1.5.6.2 Russian Avant Garde (1890-1930)

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QUICK LINKS:
Angels thowing Stones on the City, Goncharova
Rooster. A Rayonist Sketch, Larionov
The Cyclist, Goncharova
Composition VII, Kandinsky
Black Square, Malevich
Compsition with figures, Popova
Venice, Ekster
Tatlin’s Tower, Tatlin
Self portrait, Puni

The Russian avant-garde was a large, influential wave of avant-garde modern art that flourished in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, approximately from 1890 to 1930, although some have placed its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960.

Many of the artists who were born, grew up or were active in what is now Belarus and Ukraine (including Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandra Ekster, Vladimir Tatlin, Wassily Kandinsky, David Burliuk, Alexander Archipenko), are also classified in the Ukrainian avant-garde.

[1562-10]


Image source: Wikimedia commons
Harvest Angels Throwing Stones on the City is a 1911 painting by Natalia Goncharova

The painting formed part of her 1911 pictorial cycle, The Harvest, and, like other canvases from this cycle, abstractly illustrates the Book of Revelation, interpreting and actualising that ancient prophecy through her mystical insight.

The fall of stones in the Apocalypse is spoken of only once at the end of the sixth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
[Source: rusandsov.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Harvest Angels thowing Stones on the City1911Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Goncharova, Natalia1881-1962, aged 81Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-11]

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow31 x 23  
 In this work of Realistic Rayonism, the artist depicts a dynamic rooster in rays of red and gold; a hen, barely identifiable, appears in golden planes of colour beside it. While the objects of the painting are discernable, the true subject, however, is their merging with the background space and their disillusion into rays of light and vectors of energy.

This is particularly evident in the left half of the painting, as the lines of reflected light intersect in a chaos of dynamic force lines.

From the early development of the movement, Larionov emphasised the symbolic and visual power of light and radiance, an interest that belies the influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. In his modernization of those 19th c studies of light, however, he explained, it is not the objects themselves that we see, but the beams of rays that emanate from them, which are shown in the picture with color lines.

The light rays come from the objects and the surroundings, and as a result the subject and its surroundings are integrated into their surrounding environments. Like Cubism, the distinction between the object and its space is complicated, however the Rayonists were motivated by their metaphysical interests in the fourth dimension and their search for a unified expression of energy that surpassed the concrete object.
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Cockerel and Hen. A Rayonist Sketch1912Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Larionov, Mikhail1881-1964, aged 83Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-12]

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow68 x 66  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This eccentric artist was a leader of the Russian avant-garde, dominating the Moscow art scene in the 1910s.

She joined Wassily Kandinsky’s Der Blaue Reiter group, designed stage sets for the Ballet Russes, and even co-founded a visionary new art movement known as Rayonism.

Celebrated for her experimental and controversial approach to art, illustration and costume design, Goncharova became the first female artist to have a retrospective held in Moscow.
[Source: magzter.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Cyclist, The1913Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Goncharova, Natalia1881-1962, aged 81Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-13]

State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg79 x 105  
Kandinsky’s Composition VII is justly considered to be the apex of his artwork before the First Word War.

More than 30 sketches made in watercolours and oil paints precede this painting, and they can serve as ‘documentary’ proof of this work creation.

Surprising then that after the painter had finished his long preliminary work, the composition itself was created in just four days.
[Source: wassilykandinsky.net]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Composition VII1913Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Kandinsky, Wassily1866-1944, aged 78Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-14]

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow200 x 300  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Time has not been kind to Kasimir Malevich’s painting, Black Square. In 1915 when the work was first displayed the surface of the square was pristine and pure; now the black paint has cracked revealing the white ground like mortar in crazy paving.

In 1916 the artist, in a characteristically bold and provocative mood, declared the square to be the face of the new art … the first step of pure creation’. Malevich gave his ‘new art’ a name, suprematism, announcing a few years later that To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Black Square1915Oil/LinenAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Malevich, Kazimir1879-1935, aged 56Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-15]

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow80 x 80  
Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova was a Russian avant-garde artist (Cubist, Suprematist and Constructivist), painter and designer.

In Composition with Figures Popova depicts feminine, but androgynous subjects brazenly inhabiting, and using the objects in the traditional Cubist still life; a figure leans on the guitar we recognize from her famous male contemporaries, and a fan moves in a hand of a figure crouched over the ubiquitous apple bowl.
[Source: theartstory.org and Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Composition with Figures1915Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Popova, Lyubov1889-1924, aged 35Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-16]

Perm State Art Gallery160 x 124  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Ekster developed a name for herself as a young woman in Kiev. She was one of the luminaries of the Russian-Ukrainian avant-garde, especially active in Cubo-Futurist and Constructivist art. She spent much time studying, taking part in exhibitions, and frequenting the salons of Paris. There she counted among her acquaintances Picasso, Braque, and Apollinaire. She fully emigrated to France in 1924.  

Ekster’s Venice combines the elegant geometry of French Cubism with the explosive rhythm of Italian futurism. Flashes of fireworks light up the night sky. This city has gone crazy: towers, arches, palaces, bridges – they’re all fluttering like flags in the wind. 
[Source: rusandsov.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Venice1918Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Ekster, Aleksandra1882-1949, aged 67Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-17]

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow0  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Tatlin’s Tower, or the project for the Monument to the Third International (1919–20),[ was a design for a grand monumental building by the Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin, that was never built.

It was planned to be erected in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, as the headquarters and monument of the Comintern (the Third International).
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Tatlin’s Tower (aka Monument to the Third International) (never built)1919MetalSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tatlin, Vladimir1885-1953, aged 68Russian sculptorRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1562-18]

planned as 400m  
Ivan Albertovich Puni aka Jean Pougny was a Russian avant-garde artist (Suprematist, Cubo-Futurist). Puni continued his formal training in Paris in 1910–11 at the Académie Julien and other schools, where he painted in a derivative fauviste style.

Upon his return to Russia in 1912, he married fellow artist Kseniya Boguslavskaya, and met, and exhibited with, members of the St Petersburg avant-garde, including Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Self portrait1921Portrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Puni, Ivan1892-1956, aged 64Russian painterRussian avant-garde
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
unknown  

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