from the collection of A. G. Koonen, Moscow 
56.78 

The production of Salome directed by Alexandr Ta'irov 
had its premiere at the Kamernyi (Chamber) Theater in 
Moscow on October 9, 1917. Although it has not been 
possible to establish with certainty that this costume 
was used in the production, it is stylistically compatible 
with those which were. 



290 




A. A. EXTER 



249 



Costume for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. 1920-21 

Oil and gouache on board, 22%6 x 17^6" 

(56.4x43.7 cm.) (sight) 

Acquired from the collection of A. G. Koonen, Moscow 

55-78 

The production, directed by Tairov, had its premiere at 
the Kamernyi Theater on May 17, 1921. 





291 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



250 



Sketch for Stage Set. 1920-21 

Gouache on paper, io7i6 x 14" (26.5 x 35.5 cm.) 

Gift of D. Sarabianov 

C 9 i 

This sketch was for Anatolii Lunacharsky's play, The 
Locksmith and the Chancellor, first performed at the 
Korsh Theater in 1921. 1 The design bears some resem- 
blance to those made by Popova for Tai'rov's 1921 pro- 
duction of Romeo and Juliet at the Kamernyi Theater in 
Moscow. 2 These latter designs were pictorially elabor- 
ate, and, in their original form, totally impracticable. 
Alexandr Vesnin revised and simplified them, but ulti- 
mately they were not used. 



POPOVA, "THE MAGNANIMOUS 
CUCKOLD" (Velikodushnyi rogonosets) 

Vsevolod Meierkhold assumed the directorship of 
the State Higher Theater Workshop in 1921 ; in 
that fall he had been profoundly impressed by the 
exhibition 5X5 = 25. In the work of the Con- 
structivists, and especially in that of Popova, he 
saw new possibilities for stage design, and he im- 
mediately invited her to join the faculty of his 
workshop to teach a course in "material stage 
design" or "set formulation" [veshchestvennoe 
oformlenie spektaklia). A few months later, in 
January 1922, Meierkhold began work on his 
production of The Magnanimous Cuckold, a con- 
temporary play by the Belgian writer Fernand 
Crommelynck. It had opened in Paris on Decem- 
ber 18, 1920, and had then been translated into 




292 



1. Information supplied by V. Rakitin, G. Costakis, and D Sarabianov. 

2. One is reproduced in J. E. Bowl!, "From Surface to Space: The Art of 
Liubov Popova!' The Structurist, nos. 15-16. 1975-76, pp. 86-87. 
Bowlt indicates that Popova's designs were eventually used, but this 
seems not to be the case. 



1. For a full discussion of Meierkhold's production and details about the 
set and its function, see A. Law, "Le Cocu magnifiaue de Crommelynck!' 
Les Voies de la creation WeStrale, vol. VI, Paris, 1979, pp. 13-43 For a 
discussion of its impact on the development of architectural design, see 
C A Lodder. "Constructivist Theatre as a Laboratory for an Architectural 
Aesthetic;' Architectural Association Quarterly, vol. II, no 2. 1979, 
pp. 24-35 

2 I. A Aksenov, "Prostanstvennyi konstruktivizm na stsene!' Teatralnyi 
Oktiabr no. 1, Leningrad-Moscow, 1926, pp. 31 ff.; also, idem, 



Russian by Ivan Aksenov. Meierkhold had chosen 
it as the vehicle for his first demonstration of his 
actor-training method known as "Biomechanics" 
(see pp. 31-32) and of the Constructivist stage set. 1 

Tracing the origin of the set itself is somewhat 
complex. According to Aksenov, who wrote two 
articles in 1926 on the importance of the project in 
the development of Constructivist theater, the set 
was entirely conceived and executed by Popova. 2 
Other evidence indicates, however, that Meier- 
khold originally commissioned the Stenberg broth- 
ers and Medunetsky to submit designs, that they 
did so in a preliminary form but did not carry the 
project through to completion.' A model for the 
set was then prepared in the Theater workshop 
under the direction of the young designer Vladimir 
Liutse, but Popova intervened to make extensive 
changes, and the responsibility for the final resolu- 
tion is generally acknowledged to be hers. 

The set as executed was extraordinarily pow- 
erful in conception and effect, and Aksenov's 
claims for its influence on the future of the theater 
were not exaggerated. Two platforms of uneven 
height with stairs on either side were joined by a 
bridge (cat. no. 251). A slide ran from the right 
platform down to the floor, and the lower part of 
this mounting was called the "cage." A support 
divided the facing side into two unequal halves, 
the left of which contained a window that was 
hinged to open diagonally. The cage and window 
(visible at the lower right of fig. a, p. 294) were used 
for entrances and exits, as well as for an acting area. 
Three wheels, one white, one red, and one a large 
black disc bearing the letters "CR-ML-NK," ro- 
tated clockwise or counterclockwise at erratic 
speeds underscoring the "kinetic meaning of each 
moment in the action." 4 

The three Costakis drawings that clearly elab- 
orate details for the cage (cat. nos. 252-54), in one 
case including notations for proportions and di- 
mensions, present a structurally sophisticated solu- 
tion for that area, and support the notion that 
Popova was centrally involved in the design. These 
drawings, and the stage set, demonstrate a new 
structural conviction that is indebted to the KPS 
constructions of the Stenbergs and to the Con- 
structivist theory that had been developing at the 
Inkhuk in the preceding year. As Bowlt has pointed 
out, Popova's immediately preceding theatrical 
venture (the Romeo and Juliet designs for 
Tai'rov of May 1921; see cat. no. 250), had been 
fanciful, pictorial and almost entirely impractica- 
ble. The Cuckold set, on the other hand, was gov- 
erned by utilitarian and practical considerations, 
and was to a considerable extent the natural conse- 
quence of Popova's aim, expressed in a statement 



in the 5 X 5 = 25 catalogue, to create "concrete 
material constructions." Its execution is difficult 
to imagine without the example, on the one hand, 
of the Stenbergs' KPS constructions (exhibited in 
January 1921), and, on the other, of her own in- 
volvement in the Inkhuk debates of March-April 
1921 (see pp. 226-227). Even the terminology that 
Popova used in her description of the Cuckold (in a 
report to the Moscow Inkhuk on April 27, 1922) is 
reminiscent of the language of the debates on "con- 
struction" and "composition." Her aim was: "The 
organization of the material elements of a produc- 
tion as equipment, as a form of mounting, or as a 
device for a given action. . . . The criterion should 
be utilitarian suitability and in no case the solu- 
tion of any formal, aesthetic problems " 5 

Similarly, the costumes for the production 
(cat. no. 256) were strictly utilitarian in conception: 
a blue work uniform (prozodezbda) served as the 
basic dress for all of the characters— with flared 
jodhpurs for the men and calf-length skirts for the 
women. Details such as red pompons, a white 
handkerchief, a cape, a stick or a monocle, were 
the only means used to differentiate one character 
from another. As Popova stated in her 1922 report 
to the Inkhuk, "we put aside the aesthetic princi- 
ples of historic, national, psychological, or every- 
day costume. In this particular task, we wanted to 
find a general principle of work clothes for the 
actor's professional work based on what he needs 
for the contemporary aspect of his professional 
emploi." 6 

The set was not regarded as a complete suc- 
cess. Popova herself acknowledged the difficulty 
of abandoning "outmoded aesthetic habits," and 
also drew attention to important determining 
characteristics that were inherent in the play itself: 
"the action had a built-in visual character which 
prevented the consideration of an action solely 
as an on-going working process. . . ." 7 Nonetheless, 
as Elena Rakitina has suggested, the innovations in 
the conception were powerful and influential ones, 
perhaps most of all in their kinetic elements: "We 
will never understand [the set] correctly if we re- 
gard it statically. It is not a picture to be admired. 
Rather it is a kind of machine which takes on a 
living existence in the course of the production." 8 
Popova's exploration of the use of kinetic devices 
in stage design did not, of course, end with the set 
for The Magnanimous Cuckold. New devices 
were extensively used in Popova's next theatrical 
venture, the set for Earth in Turmoil (cat. nos. 
257-260). 



"Proiskhozhdeme ustanovki 'Velikodushny rogonosets'. " 3Afistia TIM 
1926. pp 7-11. 

3. E. Rakitina. "Liubov Popova, iskusstvo i manilesty.' Khudozhmk. 
stsena. ekran. Moscow, 1975, p 162; Law, Les Voies de la creation 
theatrale. Lodder Architectural Association Quarterly; also J E Bowlt, 
From Surface to Space The Art of Liubov Popova" The Structunst. 
nos. 15-16, 1975, pp 86-87 Vladimir Stenbergs memories of the events 
will be published by A. Law in a forthcoming issue of the Art Journal. 
edited by G Harrison Roman 



4 L Popova, quoted and translated by Law. from a manuscript in a 
private archive. Moscow. This text is also partially quoted by Bowlt. 
"Popova!' The Structunst. p. 87. 

5. Trans. A. Law, from a manuscript in a private archive, Moscow. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid 

8 Quoted by Law. Les Votes de la creation thiStrale. p. 23. 



293 



L. S. POPOVA 



251 



Set Design for The Magnanimous Cuckold. 1922 

Pencil, colored pencil and wash on paper, 9V16 x 14%" 

(23.1 x 37.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

202.78 

A second watercolor depicting the entire set was for- 
merly in the Costakis collection (Tretiakov Gallery, 
Moscow, repr. color, R., S., C, Costakis, pi. 882). The 
latter gouache was almost certainly made after the set 
was complete, rather than at a preparatory stage. 




294 




fig- a 

Documentary photograph, courtesy Alma H. Law, of 

Popova's original stage set in use, 1922 



L. S. POPOVA 



252 



Untitled, ca. 1922 

Crayon and pencil on paper, 10% x 7%" (25.7 x 20 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

201.78 

Design for the "cage" section of the set of The Magnan- 
imous Cuckold. 



253 



Untitled, ca. 1921 

Black crayon on paper, 9 1 54fiX 8" (25.3 x 20.4 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

200.78 




Design for the "cage" section of the set of The Magnan- 
imous Cuckold. 



254 



Untitled, ca. 1922 

Ink and pencil on paper, i6 x Y\(, x iz 1 ^" (43 x 32.5 cm.) 

Inscribed on reverse, not in the artist's hand: "Cage for 

the production Magnanimous Cuckold" 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

199.78 





295 



PRODUCTIVISM 



L. S. POPOVA 



255 



Untitled, ca. 192Z 

Colored pencil on paper, i4 9 / lf , x 9VU" (37 * 2-3 cm -) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

198.78 




296 



L. S. POPOVA 



256 



Costume Design for The Magnanimous Cuckold. 192.2 

Gouache, ink and paper collage on paper, 12% x 9%" 

(32.-7 x 23.8 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

203.78 



The costume has been identified as that of the Burgher- 
master. (A. Law, in conversation, January 1981.) For the 
nursemaid's costume, see A. Law, "The Revolution in 
the Russian Theater," in LACMA, p. 68. Some of the 
other costume designs for the production have been 
published elsewhere, erroneously identified as designs 
for magazine covers. 




/l.nOfIOffA.19*^ 



297 



PRODUCTIVISM 



POPOVA, "EARTH IN TURMOIL" 

(Zemlia dybom) 

On March 24, 1923, the fifth anniversary of the 
founding of the Red Army, Meierkhold staged 
Earth in Turmoil, Sergei Tretiakov's agitprop 
adaptation of Martinet's verse drama, La Nuit, 
originally published in 19 21 . The five acts of the 
drama were divided into two major sections with a 
total of eight episodes: Down with War; Attention; 
Truth in the Trenches; The Black International; 
All Power to the Soviets; The Revolution Betrayed; 
Shearing the Sheep; Night. 

Popova designed the production, which in 
some respects built upon her experience with The 
Magnanimous Cuckold, but in many ways differed 
from it. The set consisted again of a large con- 
struction made of wood, dependent for much of 
its structural vocabulary on objects such as the 
KPS inventions of the Stenbergs. However, unlike 
Popova's previous set, this was conceived almost 
as an industrial object; it resembled a giant gantry 
crane and functioned strictly as a background. 1 
The actors performed in front of it, rather than 
using it as a machine within which to work. It was 
therefore not a genuinely active component in the 
drama. Kinetic elements were included, but now 
they consisted of lighting effects, cinema and 
slides, rather than of structural elements. Political 
slogans relating to the structure of a new society 
(electrification, industry, the mechanization of 
agriculture) as well as references to the Revolution 



were continuously flashed onto a screen suspended 
from the crane. Newsreels and other films were 
also projected. The actors were illuminated with 
military searchlights, and the props were taken 
from everyday life: a car, a tractor, motorcycles 
and a machine gun. 

In a note published in Lef, no. 4, 1924, p. 44, 
Popova's principles of "set formulation" for the 
production were reprinted. In it she described the 
purpose of the set as "agitational," not aesthetic. 
The intention of the specific devices used was to 
create and reinforce the "agitational" effect. The 
artist's primary function was now to select and 
combine objects from the "real world" and other 
material elements in such a way as to serve the 
social and propagandistic goals of a new art. The 
notion of a Productivist art, in which design was 
placed entirely at the service of society's needs, 
had consequently been taken a step further, and 
Popova felt no longer trapped by what she had 
described as her own "outmoded aesthetic habits" 
(see p. 293 above). As C. A. Lodder has cogently 
argued, this development followed directly from 
the Constructivist principle of rejecting "creativ- 
ity" or aesthetic quality per se. The production of 
Earth in Turmoil thus marked a stage in the pro- 
cess whereby Constructivism, "setting out to 
transform the environment, was itself being trans- 
formed by that environment, returning to existing 
reality as a source of inspiration, of imagery. . . ." 2 




%■ a 

Documentary photograph, owned by George Costakis, 

of Popova's design for Earth in Turmoil. 



298 



1 . Popova would have preferred to use a real crane if the stage floor 
could have supported it. 

2. Lodder, Constructivism. 



L. S. POPOVA 



257 



Part of the Design for the Stage Set for Earth in Turmoil. 

1923 

Photomontage, gouache, newspaper and photographic 

paper collage on plywood, 19^6 x 32%(->" (49 x 82.7 cm.) 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

204.78 

A contemporary photograph (fig. a) records the original 
appearance of Popova's design. The slogans "Earth in 
Turmoil" and "We will build a new World" are com- 
bined on this backdrop with pictures of Tsar Nicholas 
II and his generals shown upside down and symbolically 
"deleted" from society. 




299 




CTAPUIHM 

IAMBCWET 



L. S. POPOVA 




COMATbl 

8 oranbi 

PAG04HE 

K CTAHKAM 



258 



Political Slogan for Earth in Turmoil. 1923 

Gouache, ink and paper collage on paper, 8V2 x 10%" 

(21.6 x 27.7 cm.) 

Text: Youth to replace the oldest. Long live Komsomol! 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

205.78 

This and the following two slogans were among those 
designed by Popova to be flashed onto the screen at the 
back of the set during the performance of the play. The 
Costakis collection includes thirteen additional designs 
for such slogans, as well as titles for two of the eight 
episodes. (See R., S., C, Costakis, pis. 888-906) 



259 



Political Slogan for Earth in Turmoil. 1923 

Gouache, ink and paper collage on paper, 7 x 9" 

(17.9 x 22.9 cm.) 

Text: Soldiers to the trenches— workers to the factories 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 

P. S. Popov 

209.78 



260 



Political Slogan for Earth in Turmoil. 1923 
Gouache, ink and paper collage on paper, 7 x 9%" 
(17.8 x 24.8 cm.) 

Text: The fight against counterrevolutionary specula- 
tion and sabotage 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's brother, 
P. S. Popov 
217.78 





OTEBMHyEH 

chekmmilheh 
hCAEOTAMEM 



300 



KONSTANTIN ALEXANDROVICH VIALOV 



261 



Sketch for Production of Stenka Kazin by Vasilii 

Kamensky. 192.3-Z4 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 6 x 5%" (15. 2. x 14.3 cm.) 

Purchased from the artist 

Sii.79 

Vialov was responsible for designing the sets and the 
costumes for Kamensky's play, which had its premiere 
on February 6, 19Z4 in Moscow at the Theater of the 
Revolution. The director was Valerii Mikhailovich Beb- 
utov, a student and colleague of Meierkhold. 



\ 



\ 






fig- a 

Scene from production of Stenka Kazin. Contemporary 

drawing, photograph courtesy of Alma H. Law. 



301 



PRODUCTIVISM 



K. A. VIALOV 



262 



Set Design, ca. 1924-Z6 

Ink and pencil on paper, 6 9 /ux $ 9 A&" (16.7 x 14-zcm.] 

Purchased from the artist 

813.79 




302 



K. A. VIALOV 



263 



Costume Design for Production of Stenka Razin. 

1923-24 

Watercolor, pencil and gold paint on paper, io%(3 x 7" 

(26.8 x 17.9 cm.) 

Purchased from the artist 

817.79 




m 




303 



PRODUCTIVISM 



304 



VII 



Parallel Trends: The Figurative 
and the Cosmic, 1918-1930 



During the 1920s, Kudriashev turned gradually 
away from Suprematism to an increasingly cosmic 
form of abstraction, influenced to some extent by 
his friendship with the rocket and space pioneer 
K. E. Tsiolkovsky. In an unpublished manuscript 
of the early 1910s, he described the gradual shift 
in his own work from an abstraction of pure color 
and form (such as that in the Orenburg Theater 
decorations, cat. nos. 119-121) to one inspired by 
"the contemporary perception of space." 1 He came 
to believe that space and the cosmic universe 
would become the content of contemporary ab- 
stract art, and that "spatial painting" would dem- 
onstrate the "limitlessness of the cosmic world" 
while also providing art with a powerful expres- 
sive imagery. The new art, in its "intuitive" inter- 
pretation of spatial phenomena, was intended to 
parallel contemporary scientific discoveries about 
the universe, and reflect the extent to which such 
discoveries were influencing man's consciousness. 

Kliment Redko, Mikhail Plaksin and Solo- 
mon Nikritin— all of whom belonged to the so- 
called Electroorganism group in the 1920s— shared 
Kudriashev's conviction that art could derive im- 
portant inspiration from the world of science, ex- 
ploration and spatial discovery. Redko, who (like 
Kudriashev) began his career as a Suprematist, 
wrote in his diary of 1921: "We are moving into 
the world of science, and this is the first unmis- 
takable sign of the rebirth of art. . . ." 2 In the 
"Electroorganism" manifesto of 1922, he wrote: 
"Light is the highest manifestation of matter," and 
he— together with others in the group— came to see 
luminescence, luminism, electricity, and even the 
lighting ramifications of "Roentgenology" as the 
subject matter of their art. 



1 Private Archive. Moscow Passages from the text courtesy of Vasilii 
Rakitin. Moscow 

2 Private Archive. Moscow Diary entry lor Oct 14, 1921, courtesy of 
Vasilii Rakitin, Moscow Further quotations from Redko's unpublished 
diaries are translated into German and published by H Gassner and 
E. Gillen, Zmschen Revolulionskunst una Sozialistischen Realisms: 
Dokumente und Kommentare Kunstdebatten in tier Sowietumon von 1917 
bis 1934. Dij'sseldorf. 1979 pp. 335-37. 



305 



VASILH NIKOLAEVICH CHEKRYGIN 



Seated Woman. 1918 

Oil on canvas, zfiVis x 20%" (66.1 x 5 1.7 cm.) 

Signed, dated and inscribed on reverse: Study for a 

fresco painting by V. I. Chekrygin, 191S 

Acquired from L. F. Zhegin 

274.78 



For information about the life and work of Chekrygin 
see Vasilii Nikolaevicb Chekrygin, Izobrazitelnykh 
iskusstv imeni A. S. Pushkina, Moscow, 1969, with texts 
by E. Levitin, L. F. Zhegin and B. Shaposhnikov. 




306 



MIKHAIL MATVEEVICH PLAKSIN 



265 



Planetary. 1922 

Oil on canvas, 28^6 x 24" (71.9 x 61 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: Plaksin 1921 

Acquired from the collection of the artist's second wife, 

A. N. Varnovitskaia 

174.78 



According to V. Rakitin, this work was shown in an ex- 
hibition organized by the "Electroorganism" group in 
Moscow in 1922, and in the First Discussional Exhibi- 
tion of Associations of Active Revolutionary Art which 
opened in Moscow, May 1924. (Information from pri- 
vate archives, Moscow.) 




\ 



307 



PARALLEL TRENDS 



KLIMENT NIKOLAEVICH REDKO 



266 



Dynamite. 1922 

Oil on canvas, 2.4 n /is x iS 1 ^" (62.8 x 47.5 cm.) 

Signed and dated on reverse: K. Redko 1922 

Acquired from the artist's widow (his second wife) 

236.78 



According to Rakitin, this work was exhibited in 
Redko's one-man show held in Moscow in 1926 and 
appeared as the cover illustration of the catalogue. 
(Information from private archives, Moscow.) 

For information about the life and work of Redko, see 
V. Kostin, compiler and author of introductory essay, 
Kliment Redko. Dnevniki. Vospominaniia Staty, Mos- 
cow, 1974. 




308 



IVAN ALEXEEVICH KUDRIASHEV 



267 



Luminescence. 1926 

Oil on canvas, 42 x z^Yi^' (106.6 x 71 cm.) 

Signed and dated l.r. and on reverse: / Kttdriashev 1926. 

Acquired from the artist 

128.78 




309 



PARALLEL TRENDS 



ALEXANDR DAVIDOVICH DREVIN 



268 



Landscape with Two Figures. 1930 

Oil on canvas, 2.7V16 x iiYu" (68.7 x 84.6 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's son, A. A. Drevin 

10.78 



According to Rakitin, this work was shown in an exhi- 
bition in Moscow in 1931. (Information from private 
archives, Moscow.) 

For information about Drevin, see M. Miasina, ed., 
Stareishie khudozhniki o Srednei Azii i Kavkase, Mos- 
cow, 1973; Alexandr Davidovich Drevin 1S89-193S, 
Katalog vystavki, Moscow, 1979. 




310 



SOLOMON BORISOVICH NIKRITIN 



269 



Man and Cloud. 1930 

Oil on canvas, 56 x 56" (142.3 x 142.3 cm.) 

Acquired from the artist's widow 

160.78 



For information about the life and work of Nikritin, see 
K. London, The Seven Soviet Arts, London, 1937, pp. 
213-29; V. Kostin, "Vystavka rabot. zhivopis i grafika," 
in the exhibition catalogue Solomon Borisovich Nikritin 
1S98-1965, Moscow, 1969. 




311 



PARALLEL TRENDS 



Biographical Notes 



Much of the biographical information included here 
has been supplied by Vasilii Rakitin. For more extensive 
biographical information on these artists, see R., S., C, 
Costakis; LACMA; Lodder, Constructivism; and Bowlt, 
Theory and Criticism. 



ALEXEI VASILIEVICH BABICHEV 

Born Moscow, March 2, 1887; died Moscow, May 1, 1963. 

From 1905 to 1906 studied in the Department of Math- 
ematics of Moscow University and simultaneously at the 
private studios of Ivan Dudin and Konstantin Yuon. 
From 1907 to 1913 attended the Moscow Institute of 
Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. From 1918 to 1920 
taught at the Svomas in Moscow, from 192.0 to 1921 was 
professor at the Vkhutemas, and late 1920 until 1923 
was a member of the Inkhuk in Moscow, where he 
emerged as a theoretician. 

VARVARA DMITRIEVNA BUBNOVA 

Born St. Petersburg, May 4, 1S86; lives Sukhumi, 
Abkhazian Republic. 

From 1907 to 1914 studied at the School of the Society 
for the Encouragement of the Arts, taking lessons from 
Nikolai Dubovskoi. From 1914 participated in numer- 
ous exhibitions, including the Sixth, Eighth and Ninth 
State Exhibitions in Moscow (all 1919) and the First 
Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstatts- 
stellung, at the Galerie van Diemen, Berlin (1922). Ca. 
1920 began to take an active part in the administration 
of IZO Narkompros in Moscow. 

ILIA GRIGORIEVICH CHASHNIK 

Born Lyucite, Latvia, June 20, 1902; died Leningrad, 
December 4, 1929. 

Spent childhood in Vitebsk; from 1917 to 1919, studied 
art with Yurii Pen. In 1919 attended the Vkhutemas in 
Moscow but soon transferred to the Vitebsk Art Insti- 
tute to study under Chagall, then Malevich, who took 
control of the school in the winter of 1919-1920. Partic- 
ipated in the organization of the "Posnovis" ("Followers 
of the New Art") group, later renamed "Unovis" ("Af- 
firmers of the New Art"), and contributed to all exhibi- 
tions of the Unovis group. In 1922, when the Unovis was 
forced out by the local authorities and Malevich left 
Vitebsk, Chashnik, Suetin, Ermolaeva and Yudin all fol- 
lowed and joined the Ginkhuk in Petrograd. Worked as 
a designer with Suetin at the Lomonosov State Porcelain 
Factory. 

VASILII NIKOLAEVICH CHEKRYGIN 

Born Zhizdra, Kaluga Province, January 18, 1897; died 
near Moscow, June 3, 1922, after being struck by a train. 

In 1913, through school friends Vladimir Maiakovsky 
and Lev Zhegin became close to the Larionov group and 
participated in Futurist events. From 1920 lived in Mos- 
cow. In 1922 cofounder of the "Makovets" group, sup- 
ported by the philosopher Pavel Florensky. At the first 
Makovets exhibition, April 1922, in Moscow, showed 
201 works. Later in 1922 a posthumous exhibition was 
held at the Tsvetkov Gallery in Moscow. In 1922 his 
work was included in the First Russian Art Exhibition 
(Erste russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van 
Diemen in Berlin. 



312 



ALEXANDR DAVIDOVICH DREVIN 

Born Vendene (Ventspils), Latvia, July 15, 1889; died in 
exile in the Altai region, 1938. 

Moved to Moscow in late 1914. Participated in the Fifth 
State Exhibition in 1919. From 1918 to 1922 worked in 
both figurative and abstract styles and wrote poetry. 
From 1910 to 192.1 member of the Inkhuk; left, with 
Kandinsky, Udaltsova and Kliun, in disagreement over 
the rejection by the Constructivist-Productivists of pure 
"easel art." From 1910 to 1930 professor of painting at 
the Vkhutemas/Vkhutein; he and Udaltsova met there 
and were later married. In 1921-21 participated in the 
World of Art (Mir iskusstva) exhibitions in Moscow. In 
1912 sent work to the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. In the late 1920s returned to landscape and 
naturalistic painting. 

BORIS VLADIMIROVICH ENDER 

Born St. Petersburg 1893; died Moscow, i960. 

In 1917 studied in Matiushin's studio. In 1918 studied 
under Petrov-Vodkin in the Petrograd Svomas and also 
with Malevich. 1919-1921 a member of Matiushin's stu- 
dio in "Spatial Realism." In 1923 became a member of 
the "Zorved" (Zorkoe vedanie, See-Know) group, with 
other Matiushin students. From 1923 to 1927, research 
at the Department of Organic Culture of the Museum 
of Painterly Culture (later the Ginkhuk) in Leningrad. 
In 1928 moved to Moscow. In addition to continuing 
his painting, from 1930 to 1931 worked on polychrome 
architecture with, among others, Hinnerk Scheper, a 
German artist from the Bauhaus. Also designed inte- 
riors, exhibitions, books and costumes. 

KSENIA VLADIMIROVNA ENDER 

Born St. Petersburg, 1895; died Leningrad, 1955. 

From 1919 to 1922 she studied in Matiushin's studio at 
the Petrosvomas and worked with his "Zorved" (Zor- 
koe vedanie, See-Know) group. Between 1923 and 1926, 
research in the Department of Organic Culture of the 
Museum of Painterly Culture (later the Ginkhuk), 
headed by Matiushin. From the mid-i92os, research 
with Matiushin and Boris and Mariia Ender on color 
theory. 

MARIIA VLADIMIROVNA ENDER 

Born St. Petersburg, 1897; died Leningrad, 1942. 

In 1919 studied at the Petrosvomas in Matiushin's 
studio. In 1923 became a member of the Museum of 
Painterly Culture in Petrograd and participated in its 
Department of Organic Culture directed by Matiushin. 
From 1925 to 1926 directed the laboratory on form- 
color perception at the Ginkhuk. In 1927, after the 
closing of the Ginkhuk, entered the Art History Insti- 
tute in Leningrad. From 1929 to 1932 taught the theory 
of color in the Department of Painting, Sculpture, Ar- 



chitecture and Graphics at the Fine Arts Academy in 
Leningrad. Continued to devote herself to the problems 
of color in architecture; collaborated with her brother 
Boris on the Soviet pavilions for the World's Fairs held 
in Paris in 1937 and New York in 1939. 



ALEXANDRA ALEXANDROVNA EXTER 

Born near Kiev, January 6, 1882; died Fontenay-aux- 
Roses, near Paris, March 17, 1949. 

Graduated from the Kiev Art School in 1906 and also 
attended the Academie'de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, 
where she set up a studio in 1909; became acquainted 
with Picasso, Braque, Apollinaire and the Italian Futur- 
ists Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Giovanni Papini. 
Participated in all Jack of Diamonds [Bubnovyi valet) 
exhibitions between 1910 and 1916 and in Union of 
Youth [Soiuz molodezhi) exhibitions in 1910 in Riga and 
in 1913-14 in St. Petersburg. Between 1914 and 1924 
participated in almost all the important exhibitions of 
the Russian avant-garde, including Tramway V in 1915 
in Petrograd and The Store in 1916 in Moscow. In 1916 
began theater work for Alexandr Tai'rov at the Moscow 
Kamernyi (Chamber) Theater. From 1920 to 1922 
taught at the Vkhutemas and in 1921 participated in the 
5 X S = 25 show in Moscow. In 1924 emigrated to 
France, where she continued to design theater produc- 
tions and to illustrate books. 

PAVEL NIKOLAEVICH FILONOV 

Born Moscow, January 8, 1883; died Leningrad, 
December 3, 1941. 

Was a member of the "Union of Youth" (Soiuz molo- 
dezhi) group and participated in their 1910, 1912 and 
1913-14 exhibitions in St. Petersburg, and the Donkey's 
Tail (Oslinyi khvost) in Moscow. From 1916 to 1918 
served on the Rumanian front. In Petrograd in 1919 
was represented at the First State Free Exhibition of 
Works of Art. In 1922 participated in the First Russian 
Art Exhibition [Erste russische Kunstausstellung), at the 
Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. From 1923 taught at the 
Petrograd Academy and briefly headed the General 
Ideology Department at the Museum of Painterly Cul- 
ture. In 1925, with a group of students and followers, 
established the Filonov school in Petrograd, which 
lasted until 1932. 

NIKOLAI IVANOVICH GRINBERG 

Born St. Petersburg, 1897. 

In 1918 was a student of Malevich, and from 1919 to 

1922 studied with Matiushin. Was a member of the 
"Zorved" (Zorkoe vedanie, See-Know) group. From 

1923 worked at the Petrograd Museum of Painterly 
Culture, later the Ginkhuk. During the late 1920s ceased 
artistic activity, and almost none of his work has sur- 
vived; his fate is unknown. 



313 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 



ELENA GURO (ELEONORA GENRIKHOVNA 
VON NOTENBERG) 

Born in St. Petersburg, 1877; died Usikirkko, Finland 
(now in the USSR), May 6, 1913, of leukemia. 

From 1890 to 1893 studied at the School of the Society 
for the Encouragement of the Arts; from 1903 to 1905 
studied at the private studio of Yan Tsionglinsky, 
where she met her future husband, Mikhail Matiushin. 
Guro and Matiushin were both members of Nikolai 
Kulbin's "Impressionists" group and exhibited in its 
shows of 1909-1910. Her paintings were shown first at 
Kulbin's Exhibition of Contemporary Trends in Art 
(Vystavka sovremennikk techenii v isknsstve) in 1908. 
Also participated in the Union of Youth {Soinz 
molodezki) exhibitions; her 1913-14 posthumous ex- 
hibit in St. Petersburg was under its auspices. A writer 
as well as a painter, she published her first story in St. 
Petersburg in 1905. Her first book The Hurdy-Gurdy 
(Sharmanka) was published in 1909; Autumn Dream 
{Osennii son) in 1912; Baby Camels in the Sky (Ne- 
besnye verblnzhata) in 1914. 

KAREL IOGANSON 

Biographical information about Ioganson has been 
unobtainable. 

IVAN VASILIEVICH KLIUN (KLIUNKOV) 

Born Kiev, 1873; died Moscow, late 1942. 

During the 1890s studied art in Warsaw and Kiev while 
earning a living as a bookkeeper. In 1907 met Male- 
vich. Contributed to the last Union of Youth (Soiuz 
molodezhi) exhibition in 1913-14 in St. Petersburg. 
In 1915 contributed to the exhibition Tramway V in 
Petrograd. In 1915-16 participated in the major avant- 
garde exhibitions, including 0.10 in Petrograd, The 
Store in Moscow, and the Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovyi 
valet) in Moscow. In 1917 was named director of the 
Central Exhibition Bureau of the Narkompros. From 
1918 to 1921 was professor of painting at the Svomas, 
later the Vkhutemas; in 1921 was a member of the 
Inkhuk. Participated in the 19 19 Fifth and Tenth State 
Exhibitions in Moscow. In 1922 sent work to the First 
Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstausstel- 
lung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. 

GUSTAV GUSTAVOVICH KLUCIS 

Born near Volmar (Valmiera), Latvia, January 4, 1895; 
died 1944 in a labor camp. 

1913 to 1915 attended the Riga Art Institute. Moved to 
Petrograd and from 1915 to 1917 attended the School of 
the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. From 
1918 to 1921 studied in Moscow at the Svomas, later 
the Vkhutemas, under Malevich and Antoine Pevsner. 
In August 1920 participated with Pevsner and his 
brother Naum Gabo in a show at the Tverskoi Boule- 
vard pavilion in Moscow. In 1921, with other students 
of Malevich, contributed to the Unovis exhibition in 



Moscow. From 1921 to 1925 was a member of the 
Inkhuk, and in 1922 contributed to the First Russian 
Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstausstellung), at 
the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. From 1924 to 1930 
taught a course in color at the Vkhutemas. 

BORIS DANILOVICH KOROLEV 

Born Moscow, December 28, 1884; died Moscow, June 
18, 1963. 

From 1902 to 1905 studied in the scientific section of the 
physics and mathematics department at the University 
of Moscow. From 1910 to 1913 studied at the Moscow 
Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In 
1913 traveled to England, Italy, Austria and Germany, 
and to Paris, where he worked in Alexander Archi- 
penko's studio. From 1918 to 1924 taught at the Vkhute- 
mas in Moscow and from 1929 to 1930 at the Leningrad 
Academy. 

IVAN ALEXEEVICH KUDRIASHEV 

Born Kaluga, 1896; died Moscow, 1972. 

From 1913 to 1917 attended the Moscow Institute of 
Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and from 1918 
to 1919 studied with Malevich at the Svomas in Mos- 
cow; met Kliun, Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo. In 

1919 was sent to Orenburg to establish the Svomas 
there, and organized a branch of the Unovis group. In 
1921 went to Smolensk, where he met Katarzyna Kobro 
and Wladyslaw Strzeminski, Polish followers of Male- 
vich. Returned to Moscow, and from late 1921 worked 
as a designer. In 1922 sent work to the First Russian Art 
Exhibition {Erste russische Kunstausstellung), at the 
Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. From 1925 to 1928 
showed his abstract works at the first, second and 
fourth OST exhibitions. 

NIKOLAI ALEXANDROVICH LADOVSKY 

Born Moscow, i88r; died Moscow, 1941. 

From 1914 to 1917 attended the Moscow Institute of 
Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. From 1919 to 

1920 worked on experimental architectural projects 
with a group of young architects including Konstantin 
Melnikov. In 1919-1920 was a founding member of the 
Commission of Painterly-Sculptural-Architectural 
Synthesis (Zhivopisno-skulpturno-arkhitecturnyi sintez, 
or Zhivskulptarkh). In 1920 helped found and then 
taught at the Vhkutemas/Vkhutein; was a member of 
the Inkhuk. In 1923 founded the "formalist" group of 
new architects, ASNOVA. Designed monuments, 
theaters and a metro station in Moscow. 

ELLISSITZKY (LAZAR MARKOVICH 
LISITSKY) 

Born Polchinok, Smolensk Province, November 23, 
1890; died Moscow, December 30, 1941. 

Grew up in Vitebsk; attended technical high school in 
Smolensk, the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt 



314 



and in 1916 received a diploma in engineering and 
architecture from Riga Technological University. In 
1919 was invited by Marc Chagall, director of the 
Vitebsk Art Institute, to become professor of graphics 
and architecture. Later sided with Malevich; became a 
member of Posnovis and Unovis. 1911 lectured in the 
architecture department of the Vkhutemas in Moscow. 
Exhibited a Proun and other works at the First Russian 
Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstausstellung) , at the 
Galerie van Diemen in Berlin and created his Proun 
Room for the Great Berlin Art Exhibition (Grosse Ber- 
liner Kunstausstellitng) of 1923. From 1925 to 1930 
taught in the wood and metalwork department of the 
Vkhutemas/Vkhutein in Moscow. In 1928 planned and 
directed the installation of the Soviet Pavilion at the 
International Press Exhibition ("Pressa") in Cologne. 

KAZIMIR SEVERINOVICH MALEVICH 

Born near Kiev, February 26, 1878; died Leningrad, 
May 15, 1935. 

Lived in Kursk from 1898 to 1901. Attended the Mos- 
cow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture 
in 1903. In 1910 showed at the Jack of Diamonds 
(Bubnovyi valet) exhibition and in 1912 at the Donkey's 
Tail [Oslinyi khvost) exhibition. Associated with the 
"Union of Youth" (Soiuz molodezhi) group and took 
part in their exhibitions in 1911 to 1914 and in the 
Target (Mishen) exhibition in Moscow in 1913. De- 
signed the scenery for Alexei Kruchenykh and Mikhail 
Matiushin's opera Victory Over the Sun (Pobeda nad 
solntsem) in 1913. Exhibited in 0.10, December 1915, 
Petrograd, in Tramivay V also in Petrograd, and in 1916 
in The Store in Moscow. From the autumn of 1918 was 
professor at the Svomas in Moscow and was active in 
1ZO Narkompros. In 1919 wrote On New Systems in 
Art (O novikh sistemakh v iskusstve), and in September 
of that year began teaching at the Vitebsk Art Institute, 
where, after philosophical disputes, soon replaced 
Chagall as director. Organized the Unovis group, in- 
cluding El Lissitzky, Vera Ermolaeva, Chashnik, Suetin 
and Yudin. In 1919-1920 held a one-man show of 153 
works in Moscow at the Sixteenth State Exhibition. In 
1922 showed at the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. In Petrograd joined the new branch of the 
Inkhuk formed by Tatlin. In 1927 traveled to Poland 
for a one-man exhibition in Warsaw and to Germany, 
where his work was shown in a separate section at the 
Great Berlin Art Exhibition (Grosse Berliner Kunstaus- 
stellung). In 1929 held a one-man show at the Tretiakov 
Gallery in Moscow. 

MIKHAIL VASILIEVICH MATIUSHIN 

Born Nizhnii Novgorod, 1861; died Leningrad, 
October 14, 1934. 

From 1878 to 1881 attended the Moscow Conservatory 



of Music and worked from 1881 to 1913 as a violinist 
in the Court Orchestra in St. Petersburg. Studied at the 
School of the Society for the Encouragement of the 
Arts until 1898. Helped to found the "Union of Youth" 
(Soiuz molodezhi). In 1910 contributed to the first vol- 
ume of the Futurist almanac Trap for Judges (Sadok 
sudei) and was the publisher of the second volume. 
In 1913 collaborated with Kazimir Malevich, Alexei 
Kruchenykh and Velimir Khlebnikov to publish The 
Three (Troe) — under his own imprint — in memory of 
his wife, Guro, who had died that year. Also wrote the 
music for the Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun 
(Pobeda nad solntsem), with libretto by Kruchenykh 
and stage sets by Malevich. Published a number of 
other books under his own imprint, including a trans- 
lation of Du Cubisme by Albert Gleizes and Jean 
Metzinger. From 1918 to 1922, at the Petrosvomas, 
conducted a studio in "Spatial Realism" for his group, 
known as "Zorved" (Zorkoe vedanie, See-Know). 



KONSTANTIN KONSTANTINOVICH 
MEDUNETSKY 

Born Moscow, 1899; died ca. 1935. 

In 1914 studied at the Stroganov Art Institute in Mos- 
cow, specializing in stage design. In 1919 was a 
founding member of the Obmokhu and contributed to 
its first, second (1920) and third (1921) group exhibi- 
tions. Became a member of the Inkhuk in 1920. In 
January 1921, with the Stenbergs, organized an exhibi- 
tion entitled The Constructivists of sixty-one nonutili- 
tarian constructions at the Poets' Cafe in Moscow. Was 
represented in the 1922 First Russian Art Exhibition 
(Erste russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van 
Diemen in Berlin. In 1924 worked with the Stenbergs on 
stage sets for Alexandr Tairov's Kamernyi (Chamber) 
Theater in Moscow. Also designed film posters. In 1925 
sent work to the Exposition Internationale des Arts 
Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. 



PETR VASILIEVICH MITURICH 

Born St. Petersburg, September 12, 1887; died Moscow, 
October 27, 1956. 

From 1906 to 1909 attended the Kiev Art Institute. 
During World War I was wounded at the front while 
serving as a signalman for the Eleventh Siberian Divi- 
sion, and in 1917, during the October Revolution, was 
again wounded and discharged. Contributed to the 
Exhibition of Painting: 191J (Vystavka zhivopisi 1915 
god), in Moscow; the 1916 Exhibition of Contemporary 
Russian Painting (Vystavka sovremennoi russoi zhivo- 
pisi), in Petrograd; and the World of Art (Mir iskusstva 
exhibitions from 1915 to 1918 in Petrograd. In 1922 
contributed to the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. From 1923 was professor in the graphics and 
architecture departments at the Vkhutemas. 



315 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 



ALEXEI ALEXEEVICH MORGUNOV 

Born Moscow, 1884; died Moscow, February 1935. 

In the early 1900s studied at the Stroganov Art Institute 
in Moscow and at the private studios of Sergei Ivanov 
and Konstantin Korovin. From 1904 to 1910 exhibited 
at the Moscow Association of Artists, where he met 
Malevich and Kliun. Joined the "Jack of Diamonds" 
{Bubnovyi valet) group, and participated in its exhibi- 
tions of 1910, 1913 and 1914. Also showed with the 
"World of Art" (Mir iskusstva) group in 1911-12 in 
Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1912 contributed to the 
Donkey's Tail {Oslinyi khvost) exhibition in Moscow; 
participated in three Union of Youth (Soiuz molodezhi) 
exhibitions in St. Petersburg, in 1911, 1912 and 1913-14. 
In 1915 contributed to Tramway V in Petrograd and in 
1916 to The Store in Moscow. From 1918 to 1920 was 
professor of painting at the Svomas in Moscow. In 
1918 was a member of IZO Narkompros. Exhibited at 
the 1918-19 Fifth State Exhibition in Moscow. 

SOLOMON BORISOVICH NIKRITIN 

Born Chernigov, December 3, 1898; died Moscow, 
December 3, 1965. 

Graduated from the Kiev Art School in 1914. From 1917 
to 1920 was a decorator for Revolutionary celebrations 
for the city of Kiev. From 1920 to 1922 completed his 
artistic education at the Vkhutemas in Moscow. In 
1921, with Redko, Plaksin, Alexandr Tyshler, Sergei 
Luchishkin and Alexandr Labas, organized the "Elec- 
troorganism" group, which held an exhibition at the 
Museum of Painterly Culture in Moscow in 1922. Sent 
work to the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische 
Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. 
In 1923 formed the Projectionist group called "Metod" 
(Method). Participated in the First Discussional Exhibi- 
tion of the Associations of Active Revolutionary Art 
in 1924 in Moscow, and signed the Projectionists' group 
declaration in the catalogue. 

MIKHAIL MATVEEVICH PLAKSIN 

Born Shlisselburg, near St. Petersburg, May 15, 1898; 
died Moscow, May 22, 1965. 

Began his artistic training as a lithography student and 
studied with Nikolai Roerich and Alexandr Yakovlev 
at the School of the Society for the Encouragement of 
the Arts in St. Petersburg. Under the influence of 
Alexandr Labas, became interested in abstract art. In 
Moscow from 1920 onward, studied at the Vkhutemas 
in Robert Falk's studio. Was a member of the "Electro- 
organism" group. Participated in the First Discussional 
Exhibition of the Associations of Active Revolutionary 
Art in Moscow in 1924, and signed the declaration of 
the. Projectionists' group in the catalogue. Gradually 
gave up painting and worked for the theater, on books, 
and on setting up agricultural and printing exhibitions. 
From 1920 on worked on inventions, including a color 
movie camera and stereo projection systems. 



LIUBOV SERGEEVNA POPOVA 

Born near Moscow, April 24, 1889; died Moscow, May 
25, 1924, of scarlet fever. 

Studied in the private studios of Stanislav Zhukovsky 
and Konstantin Yuon in Moscow. In 1912 worked in 
the Moscow studio known as The Tower with Tatlin, 
Viktor Bart and Kirill Zdanevich. That winter traveled 
to Paris and worked in the studios of Le Fauconnier and 
Metzinger with Udaltsova and other Russian artists. 
Returned to Russia in 1913, and in 1914 again traveled 
through Italy and France. Contributed to the 1914 and 
1916 Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovyi valet) exhibitions in 
Moscow, the 1915 Tramway V and 0.10 in Petrograd, 
and The Store in Moscow, 1916. Participated in the 
1918-19 Fifth State Exhibition and the 1919 Tenth State 
Exhibition, both in Moscow. From 1918 taught at the 
Svomas and Vkhutemas. From 1920 to 1923 was a 
member of the Inkhuk. Participated in the 5 X 5 = 25 
exhibition of 1921 in Moscow and contributed to the 
First Russian Art Exhibition {Erste russische Kunstaus- 
stellung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin in 1922. 

IVAN ALBERTOVICH PUNI (JEAN POUGNY) 
Born Kuokkala, Finland (now Repino, Leningrad Dis- 
trict), May 6, 1894; died Paris, November 26, 1956. 

In 1910 left for Paris to attend the Academie Julien; also 
traveled to Italy. In 1912 returned to St. Petersburg and 
met Nikolai Kulbin, the Burliuk brothers and Malevich. 
Married the artist Ksenia Boguslavskaia in 1913. Par- 
ticipated in the 1912 and 1913-14 Union of Youth 
(Soiuz molodezhi) exhibitions in St. Petersburg. In 1915 
exhibited at Tramway V and organized 0,10 in Petro- 
grad; released a Suprematist manifesto with Boguslav- 
skaia, Malevich and Kliun. In January 1919 went with 
Boguslavskaia to Vitebsk, where he taught at the Art 
Institute at the invitation of Chagall. In the autumn of 
1920, emigrated to Berlin. In 1922 showed at the First 
Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstaus- 
stellung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin; in 1924 
settled in Paris. 

KLIMENT NIKOLAEVICH REDKO 

Born Kholm (now Khelm), Poland, September 15, 1897; 
died Moscow, February 18, 1956. 

In 1910 enrolled in the icon painting school at the 
Kievo-Pechersk Monastery. From 1914 to 1915 attended 
the School of the Society for the Encouragement of the 
Arts in Petrograd. From 1918 to 1920 studied at the Kiev 
Art School, and helped decorate the city for Revolution- 
ary celebrations. Settled in Moscow in 1920. After a 
short period of Suprematist work lasting until 1921, 
was one of the initiators of the "Electroorganism" 
group. In 1924 participated in the First Discussional 
Exhibition of the Associations of Active Revolutionary 
Art in Moscow. Had a one-man show in Moscow in 
1926, and from 1927 to 1935 lived in Paris. Returned to 
Moscow late in 1935 and turned to landscape painting. 



316 



ALEXANDR MIKHAILOVICH RODCHENKO 

Born St. Petersburg, November 23, 1891; died Moscow, 
December 3, 1956. 

From 1910 to 1914 attended the Kazan Art School, 
where he met Varvara Stepanova, whom he later mar- 
ried. After graduation, entered the Stroganov Art Insti- 
tute in Moscow. Participated in The Store in Moscow 
in 1916. In 1918 painted Black on Black (Chernoe na 
chernom) as a polemical response to Malevich's White 
on White (Beloe na helom). Was active in IZO Nar- 
kompros in the Subsection of Applied Art, headed by 
Rozanova. Showed work in the 1919 Tenth State Ex- 
hibition. Was a founding member of the Inkhuk in 1920 
and, that same year, was one of the initiators (with 
Kandinsky) of the creation of a network of art museums 
throughout the country. Also became a professor at 
the Vkhutemas/Vkhutein. In 1912 participated in the 
First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstaus- 
stellung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. From 
1923 worked on the design and content of Lef and 
Novyi Lef, contributing articles, photographs and 
typography. In 1925 designed a workers' club, which 
was exhibited in the Soviet Pavilion at the Exposition 
Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et hidiistriels Mo- 
dernes in Paris. 

OLGA VLADIMIROVNA ROZANOVA 

Born Malenki, Vladimir Province, 1886; died Moscow, 
November 8, 1918, of diphtheria. 

From 1904 to 1910 studied at the Bolshakov Art College 
and Stroganov Art Institute in Moscow. Lived in St. 
Petersburg from 1911 onward. By 1911 was one of the 
most active members of the avant-garde art movement 
in St. Petersburg. Was a member of the "Union of 
Youth" {Soiuz molodezhi) group and contributed to its 
exhibitions from 191 1 to 1914. Exhibited in all the 
major avant-garde shows of 1915-16, including Tram- 
way V, 0.10 of 1915 in Petrograd and The Store and 
Jack of Diamonds {Bubnovyi valet) of 1916 in Mos- 
cow. From 1916-17 member of the "Supremus" group. 
In 1918 member of IZO Narkompros. With Rodchenko 
was in charge of the Subsection of Applied Art of IZO 
Narkompros and helped to organize Svomas in several 
provincial towns. In 1919 a posthumous exhibition of 
her work was held in Moscow. Her work was also ex- 
hibited at the 1912 First Russian Art Exhibition {Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. 

SERGEI YAKOLEVICH SENKIN 

Born Pekrovskoe-Stresknevo, near Moscow, 1894; 
died Moscow, 1963. 

In 1914-15 attended the Moscow Institute of Painting, 
Sculpture and Architecture. In 1918-19 studied at 
Malevich's studio at the Svomas in Moscow. Continued 
his education at the Vkhutemas in 1920. From 1918 to 
1922 was closely associated with Klucis and Lissitzky. 



In 1922 his Suprematist works were shown at the As- 
sociation of New Trends in Art (Obedinenie novykh 
techenii v iskusstve) exhibition in Petrograd. From 1923 
was a member of Lef and wrote an article with Klucis 
for that journal entitled "Workshop of the Revolution." 
In the 1920s and 1930s worked as a designer and made 
extensive use of photomontage. In 1928, with Lissitzky, 
made a large "photofresco" for the Soviet Pavilion at 
the International Press Exhibition {"Pressa") in Cologne. 

ANTONINA FEDOROVNA SOFRONOVA 

Born Orel, March 14, 1892; died Moscow, May 14, 1966. 

In 1913 entered Ilia Mashkov's private studio in Mos- 
cow. Contributed to the 1917 World of Art (Mir 
iskusstva) exhibition in Moscow. From 1920 to 1921 
taught at the State Art Studios in Tver (now Kalinin). 
Friend of Nikolai Tarabukin; returned to Moscow and 
in 1923 designed the cover of Tarabukin's book From 
the Easel to the Machine (Ot molberta k mashine). Did 
illustrations for newspapers, journals and posters. 

VLADIMIR AVGUSTOVICH STENBERG 

Born Moscow, April 4, 1899; lives Moscow. 

Born to a Swedish father and a Russian mother; worked 
closely with his younger brother, Georgii (1900-1933). 
From 1912 to 1917 studied at the Stroganov Art Insti- 
tute in Moscow. From 1918 to 1919 attended the 
Svomas in Moscow. He and his brother became mem- 
bers of the Obmokhu and showed work in the second 
Obmokhu group exhibition in May 1920; became 
members of Inkhuk. As early as 1915 the brothers de- 
signed stage sets and film posters. From 1922 to 1925 
they also designed stage sets for Alexandr Tairov at the 
Kamernyi (Chamber) Theater in Moscow. Exhibited 
works at the 1922 First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin, and at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des 
Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. From 
1929 to 1932 taught at the Architecture Construction 
Institute in Moscow. 

VARVARA FEDOROVNA STEPANOVA 

Born Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, November 5, 1894; 
died Moscow, May 20, 1958. 

In 191 r studied at the Kazan Art School; there met 
Alexandr Rodchenko, later her husband. In 1912 moved 
to Moscow and studied under Ilia Mashkov and 
Konstantin Yuon before entering the Stroganov Art 
Institute in 1913. Showed work at the 1918-19 Fifth 
State Exhibition and the 1919 Tenth State Exhibition 
in Moscow. Also participated in the Exhibition of Four 
(with Kandinsky, Rodchenko and Nikolai Sinezubov) 
in 1920, and the 1922 First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. Starting in 1918 associated with IZO Narkom- 
pros and from 1920 to 1923 was a member of the 
Inkhuk. In 1922 designed the costumes and sets for 



317 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 



Alexandr Sukhovo-Kobylin's Death of Tarelkin (Smert 
Tarelkina) under the direction of Vsevolod Meierkhold. 
From 1923 to 1928 was associated with Maiakovsky's 
Lef and Novyi Lef. Taught in the textile department 
of the Vkhutemas from 1924 to 192.5. In 1925 partici- 
pated in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Deco- 
ratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. 

NIKOLAI MIKHAILOVICH TARABUKIN 

Born Moscow, 1899; died Moscow, 1956. 

Before 1918 studied at Moscow University, specializing 
in history and philosophy. From 1920 was secretary of 
the Inkhuk and took an active part in the debates on 
Construction and Production art in the group, which 
included Brik, Lissitzky, Rodchenko and Stepanova. 
Wrote such theoretical works as For a Theory of Paint- 
ing (Opyt teorii zhivopisi), and From the Easel to the 
Machine (Or molberta k mashine), both published in 
Moscow in 1923, and The Art of Today (Iskusstvo 
dnia), published in Moscow in 1925. 

VLADIMIR EVGRAFOVICH TATLIN 

Born Moscow, December 12, 1885; died Moscow, May 
3I.I953- 

Son of an engineer; spent his childhood in Kharkov, 
where he completed technical high school. 1902 went to 
sea with the Russian Steamship and Trade Society as a 
merchant seaman. In 1909 entered the Institute of 
Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow; ex- 
pelled. In the winter of 1911 organized a studio, The 
Tower, in Moscow. From 1911 to 1914 participated in 
all the Union of Youth {Soiuz molodezhi) exhibitions in 
St. Petersburg. Took part in 1912 Donkey's Tail (Oslinyi 
khvost) exhibition in Moscow. In 1913 traveled to 
Berlin and later to Paris, where he visited Picasso's 
studio and almost certainly saw Picasso's Cubist con- 
structions. After returning to Russia began to work on 
his own reliefs and counter-reliefs. In May 1914, in his 
Moscow studio, held an exhibition of his first reliefs. 
Lived in Moscow but spent long periods in Petrograd, 
where a circle of young artists formed around him, 
including Lev Bruni, Petr Miturich and the critic 
Nikolai Punin. In 1915 participated in all the major 
avant-garde shows, including Tramway V and 0.10 in 
Petrograd. In 1916 organized The Store exhibition in 
Moscow, in which Malevich participated, but showed 
no Suprematist work. From the summer of 1918 headed 
IZO Narkompros and in January of 1919 was ap- 
pointed head of the Department of Painting at the 
Moscow Svomas. From early 1919 to 1921 was an in- 
structor in the Petrosvomas. In 1921 became head of 
the Department of Sculpture at the restructured Acad- 
emy of Arts in Petrograd. In 1922 showed work in the 
First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste russische Kunstaus- 
stellung), at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin. Starting 
in 1923 was involved with the Inkhuk and in 1924 
helped to form the Petrograd Ginkhuk. In 1925 sent 



work to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Deco- 
ratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Taught the 
"culture of materials" in the departments of wood and 
metalwork at the Vkhutemas/Vkhutein. 

NADEZHDA ANDREEVNA UDALTSOVA 

Born Orel, 1886; died Moscow, 1961. 
Beginning in 1905 studied at the Moscow Institute of 
Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and in 1906 at- 
tended Konstantin Yuon's private art school. In the 
winter of 1912, with Popova, visited the Paris studios of 
Metzinger, Le Fauconnier and Segonzac. In 1913 in 
Moscow worked in Tatlin's studio, The Tower. Par- 
ticipated in the 1914 Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovyi valet) 
exhibition in Moscow and in 19 15 in Tramivay V in 
Petrograd. Also contributed to the 1915-16 0.10 in 
Petrograd and The Store exhibition in Moscow, 1916. 
From 19161 to 1917 was a member of the "Supremus" 
group, and worked on the journal of the same name, 
which never appeared. Worked in IZO Narkompros 
and from 1918 onward taught at the Svomas in Mos- 
cow—first as an assistant to Malevich and later as 
a professor of painting. Member of the Inkhuk in 
1920-21. From 1921 to 1934 taught at the Vkhutemas/ 
Vkhutein; met Drevin, whom she later married. In 1922 
sent works to the First Russian Art Exhibition (Erste 
russische Kunstausstellnng), at the Galerie van Diemen 
in Berlin. 

KONSTANTIN ALEXANDROVICH VIALOV 

Born Moscow, April 6, 1900; lives Moscow. 

From 1914 to 1917 attended the Stroganov Art Institute 
in Moscow, specializing in textile design. From 1917 to 
1923 studied in Moscow under Lentulov and Morgunov 
at the Svomas, later at the Vkhutemas. In 1925 became 
a member of OST and participated in its exhibitions 
from 1925 to 1928. Worked as a stage designer, poster 
designer and book illustrator. At the end of the 1920s 
turned to painting simple landscapes. 



318 



Index of Artists in the Exhibition 



Babichev, Alexei Vasilievich, pp. 13, 25, 27, 226-129 
Bubnova, Varvara Dmitrievna, pp. 226-227, 230 
Chashnik, Ilia Grigorevich, pp. 111, 164, 170 
Chekrygin, Vasilii Nikolaevich, pp. 13, 14, 306 
Drevin, Alexandr Davidovich, pp. 11, 227, 310 
Ender, Boris Vladimirovich, pp. 13, 74, 75, 79-83 
Ender, Ksenia Vladimirovna, pp. 13, 74, 75, 85-101 
Ender, Mariia Vladimirovna, pp. 13, 74, 75, 102-107 

Exter, Alexandra Alexandrovna, pp. 11, 12, 23, 15, 31, 
2-56, 257, 290, 291 

Filonov, Pavel Nikolaevich, pp. 10, 11, 70, 108, 109 
Grinberg, Nikolai Ivanovich, pp. 74-75, 84 

Guro, Elena (Eleonora Genrikhovna von 
Notenberg),p. 78 

Inkhuk Portfolio, pp. 15, 226-249 

Ioganson, Karel, pp. 13, 25, 27, 32, 226-227, 2.31—2.33 

Kliun, Ivan Vasilievich (Kliunkov), pp. 13, 14, 23, 25, 37, 
42-44, 60-65, 111-137, 139, 144, 160, 226-227, 234, 235 

Klucis, Gustav Gustavovich, pp. 13, 14, 24, 32, 175, 
188-197, 207, 259-275 

Korolev, Boris Danilovich, pp. 13, 27, 226-227, 236, 237 

Kudriashev, Ivan Alexeevich, pp. 13, 160-163, 207, 
305, 309 

Ladovsky, Nikolai Alexandrovich, pp. 13, 226-227, 238 

Lissitzky, El (Lazar Markovich Lisitsky), pp. 12, 71, 
175-187 

Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich, pp. 9-14, 23, 24, 37-41, 
65, 67-69, 109, in, 139, 144, 160, 165-168, 175 

Malevich School at Vitebsk, pp. 170-174 

Matiushin, Mikhail Vasilievich, pp. 13, 14, 74-77, 109 

Medunetsky, Konstantin Konstantinovich, pp. 13, 25, 
26, 27, 32, 226-227, 239, 293 

Miturich, Petr Vasilievich, p. 258 

Morgunov, Alexei Alexeevich, pp. n, 16, 66, 68, 254 

Nikritin, Solomon Borisovich, pp. 13, 14, 215, 305, 311 

Plaksin, Mikhail Matveevich, pp. 13, 14, 305, 307 

Popova, Liubov Sergeevna, pp. 12, 13, 14, 15-26, 31, 32, 
46-59, in, 147-156, 216-223, 226-227, 240, 241, 256, 
257, 276, 278-289, 292-300 



Puni, Ivan Albertovich, pp. 72, 73 

Redko, Kliment Nikolaevich, pp. 13, 14, 305, 308, 309 

Rodchenko, Alexandr Mikhailovich, pp. 9, 10, 11, 12, 
13, 23-25, 27, 31, 32, in, 202-213, 226-227, 242, 243, 
256, 257, 276, 288 

Rozanova, Olga Vladimirovna, pp. 10, 12, 13, 14, 23, 
68,124,138-145,234 

Senkin, Sergei Yakolevich, pp. 13, 197 

Sofronova Antonina Fedorovna, pp. 250-253 

Stenberg, Vladimir Avgustovich, pp. 25, 26, 27, 32, 
226-127, 244, 245, 259, 293, 298 

Stepanova, Varvara Fedorovna, pp. 12, 25, 26, 31, 32, 
214, 224-229, 246, 247, 256, 257, 276 

Tarabukin, Nikolai Mikhailovich, pp. 11, 23, 30, 31, 
226-227, 248, 250 

Tatlin, Vladimir Evgrafovich, pp. 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 23, 
24, 27, 30, 32, 45-47, 109, 175, 199-201 

Udaltsova, Nadezhda Andreevna, pp. 11, 16, 23, 157- 
159,226-227,249,277 

Vesnin, Alexandr Alexandrovich, pp. 31, 31, 256, 

257,292 

Vialov, Konstantin Alexandrovich, pp. 254, 255, 
301-303 



319 



Photographic Credits 



Works in the Exhibition 

All photographs by Geoffrey Clements, Mary Donlon, 
Robert E. Mates, and Stanislav Zemnokh with the ex- 
ception of cat. no. 20: Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne 



Figures in the text 

Courtesy John E. Bowlt: figs. 9, 10, 13 

Courtesy Jean Chauvelin: fig. 11 

Geoffrey Clements: figs. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 

Courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne: fig. 16 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon: fig. 3 

Courtesy Moderna Museet, Stockholm: fig. 17 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York: 
fig. 14 

Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne: fig. 12 

Courtesy © VEB Verlag der Kunst Dresden, 1978, from 
Larissa Shadowa, Suche unci Experiment: fig. 8 

Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery: fig. 15 

Stanislav Zemnokh: fig. 1 

Supplementary Illustrations 

Geoffrey Clements: fig. a, p. no; fig. b, p. 195; fig. a, 
p. 222; fig. a, p. 230. 

Courtesy George Costakis: fig. f, p. 47; fig. b, p. 61; 
fig. a, p. 189; fig. b, p. 189; fig. a, p. 195; fig. a, p. 196; 
fig. a, p. 298. 

Courtesy Civico Gabinetto dei Disegni, Castello 
Sforzesco, Milan: fig. e, p. 57 

Courtesy Jean-Claude Marcade: fig. a, p. 61 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon: fig. b, p. 46 

Courtesy Staatsgalerie Stuttgart: fig. a, p. 126 

Stanislav Zemnokh: fig. c, p. 47; fig. a, p. 63 



320